YPSILANTI, Mich. — Back-to-back for the Bobcats.
The Ohio University football team scored points on its first five offensive possessions and never trailed Tuesday night while claiming a 34-26 victory over host Eastern Michigan in a Mid-American Conference matchup at Rynearson Stadium.
The visiting Bobcats (3-7, 3-3 MAC East) twice led by 10 points in the first half and ended up taking a 20-13 edge into halftime, but the Eagles (6-4, 3-3 MAC West) strung together a 9-play, 75-yard drive to start the third quarter — which ultimately resulted in a Ben Bryant 5-yard touchdown pass to Dylan Drummond for a 20-all contest with 11:10 left.
Ohio, however, countered with an 8-play, 75-yard drive that ended with an Isiah Cox 20-yard touchdown run, giving OU a permanent lead of 27-20 with 7:54 left in the third frame.
The Bobcats followed with the only takeaway of the night as Tariq Drake picked off a Bryant pass, but OU eventually had its ensuing drive stall and led to its first punt of the night with 4:01 remaining in the third.
EMU was forced to punt on its next possession, and the guests needed only three plays to secure their largest lead of the night.
On the opening play of the fourth quarter, Kurtis Rourke found Cameron Odom with a 66-yard TD pass that completed an 86-yard drive for a 34-20 cushion with 14:50 remaining in regulation.
Eastern Michigan followed with a 13-play drive that ate up 6:30 of precious clock, but the hosts ultimately had to punt the ball away. OU then ate up over three minutes of clock before punting the ball back.
The Eagles went 86 yards in 10 plays and closed to within 34-26 following a 3-yard Samson Evans touchdown run with 2:36 left.
Ohio recovered the ensuing possession a second later, handed the ball to De’Montre Tuggle three straight times for a first downs and simply watched the clock hit all zeroes while securing the program’s first winning streak this fall.
Rourke threw first quarter touchdown passes to Cox for 33 yards and Tuggle for 40 yards, allowing Ohio to build leads of 7-0 and 14-7 — with Evans adding a 1-yard TD run for EMU in between.
Both teams traded field goals in the second frame as Stephen Johnson connected from 21 and 27 yards out for the Bobcats, while Chad Ryland squeezed a 25-yarder between the Johnson boots.
Ryland also nailed a critical 55-yard field goal as the first half ended, allowing the Eagles to close the gap down to seven points headed into the intermission.
The Bobcats outgained the hosts by a 495-452 overall margin in total yards of offense, including a substantial 265-98 advantage on the ground. EMU did claim a 29-25 edge in first downs and also committed the only turnover of the game. Both squads had two punts apiece as well.
Tuggle led the Ohio rushing attack with 78 yards on 14 carries, followed by Armani Rogers with 61 yards on 10 attempts. Rourke added six rushes for 55 yards and also completed 10-of-18 passes for 230 yards and three scores.
Cox led the Bobcat wideouts with four catches for 66 yards. Johnson was a perfect 4-for-4 on PAT kicks and made both of his field goal attempts.
Floyd paced the OU defense with 12 tackles and Bryce Houston was close behind with 11 stops. Will Evans added a sack for the victors as well.
Bryant finished the night 41-of-57 passing for 354 yards, including a pick and a score. Samson led EMU with 62 rushing yards on eight carries.
Tanner Knue hauled in a game-high 11 passes for 127 yards, with Hassan Beydoun and Drummond each grabbing nine catches apiece for 85 and 73 yards respectively. Ryland was perfect on two PAT kicks and as many field goal tries.
Terry Myrick recorded a team-high 12 tackles for the Eagles. Jose Ramirez was next with eight stops.
The Bobcats have now won two straight over Eastern Michigan, as well as eight of the last nine overall. OU also still leads the all-time series by a 20-12-1 overall margin.
Ohio will make its final appearance at Peden Stadium on Tuesday, Nov. 16, when the Bobcats welcome Toledo for a MAC contest. The start time has yet to be officially determined, but the game will kickoff somewhere between 7-8 p.m.
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Bryan Walters can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2101.