Ohio rushed for 285 yards, led by De'Montre Tuggle's 97 yards on 10 carries, and the Bobcats held off a late rally by Nevada for a 30-21 win in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl on Friday at Boise, Idaho.
Ohio quarterback Nathan Rourke completed nine of his 17 passes for 144 yards. He also rushed for 87 yards on 10 carries.
Nevada (7-6) struggled defensively for most of the first three quarters without defensive backs Daniel Brown and Austin Arnold and lineman Hausia Sekona, and also linebacker Gabriel Sewell for the first half. Those four were suspended by the Mountain West for their roles in the postgame melee that followed Nevada's overtime loss to UNLV on Nov. 30.
The Wolf Pack were down 30-9 to start the fourth quarter. They scored two touchdowns after two Ohio fumbles to close the lead to 30-21 with 8:42 left in regulation.
Ohio (7-6) limited Nevada to 29 rushing yards and prevented quarterback Carson Strong from leading his team to the end zone until he completed an 8-yard touchdown pass to Elijah Cooks with 10:48 left in regulation to cut the lead to 30-15. The point-after attempt was blocked by Dylan Conner.
After Rourke fumbled on a sack by Dom Peterson, fellow defensive end Sam Hammond recovered the ball at Ohio's 21-yard line with 9:39 left. The Wolf Pack scored three plays later on a 1-yard run by Devonte Lee with 8:42 remaining to cut the lead to 30-21. A two-point conversion pass failed.
Nevada drove to the Ohio 6 on its next possession but the drive ended on a fumble by Lee on a reverse play that was forced by Austin Conrad and recovered by Marcus Coleman with 3:12 left.
In one last gasp, Nevada had the ball on the Ohio 9 on the following possession but Strong tossed four straight incompletions to end the threat.
Strong completed 31 of 49 passes for 402 yards with a touchdown and no interceptions. Cooks caught 14 passes for 197 yards.
In the first half, Ohio scored on all four of its possessions, including after a 71-yard, 15-play drive that took 7:47. The drive was capped by Julian Ross's 12-yard touchdown run to give the Bobcats a 10-3 lead with 12:28 remaining in the second quarter.
On Ohio's next drive, Rourke had a 38-yard pass to Isiah Cox and scored on a 35-yard run with 6:21 left in the quarter to give the Bobcats a 17-6 lead.
Ohio drove 50 yards for a touchdown early in the third quarter after linebacker Keye Thompson recovered a fumble by Carson. Tuggle rushed 2 yards for the score with 5:26 left in the quarter to give Ohio a 30-9 lead.
--Field Level Media