MOUNT PLEASANT, Mich. — Ohio’s long-awaited 2020 season opener was spoiled by the Central Michigan Chippewas.
Central Michigan’s Marshall Meeder kicked a 22-yard field goal with 9:05 remaining, and it proved to be the winning margin in the Chippewas’ 30-27 win Wednesday at Kelly/Shorts Stadium.
Ohio starts the season 0-1, both overall and in the Mid-American Conference.
The Bobcats finished with two turnovers, losing two fumbles, while Central Michigan (1-0, 1-0 MAC) didn’t turn the ball over.
Central Michigan also out gained Ohio 427 to 345 yards.
“I’m hoping that the mistakes that were made were correctable mistakes,” Ohio coach Frank Solich said. “And I believe that will be true.”
Kurtis Rourke got the starting nod at quarterback for Ohio, as he replaces his brother Nathan under center. He completed 12 of 19 passes in his first start for 231 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions in what was an overall good start for the redshirt freshman.
Isiah Cox led Ohio with 102 yards on four receptions, while Adam Luehrman had 44 yards on two receptions. Shane Hooks had 34 yards on three catches, while Ryan Luehrman had 16 yards on two receptions.
De’Montre Tuggle led Ohio with 79 yards rushing on 16 carries.
Ohio wasn’t able to stop Central Michigan, and quarterback Daniel Richardson. He completed 23 of 41 passes for 243 yards and a touchdown. Kobe Lewis rushed for 112 yards and two more touchdowns, while Kalil Pimpleton caught five passes for 65 yards.
The Bobcats struck lightning to start the second half, when De’Montre Tuggle took the opening kickoff back 93 yards for a touchdown. The big special teams play gave Ohio a 27-20 lead.
It would prove to be Ohio’s only score of the second half. Central Michigan quickly answered on Lewis’ 8-yard run, tying the game at 27-27 with 10:36 left in the third quarter. The score came after the Chipps recovered a fumble by Tuggle, setting up a 22-yard drive.
The game remained tied until Meeder’s field goal, which came after a 15-play, 70-yard drive.
The Bobcats put together a drive in the closing minutes, but were unable to get into field goal range after a pair or penalties.
Ohio had a second-and-two at CMU’s 27 after Ryan Luehrman’s eight-yard reception.
However, a holding penalty on the next play pushed Ohio back to Central Michigan’s 36-yard line. A false start on fourth down then moved Ohio back into a fourth-and-15 situation at Central Michigan’s 40.
Rourke tried to get a pass to Ryan Luehrman, but the Chippewas Troy Brown was able to defend the play enough to force an incomplete pass with just 28 seconds remaining.
Central Michigan struck first, leading 7-0 after Richardson scored on a 1-yard run with 7:58 left in the opening quarter.
Ohio tied the game at 7-7 on Rourke’s 21-yard touchdown pass to Hooks with 4:43 left in the first quarter.
The high-scoring opening quarter continued with Central Michigan leading 14-7 after Richardson’s 50-yard scoring pass to Pimpleton.
Cox countered with a 58-yard touchdown pass from Rourke, but Tristian Vandenburg missed the extra point to keep the score at 14-13.
Vandenburg, a redshirt freshman, also missed a 45-yard field goal with 14:51 remaining in the fourth quarter.
Central Michigan led 20-13 after Lewis’ 2-yard run with 5:05 left in the first half, with the Chippewas also missing an extra point.
The Bobcats were able to tie the game before halftime thanks to Tuggle’s 3-yard run and Vandenburg’s extra point. The 10-play, 75-yard drive ended with just 58 seconds left on the clock.
Ohio returns to the field on Tuesday in its home opener. The Bobcats welcome the Akron Zips to Peden Stadium for a 7 p.m. kickoff.
Central Michigan 30, Ohio 27
Ohio 7 13 7 0 — 27
Central Michigan 14 6 7 3 — 30
CMU — Daniel Richardson, 1-yard run (Marshall Meeder kick), 7:58, 1st
O — Shane Hooks, 21-yard pass from Kurtis Rourke (Tristian Vandenburg kick), 4:43, 1st
CMU — Kalil Pimpleton, 50-yard pass from Richardson (Meeder kick), 3:32, 1st
O — Isiah Cox, 58-yard pass from Rourke (kick failed), 13:56, 2nd
CMU — Kobe Lewis, 2-yard run (kick failed), 5:05, 2nd
O — De’Montre Tuggle, 3-yard run (Vandenburg kick), :58, 2nd
O — Tuggle, 93-yard kickoff return (Vandenburg kick), 14:45, 3rd
CMU — Lewis, 8-yard run (Meeder kick), 10:36, 3rd
CMU — Meeder, 22-yard field goal, 9:05, 4th
First downs 16 24
Plays from scrimmage 58 88
Rushing (plays-yds) 36-110 47 184
Passing yards 235 243
Total net yards 345 427
Fumbles (no-lost) 3-2 0-0
Penalties (no-yds) 11-74 6-64
Punts (no-avg) 5-35.8 5-47.2
Ohio — De’Montre Tuggle 16-79 TD, Armani Rogers 7-32, O’Shaan Allison 4-16, Cameron Odom 1-2, Kurtis Rourke 8-(-19). Central Michigan — Kobe Lewis 28-112 2 TDs, Lew Nichols III 9-31, Darius Bras 3-28, Kalil Pimpleton 3-9, Daniel Richardson 3-6 TD, TEAM 1-(-2).
Ohio — Kurtis Rourke 12-19-0-231 2 TDs, Armani Rogers 1-3-0-4; Central Michigan — Daniel Richardson 23-41-0-243 TD
Ohio — Isiah Cox 4-102 TD, Adam Luehrman 2-44, Shane Hooks 3-34, Cameron Odom 1-26, Ryan Luehrman 2-16, O’Shaan Allison 1-13; Central Michigan — Kalil Pimpleton 5-65 TD, JaCorey Sullivan 3-43, Dallas Dixon 3-40, Kobe Lewis 5-34, Lew Nichols III 4-29, Tyrone Scott 2-16, Drayton Law 1-16.