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Ohio outlasts NIU, wins 24-17

The Bobcats move to 3-1 in the MAC after outlasting NIU’s 3rd string quarterback

Ohio v Iowa State Photo by David K Purdy/Getty Images

The Ohio Bobcats were able to hold off the Northern Illinois Huskies, and their third-string quarterback Justin Lynch, as they went on to win 24-17 on Saturday afternoon. The Bobcats moved to 3-1 in the MAC and 5-3 overall while the Huskies fell to 1-3 in conference play and 2-6 overall.

OU took an early 7-0 lead on their opening drive of the game when they drove 84 yards on 9 plays. It was capped off by an 8-yard pass from Kurtis Rourke to Sam Wiglusz for the early touchdown.

From there the teams would punt on four straight possessions before four straight field goal attempts. After the slew of punts, NIU was able to drive 34-yards on 12 plays and kick a 38-yard field goal five minutes into the second quarter, cutting the lead to 7-3. Ohio lined up for a field goal of their own on the next possession but it sailed wide left and kept the score 7-3.

Richardson would hit again for NIU on their next drive, this time from 27 yards out, while Ohio’s kicker, Nathanial Vakos would hit one from 31-yards out to effectively end the half and bring the score to 10-6 at the break.

On the opening drive of the second half, Richardson would hit his third field goal for NIU, bringing the score to 10-9. But Ohio would extend their lead to eight with a 13-play, 81-yard drive of their own that ended with a 1-yard TD run by Rourke.

NIU got their lone touchdown of the game on the very next possession when Kacper Rutkiewicz took a wide receiver reverse 11-yards into the endzone. On the two point attempt, wide receiver Shemar Thornton threw a pass to Cole Tucker to even the score at 17 apiece on the second straight trick play from the Huskies.

After a pair of punts, Ohio got the ball back at their own 10 yard line. The Bobcats drove 90 yards in 11 plays and reclaimed the lead when Rourke hit Wiglusz from 22-yards out for the game’s final score.

The Huskies had the ball twice after going down 24-17 but both times were unable to get a drive going and turned the ball over on downs, the second time with under a minute to go, giving Ohio the victory.

Overall, the Huskies limited the high-powered Ohio offense, out-gaining Ohio 377-354 and only allowing the Bobcats 200 passing yards (Rourke entered the game 8th in the nation is passing yards).

Ohio finished they day with 154 rushing yards and 200 passing yards, with Rourke going 14/26 for two TDs and no picks. He also led the team with 64 rushing yards and another TD coming on his seven carries. Sieh Bangura had ten carries for 62 yards but missed most of the second half with an apparent shoulder injury. He also had three catches for 32 yards. Wiglusz led all receivers with six catches, 69 yards, and two scores.

NIU ran the ball 48 times for 267 yards and then had another 110 passing yards. Lynch finished the day 9/18 for 110 yards and had 11 carries for just ten yards. Antario Brown and Harrison Waylee both did well on the ground, running for 159 and 97 yards respectively. Rutkiewicz led NIU with 41 receiving yards on his single catch. Tucker finished the day with three grabs for 24 yards.

Both teams now have longer rest periods, with Ohio having nine days off - next meeting Buffalo at home on Tuesday, November 1st. The Huskies are off for ten days, with their next contest coming on Wednesday, November 2nd at home against CMU.