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Recap: Rourke, Ohio obliterate Akron 52-3, Zips finish season as only winless team

Ohio QB Nathan Rourke accounts for 5 total TDs as his Bobcats’ coast to their sixth victory.

Ohio v Cincinnati Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images

It was never close from the start.

On the final Tuesday night of regular season college football, Ohio Bobcats closed as 27.5-point favorites over the hapless Akron Zips. And for the 11th time in 12 games, Akron failed to cover the spread, falling 52-3 at home to Ohio. The loss ensured the Zips to finish 2019 as the only winless FBS team and the fourth 0-12 team in the College Football Playoff era. After one season of coaching Akron, head coach Tom Arth is still looking for his first victory as an FBS coach.

On the contrary, Ohio is run by the winningest coach in MAC history. One week after attaining such status, Frank Solich coached his team to another offensive masterpiece and recorded career win number 112. Ohio scored 66 on Bowling Green one week ago and followed it up by dropping 52 on Akron’s defense to secure a sixth win to attain bowl eligibility. Senior quarterback Nathan Rourke, in potentially his final collegiate game depending on bowl selection, put up a memorable performance through the air.

The Ontario native completed 20/28 passes, torched the opposing secondary for 308 yards, and delivered a season-high four touchdowns passes — all in the first half. He also ran for 37 yards, including a scramble to the pylon for his final touchdown and last play of the evening.

Wide receiver Shane Hooks was the recipient of two of Rourke’s touchdown passes. He caught an over-the-shoulder grab in the first quarter and one standing still in the end zone in the second. The 6’4” freshman enjoyed his first multi-touchdown game of his Bobcat career while catching five passes for 81 yards. Wide receiver D.L. Knock was the recipient of Rourke’s first touchdown pass, a 53-yarder in the early first quarter, while tight end Ryan Luehrman was the other target on a touchdown pass from the two-time All-MAC quarterback.

Ohio spread the wealth in the backfield with nine different ball carriers. Halfbacks De’Montre Tuggle and O’Shaan Allison combined for 149 yards on 16 carries (9.3 yards per rush). The Bobcats’ rushing attack contributed 251 yards in total. Overall, Ohio out-gained Akron 603-74 in the annihilation at InfoCision Stadium.

Ohio’s defense performed just as well as its offense. The Bobcats intercepted two passes and held Akron to an abysmal 4/27 (14.8%) passing mark. In 25 rushing attempts, Akron gained 41 yards, and the Zips took three sacks and six tackles for loss to the Bobcat defense.

Akron’s defense forced two fumbles in the first quarter, including one in the Ohio red zone. That turnover led to the Zips’ only points of the night, but despite the short field goal, they were held without a touchdown for the sixth time of the season.

With the dominant victory, Ohio is bowl eligible for the 11th-straight season. The Bobcats join an expanding list of seven bowl eligible MAC teams, a list which can grow to eight if Kent State defeats Eastern Michigan on Friday. However, in the Solich era, Ohio has never been selected to go bowling after finishing 6-6. Those occurrences were in 2007 and 2014, and while the number of bowl games has since increased, three bowl eligible MAC teams have been left home in the past two years (2017 Western Michigan, 2017 Buffalo, 2018 Miami (OH)). After outscoring opponents 80-3 in their final six quarters, the Bobcats must play the waiting game until Saturday, December 7.