BOWLING GREEN, Ohio — Ain’t that a kick in the pants.
The Ohio University football team had a disappointing 2021 campaign end on a sour note Friday afternoon as host Bowling Green used four Nate Needham field goals to help claim a 21-10 victory in the Mid-American Conference finale for both programs at Doyt L. Perry Stadium.
The Bobcats (3-9, 3-5 MAC East) trailed 3-0 after one period of play, but the guests answered with consecutive second quarter scoring drives that allowed OU to take a 10-3 advantage with 8:47 remaining until halftime.
Armani Rogers capped a 9-play, 86-yard drive with a 1-yard touchdown run at the 14:17 mark for a 7-3 Bobcat edge, then Steven Johnson tacked on a 22-yard field goal to end a 7-play, 30-yard drive that resulted in a 7-point cushion midway through the frame.
Ohio didn’t score the rest of the way, and the Falcons (4-8, 2-6 MAC West) responded with a 9-play, 70-yard drive that ended in a 19-yard touchdown pass from Matt McDonald to Austin Osborne for a 10-all contest headed into the break.
Needham — who made a 23-yard field goal in the opening canto — supplied a 43-yard field goal with 4:06 remaining in the third quarter, giving BGSU a permanent lead of 13-10.
OU made a huge stop at the start of the fourth after Bowling Green came up empty on a series that featured first-and-goal at the Ohio 4.
The loss of downs resulted in the Bobcats taking over possession at their own 3, and shortly thereafter a penalty pushed the ball back to the 1-yard line.
Rogers was tackled in the end zone on the first offensive snap, and the safety increased the Falcons’ cushion out to 15-10 with 12:55 left in regulation.
Needham — who made 4-of-5 field goal attempts on the day — tacked on successful boots of 40 and 39 yards down the stretch to wrap up the 11-point triumph.
The Bobcats committed all three turnovers in the contest, which eventually led to just three points off of those miscues. OU was also just 2-of-11 on third down attempts.
BGSU claimed a 21-10 edge in first downs and outgained the guests by a sizable 349-223 margin in total yards of offense, including a 255-103 advantage through the air. Bowling Green also had possession for 37 minutes of the 60-minute affair.
Kurtis Rourke led the Ohio rushing attack with 75 yards on nine carries and also went 12-of-24 passing for 103 yards to go along with three picks. De”Montre Tuggle followed Rourke with 41 rushing yards on nine totes.
Ryan Luehrman paced the OU wideouts with four catches for 42 yards. Alex Wolfe led the defense with 13 tackles.
Nick Mosley led the Falcon running game with 35 yards on 15 carries, while Taron Keith added 34 yards on 10 attempts. McDonald completed 24-of-37 passes for 255 yards and a score.
Osborne hauled in a team-high eight catches for 79 yards and a score. Darren Anders paced the Bowling Green defense with 13 tackles.
Deshawn Jones came away with two of the three interceptions for the hosts, while Trent Simms added the other pick.
The Falcons lead the alltime series with Ohio by a 41-30-2 count. Bowling Green also snapped a 5-game losing skid with the Bobcats — who suffered their first non-winning campaign since going 6-6 back in 2014.
It is the first losing season for OU football since going 4-8 in 2008. The Bobcats last won fewer than four games in any one campaign since a 2-10 showing back in 2002.
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Bryan Walters can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2101.