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ATHENS, Ohio— The Ohio football team (9-3, 7-1) clinched a spot in the Mid-American Conference Championship tonight (Nov. 22), defeating the Bowling Green Falcons (6-6, 5-3) 38-14.
“All three phases of the game continue to compliment each other and you can feel the energy,” said head coach Tim Albin. “Our team on the field, they’re not looking at the sideline, they’re looking at each other. That’s a testament to this coaching staff and believing in one another. Over-believing is a word I’ve used about this team a lot this season. As I said in the locker room after the game, it’s very very humbling to be a part of this, so many outstanding performances.”
In the air, redshirt sophomore quarterback CJ Harris (West Bloomfield, Mich.) was 10-for-21 on 196 yards. Junior wide receiver Jacoby Jones (Tunica, Miss.) led the receivers with 96 yards while graduate student wide receiver Sam Wiglusz (Brecksville, Ohio) scored the only passing touchdown of the day. Redshirt sophomore quarterback Kadin Beler (Phoenix, Ariz.) made his collegiate debut, entering the game for the final two drives of the game.
On the ground, redshirt freshman running back Sieh Bangura (Bowie, Md.) finished the game with 96 yards, 27 carries and one touchdown. Harris scored three rushing touchdowns on 65 yards.
Defensively, redshirt senior linebacker Keye Thompson (Barberton, Ohio) led the way with 11 tackles, one sack, one tackle for loss and two quarterback hurries. Graduate student safety Tariq Drake (Leavittsburg, Ohio) snagged two interceptions while graduate student cornerback Zack Sanders (Lawrence, Kan.) had one on the game.
Freshman kicker Nathanial Vakos (Avon, Ohio) went 5-for-5 on PATs and 1-for-1 on field goals.
Bowling Green scored the first seven points of the game in the first quarter, but Ohio took control in the second. First, Harris wrapped up a 5:35 drive with a five-yard rushing touchdown, tying the game 7-7.
Graduate student wide receiver Sam Wiglusz (Brecksville, Ohio) put the Bobcats ahead with 8:25 left in the half, followed by a rushing touchdown by Bangura to extend their lead to 14 points. With just 24 seconds left in the half, Harris scored his second rushing touchdown, putting the score at 28-7.
Vakos kicked a 32-yard field goal for the only three points in the third quarter. Harris opened the fourth quarter with a 12-yard rushing touchdown, followed by a good PAT for the Bobcats’ final seven points of the game. Bowling Green scored with 2:24 left on the clock, giving the ball to Ohio for the final drive of the game. The Bobcats went into victory formation, taking the MAC East title and defeating the Falcons 38-14.
“This football team is going to go up there and concentrate on playing our best four quarters, one snap at a time,” said Albin. “And enjoying it.”
Up next, the Bobcats travel to Detroit, Mich. for the MAC championship game against the Toledo Rockets on Saturday, Dec. 3. Kickoff is set for noon at Ford Field and can be seen on ESPN.
COURTESY OHIO ATHLETIC COMMUNICATIONS