ATHENS, Ohio — The Ohio Bobcats (0-2) logged their second loss of the 2021 season Saturday afternoon (Sept. 11), falling to Duquesne (1-1) 28-26. The Bobcats were lead by De’Montre Tuggle on offense, as the redshirt fifth-year scored two total touchdowns and logged 175 all-purpose yards. On the defensive side of the ball, Ohio’s Jett Elad lead the team in tackles with 11.
The game started quickly for the Bobcats, as Tuggle returned the opening kickoff 83 yards for a touchdown. It was his second career kickoff return, following his 93 yard return against Central Michigan in 2020. The extra point was missed however, making it a 6-0 game after just 13 seconds of play.
Duquesne responded with a scoring drive of their own on their first possession of the contest. The Dukes went 62 yards down the field in eight plays, before converting a 23 yard field goal to make the score 6-3.
Ohio’s offense took the field for the first time and scored in just 31 seconds. Kurtis Rourke opened the possession with a 60-yard pass to Cameron Odom, and Tuggle punched it into the endzone from fifteen yards out on the next play, to wrap up a two play, 75 yard scoring drive, making the score 13-3. The 60 yard catch by Odom on the drive pushed the redshirt fifth-year wide receiver over 1,000 career reception yards.
“It would have been more exciting if we did win but at the end of the day getting [1,000] in college is always a blessing,” Odom said after the game. “I definitely appreciate everything I’ve done here and the stuff that I’m going to continue to do but at the same time, the team is more important than just my individual stats. We didn’t win today and that’s what I’m harping on right now. But, you know, like I said, the new week starts tomorrow. Hopefully, you know, we get the win this week.”
The Dukes put more points on the board during their next possession, capping off a fifteen play, 56 yard drive with their second field goal of the game. The drive took 6:02 off the game clock, and cut the Bobcats’ lead to just 13-6. Ohio and Duquesne traded punts on their next drives, with Duquesne pinning the Bobcats on the one yard line after the Dukes’ punt. Duquesne took advantage of their special teams play, tackling O’Shaan Allison in the endzone for an Ohio safety to end the first quarter, making the score 13-8.
The second quarter started with a Bobcats defensive stop, as Ohio held the Dukes to just 17 yards before forcing a punt back to the Bobcats offense. Allison eclipsed 1,000 career yards rushing on a nine yard rush during the Bobcats’ subsequent drive, but the offense was unable to eventually score any points, as a field goal was missed wide to the left from 30 yards out.
Following the missed field goals, the two teams traded three-and-outs. Duquesne then went on an 11-play drive and converted on their third field goal of the game, making the score 13-11 and leaving just 49 seconds remaining in the first half. Ohio looked to respond before the half, but were unsuccessful and went into the locker room holding a two point lead.
Duquesne received the second half kickoff, and ran 5:13 off the game clock during a 10 play, 75 yard touchdown drive, giving the Dukes their first lead of the game at 18-13. Ohio managed to move down the field on their next drive, but eventually had to punt the ball back to Duquesne.
The Dukes’ next drive ran into the fourth quarter, ending with a touchdown on the first play of the final frame to push the Dukes’ lead to 25-13.
Ohio bounced back on their next drive, scoring a touchdown on Rourke’s first career rushing score to cut Duquesne’s lead to 25-20. Allison, Tuggle, and Rourke combined for 48 yards on the ground during the 71 yard drive, with the remaining 23 yards of the drive being completions to Tyler Walton.
Duquesne ran eight minutes off the clock on their next drive, capping a fifteen play, 66 yard drive with a 27-yard field goal to increase their lead to eight, 28-20. Ohio marched down the field in the final 2:46 of the game, scoring a touchdown on a three-yard pass to Walton with just nine seconds remaining to draw within 28-26. The two point conversion fell incomplete however, and Duquesne recovered the subsequent onside kick and took a kneel down to finish out the contest.
“My grandma would say looking at the sun, you never see the shadows,” explained defensive tackle Kai Caesar. “As leaders we need to keep our heads high, and those younger guys will see that. They will understand what we’re wanting, and they do understand what we want to accomplish with this team. So, the biggest thing is just leading even when it hurts. As I tell myself all the time, it’s easy to lead when stuff is going good, but you got to know how to lead when it hurts. So, we’ll do it. We’ll get it done.”
It’s a short turnaround for the Bobcats as they now hit the road to play at Louisiana on Thursday evening (Sept. 16). The game is scheduled to kickoff at 8 p.m. and will be broadcast on ESPN.
— to ohiobobcats.com