This game features a couple of squads coming into their last dress rehearsals before conference season begins. Ohio (1-2) will no doubt they will be ready to start a new winning streak against the FCS after last year’s 28-26 heartbreaking loss versus the Duquesne Dukes ended 16 straight Bobcat victories.
The Rams (3-0) come into this one ridin’ high as they moved up three spots in the FCS coaches poll to #18 after their come-from-behind homecoming victory over Albany last week 48-45.
We take a look at both teams heading into this game, but first, some notes.
- Time and Date: Saturday, September 24, 2022, at 2:00PM ET
- Networks: ESPN + (subscription required)
- Radio/Streaming: Both teams can be heard via the Varsity Network App. Russ Eisenstein (Play-by-play) and Rob Cornelius (Color) on the Ohio call.
- Location: Peden Stadium, Frank Solich Field, Athens, Ohio
- Weather: Partly sunny, 71 degrees. Chance of rain at four percent. Wind S 5 MPH per Weather.com
- Spread/Total: Ohio is an 18.5-point favorite per OddsShark.com
- All-time series: First Meeting
Meet the Rams
Fordham figures to get all it can handle at Ohio, with the ‘Cats being its most talented opponent by far in 2022. Although the Rams are undefeated coming into Peden Stadium, its three wins so far this year are all against FCS teams with a combined 1-8 record (with two of eight losses were against FBS squads).
That being said, the Rams can only play who is on the schedule and the undefeated squad has handled its business, particularly on the offensive side of the ball.
Fordham brings a very experienced, explosive offense to this one, averaging 49 points a game. The offense starts with the passing game which has dominated its opponents, averaging 434 yards per contest.
Fordham looks to spread folks out and let their leader, QB Tim DeMorat, carve up the competition. DeMorat is about as experienced and accomplished as they come, needing only 28 yards passing against the ‘Cats to hit 10,000 on his career. Add to that 83 touchdowns and it is easy to see why DeMorat has multiple first-team All-Patriot league nods.
DeMorat has a couple of very accomplished options. They get the ball in WR Fotis Kokosioulis’ hands in any way they can. The former NIU Huskie has over 3,600 yards career receiving and kick returning, with 24 scores.
Dequece Carter has similar career receiving numbers to Kokosioulis, with a career 2,064 receiving yards and 19 scores.
Making all those run-pass options especially credible is a very productive ground game, as the Rams are averaging over 200 yards per contest in 2022.
As good as the offense has been, the defense has been exposed regularly, allowing 42 points per contest and have collapsed at other times, with the Monmouth Hawks posting 713 yards of offense in a 52-49 track meet a few weeks ago.
If the Rams are able to generate some mayhem on defense, look for LB Ryan Greenhagen to be involved. Greenhagen had 102 tackles in just five games last year, including an NCAA record 31 against Nebraska.
Greenhagen is also a big factor behind the line of scrimmage with 42 career TFLs and 17 sacks.
Meet the Bobcats
This is an important game for the Bobcats in preparation for conference play.
For the past two weeks the talent of the opponents’ roster made it difficult for Ohio to operate its normal gameplan, particularly establishing rushing offense.
Although 200 total rushing yards against two quality power five schools wasn’t bad, it is more the distribution of the plays and how Ohio’s offense normally operates. Ohio had 80 combined passing attempts to just 48 rushing attempts during the past two weeks.
Compare that with Ohio’s offensive distribution against FAU in week one when the ‘Cats ran a full-complement of offense including running some option in a 43-38 victory over FAU: 34 pass attempts to 39 rushing attempts.
As the talent of the overall rosters shifts to Ohio’s advantage, the Bobcats should have a real opportunity to get back to a more balanced offense.
Look for the Bobcats to get back to the running game, with Ohio’s QB Kurtis Rourke running some option and scrambling for a few chunk plays to keep drives moving. Rourke showed he could bring it in the rushing game with 327 yards and three scores in 2021.
RB Sieh Bangura had over 100 yards rushing in Week 1, and this should be a week he gets back to the century mark.
Helping to create those holes for the running game will be starting LG Kurt Danneker. The 330 lb. guard will reportedly get some spot duty for the first time since an injury to start the 2021 season.
If Ohio can get that ground game going, they may find a lot of easy targets in the passing game. A big help going into conference play would be getting the receivers back into the pass catching flow. In Week 1, five different receivers caught at least four passes whereas in Weeks 2 and 3 saw only one receiver reeling in four or more passes.
Defensively, Ohio figures to use its effective pass rush to harass Rams’ QB DeMorat into some sacks and mistakes. Ohio is tied for 27th in the FBS with eight sacks, so they can bring it when necessary— all the more impressive given the strength of their schedule, with back-to-back games against Iowa State and Penn State.
DeMorat can run some but is clearly more of a pro-style guy than dual-threat so if Ohio can get that pass rush cranked up, they may get DeMorat down in the backfield with some regularity or force errors.
The ‘Cats defense came close a few times last week to getting some picks and they would like to convert a few of those this week to help reverse the turnover margin from last week, which was a paltry -4.
Positions will be reversed for the Bobcats this week as they will have more talent and depth as opposed to the last few weeks against power fives. The ‘Cats should be much more productive on both sides of the ball and also be able to clean up the special teams mistakes from last week that created a big field position disadvantage.
The Rams passing game is very experienced and talented and should be able to move the ball but Ohio’s defense should harass the Rams into some mistakes.
Ohio will generate some big plays on both sides of the ball in a 48-20 win.