As we come to the home stretch in the 2017 football regular season, it is time for Ohio University students to get excited and more involved with this year’s football team. This season, the Ohio Bobcats came into the season projected to win the Mid-American Conference East Division title and return back to Detroit to have another shot at the MAC Championship that has eluded the Bobcats for decades.
When head coach Frank Solich took over back in 2005, many thought the program would get back to being one of the best teams in the conference, and to this point, it has. Since Solich took over, the Bobcats are 95-69 and have been bowl eligible in 10 of the past 11 seasons. Despite the victories and numerous bowl games, one thing is still left to be accomplished by Solich in his Ohio tenure. Winning a MAC Championship.
The Bobcats came within a touchdown from winning the MAC Championships a season ago, but ultimately were defeated by the 17th ranked Western Michigan Broncos 29-23. Ohio had a shot at the end with the ball and less than two-minutes remaining in regulation, but threw a game ending interception with 51 seconds left.
Leading us into this season, the focus of the Bobcats was on the offense and how well it can function behind sophomore quarterback Quinton Maxwell and the loss of top receiver Elijah Ball for the season due to injury. However, after beating Hampton 59-0 in the first game of the year and then losing to Purdue the following week 44-21, the Bobcats decided to take shot at a new quarterback and have not looked back since.
In week three against Kansas, the Bobcats named sophomore quarterback Nathan Rourke the starter for the game and to this point has wowed us all with his play. Since Rourke took over the starting job, the Bobcats are averaging 41.6 points, over 440 yard per game and most importantly, a 6-1 record. Rourke is also second in the nation with 16 rushing scores and T-3rd in the nation with 29 total touchdowns.
Thanks to the combination of Rourke and running back A.J. Oullette, the Bobcats have one of the most dynamic run games in the country averaging 232 yards per game on the ground. Easy to say, the Bobcats are a ground and pound team and have presented it throughout the season.
Overall, the Bobcats stand at a 7-2 overall record with a 4-1 conference record heading into the big matchup with Toledo in what will most likely be a MAC Championship preview. It may be the last home game of the season, but I suggest the school start to pay attention for the final two regular season games because this team has all the intangibles to end the 49-year conference championship drought.