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2019 MAC Football Week 3 Game Recap: Ohio Bobcats fall to the Marshall Thundering Herd, 33-31

Marshall runs over Ohio’s defense to win the Battle of The Bell in wild fashion.

Ohio v Pittsburgh Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images

Nathan Rourke set an all-time record for most touchdowns accounted for in a Bobcat career (84) but it wasn’t enough as Marshall defeated Ohio in The Battle for The Bell, 33-31.

In our Ohio-Marshall game preview, we wrote that a key matchup was how Ohio’s defense would perform against Marshall’s offensive line and RB Brenden Knox. The answer? Not well, as Marshall rolled through Ohio’s defense for 205 yards rushing in the first half.

Marshall ran similar interior running plays repeatedly for big gain after big gain while the interior of Ohio’s defensive line looked over-matched and Ohio’s defenders missed tackle after tackle. There were several Marshall runs where Ohio missed 3-5 tackles per run, as Marshall rushed for 205 yards on 25 carries, for 8.2 yards per carry in the first half.

Do-it-all Marshall threat Xavier Gaines hit on a few big runs, with 50 yards and a TD in the first half.

Ohio missed a 43 yard field goal to close out the first half, Marshall leading 27-17.

Marshall RB Brenden Knox did not come out in the second half with no reason provided at this time.

With Knox out, Ohio was able to rebound on defense, playing much better in the second half than in the first half.

Ohio was able to string together a few defensive stops in the third quarter, giving Ohio’s offense the opportunity to go to work.

Nathan Rourke set an Ohio record by accounting for his 84th career touchdown, meaning his combined number of career touchdown passes, runs, and receptions is the most in Ohio history. The previous record of 82 touchdowns accounted for was set in 2013 by Ohio great QB Tyler Tettleton. Ohio began playing organized football in 1894.

On the game, Rourke finished with 215 yards and three touchdowns passing and added 118 on the ground, including a 72 yard run for a TD on a weak-side option to give Ohio its first lead of the game, 31-27.

Xavier Gaines was open downfield for big opportunities twice on deep passes in the second half, with one incomplete and the other was a 43-yard touchdown, which looked like a busted coverage by Ohio. The extra point was no good to give Marshall the lead back, 33-31.

Ohio’s poor tackling and interior line issues returned at the most inopportune time in the second half as Ohio’s defense was unable to stop Marshall on its final drive. Marshall ran out the final 5 minutes and 42 seconds on ten consecutive runs, mostly of same interior variety that were so effective in the first half.

Ohio returns home next week to take on the Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns at 2pm ET on ESPN +.