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Ohio Bobcats bowl history from 2017-2022

We take a look back at recent Bobcat postseason success ahead of their game in Tuscon. 

Famous Idaho Potato Bowl: Ohio vs. Nevada
Ohio head coach Frank Solich gets a french fry shower in celebration of the Bobcats 2019 Famous Idaho Potato Bowl win
Darin Oswald/Idaho Statesman/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

After a two-year hiatus including the three-game COVID year in 2020, the ‘Cats (9-4) get back to bowling this Friday in the Arizona Bowl when they take on the Wyoming Cowboys in Tuscon.

For Ohio, they would love to repeat their performance from their most recent bowl games. From 2017-2019, the Bobcats won a program-record three straight bowls and in dominating fashion for 11 of the 12 quarters, taking home the hardware by a combined score of 98-27.

Before we head to Tucson, we thought we’d take a look back some highlights from those last three bowl games to remember some great performances.

2017 Bahamas Bowl: Ohio 41, UAB Blazers 6

Ohio blew up the Blazers on both sides of the ball from the outset, cruising to the most lopsided win in Bahamas Bowl history (35-point victory). The Bobcats showed UAB why they were ranked in the top ten nationally in scoring offense, with three touchdowns on its first four drives.

Ohio quarterback Nathan Rourke got the party started with two first quarter touchdown passes, one to wideout DL Knock and the other a 56-yard bomb to all-time Bobcat receiving yardage leader Papi White.

Offensive MVP running back Dorian Brown dominated the second quarter with two scores including a 74-yarder. Brown finished with 152 yards rushing on the day on just 12 carries torching the Blazers for four touchdowns in all.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: OCT 14 Ohio at Bowling Green
Ohio quarterback Nathan Rourke and running back Dorian Brown in action in 2017
Photo by Adam Lacy/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Defensively, the Bobcats smothered UAB’s offense for most of the game, surrendering just six points on 11 UAB drives. Safety Javon Hagan was the game’s defensive MVP with nine stops and two passes defensed.

Hagan would go on to win a super bowl with Tampa Bay Buccaneers, while the defense produced other NFL talent such as linebacker Quentin Poling, who was selected by the Miami Dolphins in the seventh round of the 2018 NFL draft.

2018 DXL Frisco Bowl: Ohio 27, San Diego State Aztecs 0

On December 19, 2018, Ohio marched into Toyota Stadium and did something no Mid-American Conference team had ever done in its 139-game bowl history: hold an opponent scoreless. Not only did Ohio’s defense record the shutout but the Bobcats’ offense did not surrender any points to San Diego State’s rock-solid defense.

The ‘Cats defense stymied the Aztecs for most of the night, holding them to a harmless 287 combined yards. Ohio was led by the game’s defensive MVP linebacker Evan Crouch, who finished 11 stops and 1.5 sacks.

A couple of ‘Cats safeties came up big in the second half to preserve the shutout. In the third quarter, San Diego’s running back Juwan Washington broke through the front seven for a 44-yard scamper but Ohio’s last defender, Javon Hagan, made an open field stop to prevent the score. Also, on the game’s final play, Alvin Floyd sealed the deal with an interception in the Bobcats’ endzone.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: DEC 19 Frisco Bowl - San Diego State v Ohio
Ohio’s Alvin Floyd (24) preserves the shutout with an interception to end the game.
Photo by Matthew Pearce/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Offensively, Ohio relied on the ground game with a few big plays through the air to get the margin of victory. Ohio rushed for 215 yards which was more than double the season average surrendered by the Aztecs, who came into the contest ranked seventh nationally with only 103 yards allowed per game.

Offensive MVP running back AJ Ouellette led the charge with 164 yards rushing behind an offensive line featuring All-MAC talent including left tackle Joe Lowery and left guard Joe Anderson. Current First-team All-MAC right guard Hagan Meservy also participated in the contest.

Ouellette turned in a complete performance in his last game in a storied Bobcat career, effective on multiple pass blocking assignments while turning in critical plays like an 18-yard reception on a checkdown on third and ten which set up a touchdown.

Quarterback Nathan Rourke accounted for all touchdowns, rushing for two while throwing for one, a flea flicker to wideout Andrew Meyer.

2019 Famous Idaho Potato Bowl: Ohio 30, Nevada 21

The Bobcats picked up where they left off in the Frisco Bowl, riding a strong running game and defense to an impressive 30-9 lead to start the fourth quarter. Then things got interesting.

Defensively, Ohio’s strong redzone defense kept the Wolfpack out of the endzone for the first three quarters. Leading the charge was former linebacker turned defensive end Jack McCrory, who finished the day with six tackles and a sack. Safety Jarren Hampton was also productive with nine solo tackles on the game.

Incredibly, going back to the fourth quarter of the 2016 Dollar General Bowl against Troy, Ohio’s defense had not allowed a touchdown in its last 12 quarters of bowl play. That changed though in the fourth quarter, when the Wolfpack dialed up two touchdowns in the final 15 minutes to make the game interesting down the stretch.

Famous Idaho Potato Bowl - Nevada v Ohio Photo by Loren Orr/Getty Images

The Bobcats would need some more defensive redzone heroics to hold Nevada to just the two touchdowns.

With the score 30-21 with just under four minutes remaining and the Wolfpack offense at the Ohio six-yard line, defensive end Austin Conrad swatted away an ill-advised pitch on a reverse attempt which was recovered by Marcus Coleman to end the drive.

With less than two minutes left, Nevada’s offense found itself at the Ohio nine but could not convert the fourth and goal and so its furious comeback was snuffed out.

Offensively, bowl MVP quarterback Nathan Rourke shined with 231 combined yards including 87 yards rushing and a score. Rourke’s production against Nevada capped an illustrious Bobcat career as Rourke tied quarterback Kareem Wilson for most rushing touchdowns in program history with 49. Also, Rourke surpassed Tyler Tettleton for most combined career yards from scrimmage with 10,081.

Rourke’s Potato Bowl MVP nod was the second for an Ohio player in as many games as wideout LaVon Brazill took home the honors in the Bobcats’ 24-23 win over Utah State in 2011.

Next up in our bowl coverage is game preview of the 2022 edition of the Arizona Bowl.