Three stops, 2,574 miles (4142 kilometers), and 83 touchdowns later, Nathan Rourke set the Ohio Bobcats’ record for the most touchdowns accounted for in a career. ‘Accounted for’ means Nathan Rourke has combined for more touchdown passes, runs, and receptions in his Bobcat career than any other player since Ohio began playing organized football in 1894.
Nathan Rourke wanted to pursue his passion for football at the Football Bowl Series (FBS) level of competition. And with a seven-yard touchdown pass to Ryan Luehrman against former MAC rival Marshall Thundering Herd on Sept. 14, 2019, Nathan Rourke earned a spot at the top of the Ohio Bobcats’ all-time list by accounting for 83 career touchdowns at Ohio.
Rourke broke the record of 82 touchdowns set by Ohio great QB Tyler Tettleton back in 2013.
Rourke added another touchdown on a 72-yard run to finish the game against Marshall with 84 career touchdowns.
The record for number of touchdowns accounted for of itself is a great accomplishment, but what is perhaps more impressive is the journey it took Rourke just to get to Ohio, and then how quickly he broke the record once he arrived.
The distance between Ohio University and Oakville, Ontario, Canada, the place where Rourke spent most of his high school days, is not much more than an afternoon’s drive. That is, if you go in a straight line.
Rourke’s path to Ohio was anything but a straight line.
Rourke played his freshman, sophomore, and junior high school seasons at Holy Trinity High School in Ontario before travelling south to Edgewood Academy in Elmore, Alabama, for his senior season.
Rourke left Elmore, Alabama and headed northwest to Fort Scott [KS] Community College for his freshman college season.
After a season at Fort Scott, Rourke made the trek to Ohio.
Three stops and 2,574 miles (4142 kilometers) later, Rourke started his Ohio career.
Once he arrived in Athens, Ohio, it didn’t take Rourke long to rewrite the record books, setting the record after playing only two full seasons and three games in a sport where players can have a maximum of four seasons of eligibility.
And Rourke still has a minimum of nine games to go in his final Ohio season to add to the record, and as many as eleven, depending if Ohio can reach the Mid-American Conference (MAC) title game and a bowl game.
Rourke’s record is part of an overall “Golden Age” of Ohio offensive production, where Ohio ranked in the top 12 in the FBS in average points per game with 39.1 in 2017 and 40.1 in 2018.
During the 2017 and 2018 seasons, Ohio had a total of 19 players in addition to Rourke earn All-Conference status.