clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

2017 Week 1 Recap: Ohio puts away FCS Hampton comfortably in Athens

Bobcats take first step on road to Ford Field

NCAA Football: MAC Championship-Western Michigan at Ohio Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

The Ohio Bobcats haven’t had someone to take their frustrations out on in well over eights months, the time in which two consecutive losses cost them a Mid-American Conference championship and the Dollar General Bowl in Mobile, Alabama.

Another offseason has past of wondering when will Ohio finally clinch a league title, or at the very least, a bowl win. Frank Solich, entering his 12th year as head coach of the Bobcats, hasn’t had a losing season since 2005, but has won just two bowl games with the last coming in 2012.

Their most crucial part of the schedule won’t come until Oct. 31 when Miami (OH) comes to Athens, but for now, while conference members like Kent State and Akron were beat up Saturday by perennial College Football Playoff Championship contenders, Ohio had the relaxation of hosting a mid-level FCS school at Venue Peden Stadium.

This was the second straight year that Ohio opened up the season at home and first time hosting the Hampton Pirates of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference. The Pirates gave up nearly 25 points a game last season, which ended in two straight losses.

Hampton hasn’t played a MAC program since 2010, losing 33-0 to Central Michigan on the road, the only FBS school to host the Pirates in that span other than Old Dominion.

Their inexperience with programs at a higher level and not having much success in the MEAC either showed Saturday, as the Bobcats scored 26 points in the third quarter for the 59-0 win.

Ohio had the top ranked defense in the conference last season, allowed just 339 total yards and 22.6 points a game. With six returners back, including redshirt senior linebackers Quentin Poling and Chad Moore, the Bobcats shut out Hampton who’s six possessions in the first half all ended in punts.

It was 36-0 Ohio with 54 seconds remaining in the third quarter when Hampton quarterback Delmon Williams lost the ball after being sacked, setting up a 13-yard touchdown run by Bobcats quarterback Nathan Rourke.

Rourke, the dual-threat Fort Scott Community College transfer, had three rushing scores to lead Ohio. He also completed 6 of his 10 passes for 72 yards.

Starter Quinton Maxwell was 7-of-9 for 100 yards with one touchdown and interception each.

The Bobcats didn’t have to do much on offense, being that most of their drives began well into Hampton territory, including the opening score when the Pirates were called for a pass interference at their own 16-yard line. Maxwell would connect with receiver Papi White to get the early 7-0 lead.

White, who caught 41 passes for 672 yards six touchdowns last season, finished second on the team with 35 yards on three catches. Redshirt freshman Cameron Odom, had four catches for 75 yards.

The drive to set up Ohio’s fourth touchdown of the game, coming early in the second half, started on Hampton’s 20-yard line. White recorded a 25-yard return, but an illegal formation by the Pirates pushed their defense back five more yards.

11 seconds later, running back Dorian Brown found the end zone on a 10-yard run.

Ohio tallied 420 yards of total offense, including 248 on the ground. Brown notched 10 carries for 49 yards, while redshirt junior A.J. Ouellette, who missed a better part of last season with an injury, rushed for 63 yards on 12 attempts.

The Bobcats defense would get three total sacks. Poling and Moore combined for eight tackles, while redshirt sophomore Austin Conrad had five tackles including one for a loss.

Poling was also one of 18 Mid-American Conference players to be named to the Reese's Senior Bowl 2018 watch list. The team needs 41 more sacks this season to surpass last year’s impressive total.

A miscue by Hampton’s special teams allowed the Bobcats to get a four possession lead with 12:03 remaining in the third quarter. The fumble recovered by the Pirates in the end zone gave Ohio the two points.

As the preseason favorite to win the MAC East Division for the second straight year, Ohio won’t begin its non-conference schedule for another three weeks but will host the Kansas Jayhawks after playing guest to the Purdue Boilermakers next Saturday.