AKRON — De’Montre Tuggle and the Ohio Bobcats got in the win column for 2021 thanks to a solid ground effort.
Tuggle rushed for 201 yards and Ohio won its Mid-American Conference opener at Akron’s InfoCision Stadium on Saturday, 34-17.
Ohio is 1-4 on the season, and 1-0 in the MAC, as head coach Tim Albin won his first game as the Bobcats’ head coach.
The Bobcats broke out of their early season slump thanks to a powerful running game.
Ohio scored the final 24 points, gaining 398 yards rushing for the game.
Ohio outgained Akron 458-333 in total yards of the game, as the Zips fell to 1-4 overall and 0-1 in the MAC.
Tuggle enjoyed his biggest day of the young season, gaining his 201 yards on 17 rushes. His longest run was 63 yards as he scored a touchdown.
The Bobcats also settled in offensively with Armani Rogers leading the way at quarterback.
Rogers completed just 1 of 2 passes for four yards, but he used his legs to hurt Akron.
Rogers rushed for 106 yards and two touchdowns on 14 carries.
O’Shaan Allison added 54 yards on eight rushes for Ohio.
The Bobcats fell behind 10-3 in the first half, but forged a 10-10 halftime tie after Kurtis Rourke’s 2-yard touchdown pass to a diving Isiah Cox in the back of the end zone with just nine seconds left in the first half.
Akron went ahead 17-10 with 8:34 left in the third quarter on DJ Irons’ 9-yard touchdown pass to Tristian Brank.
It proved to be Akron’s final points of the game. Ohio tied it up on Rogers’ 7-yard scoring run with 5:41 left in the third quarter.
Stephen Johnson’s 26-yard field goal gave Ohio the lead, 20-17, with 13:30 to play.
The Bobcats pieced together two big fourth-quarter drives to clinch the victory.
They drove 75 yards in nine plays, taking 4:49 off the clock in going ahead 27-17 on Rogers’ 22-yard run.
That gave Ohio a 10-point lead with just 6:12 left.
The Bobcats put the finishing touches on the road win on Tuggle’s 26-yard touchdown run with 1:16 left. It capped off a seven-play, 59-yard drive that made it 34-17.
Ohio has won four meetings in a row against Akron.
Irons completed 14 of 17 passes for Akron for 175 yards and two touchdowns. He also had 64 yards on 19 rushes, with Blake Hester adding 51 yards on 13 carries.
Rourke completed 7 of 13 passes for Ohio for 56 yards with a touchdown and an interception. Ty Walton had a 34-yard reception to lead Ohio’s receivers.
Bryce Houston led Ohio with eight total tackles, including a sack. Will Evans and Cannon Blauser each had two sacks in the victory.
With their first victory behind them, the Bobcats will return home on Saturday for a Homecoming contest against Central Michigan.
The kickoff is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. in Peden Stadium.
Central Michigan is 2-3 overall, and 0-1 in the MAC after losing to Miami 28-17.