EVANSTON, Ill. — It took all afternoon, but at least the Bobcats avoided the dreaded shutout.
The Ohio University football team produced a season high in total yards of offense, but an Armani Rogers 55-yard touchdown run on the final play of regulation ended up being the only offensive highlight Saturday during a 35-6 setback to host Northwestern in a Week 4 non-conference matchup at Ryan Field.
The visiting Bobcats (0-4) churned out a respectable balance of 348 yards that included 179 of those on the ground and another 169 yards through the air, but the Wildcats (2-2) built a 17-0 halftime lead that held up going into the finale.
Charlie Kuhbander nailed a 26-yard field goal just eight seconds into the fourth for a 20-point cushion, then Anthony Tyus III and Jake Arthurs added respective touchdown runs of seven and five yards for a 35-0 lead with 42 seconds left in regulation.
OU capped a 2-play, 56-yard drive with the Rogers rumble at the end to wrap up the 29-point outcome. The Green and White are also 0-4 at the start of a season for the first time since 2008.
The Bobcats missed a 31-yard field goal on its opening drive of the game and ended up fumbling the ball away on their next possession, which NU quickly turned into a 7-0 first quarter lead as Evan Hull capped the ensuing drive with a 17-yard touchdown run.
Ohio ran four plays before its next drive stalled, and the ensuing punt was downed at the Northwestern 10. Hull broke the first play for a 90-yard run to the house, giving the Wildcats a 14-0 edge with 1:36 left in the opening frame.
Kuhbander tacked on a 24-yard field goal with 54 seconds remaining in the half for a 17-point advantage.
The hosts claimed a 22-17 edge in first downs and outgained Ohio by a 461-348 overall margin in total yardage, including a 373-179 advantage on the ground. The Bobcats committed three of the four turnovers in the game, which led to a 14-0 swing for the Purple and White.
OU was a mere 3-of-13 on third downs and came up empty on one fourth down attempt, while Northwestern went 8-of-15 on third down conversions. Both teams also missed one field goal apiece.
Rogers ended up leading the rushing attack with 68 yards on seven attempts and also went 1-of-3 passing for three yards and an interception. De’Montre Tuggle followed with 42 rushing yards on six tries.
Kurtis Rourke went 20-of-29 passing for 166 yards, including one interception. Cameron Odom paced the OU wideouts with five catches for 42 yards and Ty Walton added four grabs for 44 yards.
Cannon Blauser led the Ohio defense with seven tackles — including 1.5 tackles for loss — and also recovered a fumble.
Hull paced Northwestern with 216 rushing yards on 22 carries, while Ryan Hilinski completed 12-of-20 passes for 88 yards. Brice Kurtz hauled in a team-best five passes for 28 yards.
Chris Bergin led the NU defense with 14 tackles. Brandon Joseph and Bryce Jackson both recorded an interception for the hosts, who also recorded all four sacks in the game.
The Bobcats haven’t started a season with five consecutive losses since going winless during the fall of 1994. OU hasn’t dropped five straight decisions in the same season since losing the last six games of the 2003 campaign.
Ohio — which hasn’t been shut out since 49-0 loss at Bowling Green back on Nov. 12, 2013 — returns to action Saturday when it travels to Akron to open Mid-American Conference play at 3:30 p.m.
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Bryan Walters can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2101.