BOISE, Idaho (AP) – Nathan Rourke accounted for 241 yards of offense and ran for a touchdown to help Ohio beat Nevada 30-21 on Friday in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl.
Ohio (7-6) rebounded from a 1-3 start for its fifth straight winning season under coach Frank Solich. The 75-year-old former Nebraska coach received a two-year contract extension this week.
Nevada (7-6), which dismissed defensive coordinator Jeff Casteel and two other defensive position coaches at the end of the regular season, didnâ€™t find much of an answer for Ohioâ€™s high-powered offense until the fourth quarter.
The Wolfpack also were missing three key defensive starters, suspended for their participation in a fight in a loss to rival UNLV in the regular-season finale.
Ohio raced to a 20-9 lead and scored the first 10 points of the third quarter before holding off Nevada’s late rally.
The Bobcats lost leading rusher Oâ€™Shaan Allison late in the first quarter with an undisclosed injury. Deâ€™Montre Tuggle took over, rushing for 97 yards and a touchdown to spark a ground attack that finished with 285 yards on 50 carries spread among five players.
Rourke, who is projected to be a high first-round draft pick in the Canadian Football League, tied Kareem Wilson’s school record for career rushing touchdowns of 49. Wilson played from 1995-98.
Ohio: The Bobcats will have a big question next season at quarterback with Rourke graduating, but there are plenty of reasons to think Ohio will be a serious contender for the MAC title. Losing just two starters on offense and three on defense, it will be one of the most experienced returning teams in the conference.
Nevada: The Wolfpack will also enter next season with high hopes with Norvell entering his fourth season with a bevy of returnees, including quarterback Carson Strong, who finished with over 2,000 yards passing, and leading wide receiver Elijah Cooks.
Ohio: Will open next season Sept. 5 by hosting N.C. Central.
Nevada: Will host UC Davis on Aug. 29 in its opener.