PITTSBURGH, Pa. — Not enough offense to keep up.
The Ohio University football team fell to non-conference host Pittsburgh by a 20-10 count on Saturday at Heinz Field in the Steel City, with the host Panthers forcing 10 Bobcat punts, while taking a 481-to-212 advantage in total offensive yards.
The Panthers (1-1) broke the scoreless tie on the game’s third drive, going 79 yards in a dozen plays, only to settle for a a 27-yard field goal by Alex Kessman.
Ohio (1-1) made it to Pitt side of the field for the first time on its third offensive possession, getting as far as the 24-yard line before being back up and forced to punt from the 34.
The hosts went up 10-0 on the third play of the ensuing drive, as Kenny Pickett found Maurice Ffrench for a 74-yard touchdown pass with 14:47 left in the half.
A three-and-out by the Bobcats was followed by another Panther scoring drive, going 47 yards in eight plays, with Vincent Davis delivering a three-yard touchdown run at the 9:28 mark.
The Green and White ended the shut out on the following drive, with Louie Zervos splitting the uprights on a 23-yard field goal with 6:55 remaining in the half.
The Panthers missed a field goal try on their next possession, but wound up getting those three points back with 6:23 left in the third quarter, when Kessman cashed in from 41 yards out.
The Bobcats were in the end zone for the first time on the ensuing drive, with De’Montre Tuggle scoring on a seven-yard run with 4:04 left in the third. Zervos’ point-after kick cut the Panther lead to 20-10, but OU punted on its final three possessions and fell by 10 points.
For the game, Pitt outgained Ohio 160-to-35 on the ground, and 321-to-177 through the air. The hosts claimed a 22-to-12 edge in first downs, with neither team committing a turnover. OU was penalized five times for 34 yards, while the Panthers were sent back 10 times for 75.
Nathan Rourke — who was sacked six times in the setback — was 15-of-27 passing for 177 yards. O’Shaan Allison led the Bobcats on the ground with 47 yards on 14 carries, to go with 32 yards on a pair of receptions. Tuggle carried the ball four times for 20 yards and a score, while Julian Ross ended with two carries for 11 yards.
Jerome Buckner led the OU receiving unit with four receptions for 60 yards. Isiah Cox had two grabs for 32 yards, Shane Hooks added two catches for 11 yards, while Cam Odom, DL Knock and Ty Walton had a reception apiece for 22, 19 and four yards respectively.
The Bobcat defense was led by Dylan Conner with 11 tackles, followed by Jarren Hampton and Javon Hagan with 10 each. Eric Popp had the team’s lone sack.
Pickett completed 26-of-37 pass attempts for 321 yards and a touchdown for the Panthers. Ffrench led all-receivers with 10 grabs for 138 yards and a touchdown, while A.J. Davis carried the ball 13 times for a game-best 89 yards.
Chase Pine had a team-best five tackles for Pitt, while Jaylen Twyman claimed a game-high three sacks.
Next for the Bobcats, the ‘Battle for the Bell’ is renewed at Marshall on Saturday at 6:30.
Alex Hawley can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2100.