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What We Learned: Takeaways from Ohio’s 30-27 loss to Central Michigan

Ohio’s QB Armani Rogers and some new faces emerge in this one versus CMU.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 04 Syracuse at Ohio
Armani Rogers led the offense to 27 points versus Central Michigan
Photo by Gregory Fisher/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The ‘Cats (1-5, 1-1 MAC) bad luck against CMU, continues as they lose another one in the series, a homecoming heartbreaker, 30-27.

But before Ohio turns the page to Buffalo week, we take a last look at the game against the Chips, with a potential new direction at QB and some (mostly) new faces that made an impact last Saturday.

Armani Rogers Shows Complete Game in his First Career Bobcat Start

Rogers transferred to Ohio for the 2020 season, looking for a system fit to finish his college playing career after appearing in 20 games for UNLV, winning Mountain West Conference Freshman of the Year honors for his dual-threat, skill-set, racking up over 2,200 yards and 14 touchdowns his first season.

After sitting behind Kurtis Rourke in the three-game 2020 COVID season and so far in 2021, Rogers got his first start for the ‘Cats on Saturday could be the guy going forward if his hot hand continues.

Rogers earned the start after guiding Ohio to 24 points last week against Akron, where the Bobcats scored on every second-half drive with Rogers at the controls.

Where Rogers shined versus CMU was managing the offense and his work in the passing game.

Coming into the CMU game, it was well known that Rogers could run the ball, but what was more of a question was his passing accuracy, given his small sample size at Ohio and a career 50% completion percentage at UNLV.

Getting his first full game of throws as a Bobcat, Rogers showed well, completing 72% of his 18 passes, for 190 yards.

Ohio is going to be able to stay in some games down the stretch if Rogers can show at this level in the passing game.

Inexperienced DBs on the Rise?

Freshman cornerbacks Pierre Kemeni and Roman Parodie look like promising players for Ohio if they can build on what they showed against the Chips.

First, Kemeni and Parodie bring very good height at 6’1 and Kemeni has good size at around 200 pounds.

Also, in only their second season in the program, Kemeni and Parodie are finding their way on to the field in 2021 with regularity and were tasked this week with covering receivers from one of the best groups in the MAC, led by potential NFL prospect Kalil Pimpleton and Dallas Dixon.

While Pimpleton and Dixon won some battles against Kemeni and Parodie in man coverage, with one big win by Pimpleton on a 28-yard TD pass, the Bobcat duo showed some really good things too. The Bobcats won some battles too or forced the Chips to make All-MAC level catches to win the battle.

Outside of a few plays, Kemeni and Parodie kept pretty tight locks on their man and just need some fine tuning, like on plays where the coverage is good, just knowing when to get that head around and find the ball.

We’ll see how these young ‘Cats develop as the season progresses.

Experienced DB on the Rise

Fifth-year safety Tariq Drake was not a starter at the beginning of the year but appears to have worked his way into more game day reps and is putting together perhaps his best season as a Bobcat. Drake’s two interceptions versus the Chips this week should help him get noticed as a player with the arrow pointing up as we head deeper into MAC play.

Young ‘Cats on Offense

A few true freshmen made a notable appearance for the Bobcats this week.

Running back Sieh Bangura got his Ohio career off to an electric start when he took the ball to the house on his first career carry, a forty-yard run on fourth and one in the fourth quarter.

Great play sequence involving wideout Miles Cross, which shows the coaches confidence in him. Rogers threw to Cross on a slant which would have been good for a first down but Cross could not complete the catch. On the next play, Ohio dialed up the same route to Cross but this time he caught the ball for the first down.