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Point made: Bobcats blow out Blazers in Bahamas Bowl

Brown rushes for 152 yards, 4 touchdowns

NASSAU, Bahamas – Ohio made its point clear Friday.

The Bobcats showed they were better than they looked in their final two games with the largest victory in Mid-American Conference bowl history, defeating UAB, 41-6, in the Bahamas Bowl at Nathan A. Robinson National Stadium.

Dorian Brown ran for 152 yards and four touchdowns on just 12 carries to earn offensive player of the game honors in the blowout, which followed two straight losses that kept Ohio out of the MAC Championship Game at the end of the season.

“I feel like eight wins were not enough with this football team, so this ninth win puts a little icing on the cake,” Ohio coach Frank Solich said.

Ohio (9-4) scored two touchdowns in each of the first three quarters, while shutting down UAB, which was seeking its first-ever bowl victory.

Nathan Rourke threw a 2-yard touchdown pass to DL Knock on the Bobcats’ first possession and threw a 56-yard touchdown pass to Papi White on their second. The extra point was wide, but it never mattered.

Ohio blocked UAB’s 47-yard field goal try late in the first quarter, and in the second quarter, Brown broke the first of his four touchdowns, a 74-yard run, to make it 20-0. He added scoring runs of 9, 25 and 14 yards.

“It was very important [to go out on a high note],” Brown said. “I had to step up and take my role.”

Brown was the featured running back after A.J. Ouellette aggravated a shoulder injury and could not return. But he still managed 26 yards on eight carries to put him over the 1,000-yard mark for the season.

Nick Vogel got the Blazers (8-5) on the board with a 34-yard field goal, but Brown’s second touchdown made it 27-3 before halftime.

Vogel opened scoring in the second half with a 25-yard field goal before Brown’s final two scoring runs.

“I missed two games last time we played,” Brown said. “It actually motivated me. I give a lot of props to the O-Line as well, because they did a tremendous job blocking and making it easy for me to run the ball.”

The line also made it an easy day for quarterback Nathan Rourke, who set the Ohio record for total touchdowns in a season with 39. He ran only three times for 30 yards but was on the mark passing, going 12 of 18 for 185 yards. He also caught a 15-yard pass from Andrew Meyer on a trick play.

White finished with 106 yards receiving on four catches, and Meyer caught six passes for 50 yards.

Even with a 34-6 lead, the Bobcats were not content. Rourke completed a flea-flicker pass to Troy Mangen for 24 yards to set up their final Brown touchdown run on the next play. Kylan Nelson’s 34-yard punt return set up the previous touchdown, leaving Ohio to need only one play for Brown to get into the end zone.

“They ran the ball on us,” UAB coach Bill Clark said. “We had some chances to get off the field and we didn’t. But they did what they do. They ran their quarterback. They broke some tackles. Maybe our depth on the defensive line showed a bit. But give them credit, they ran the ball well. We are disappointed in how many times we got the ball into the red zone and did not get touchdowns.”

Unlike Ohio, UAB could not get its ground game going, finishing with just 99 yards on 25 carries, and then down by so much so fast, it had to turn quickly to its passing game. Quarterback A.J. Erdely was 24 of 45 passing for 254 yards.

It was a difficult end to an otherwise fairytale season. The Blazers had surprising success after have their football program reinstated this year after it was cut at the end of 2014.

“This was not our day today,” Clark said. “But this won’t take anything away from what this group has done. It was a historic year. Our group has set the bar very high for the next UAB teams to come. We need to do a good job of going out recruiting and take the next steps to build depth and be the program we want to be. This is not going to diminish the year at all.”

Javon Hagan was named the defensive player of the game with nine tackles, a forced fumble and two pass breakups.

"It was a great win," Solich said. "We certainly appreciate all this team has been about – the way they've gone through the season, the way they started to prepare for the Bahamas Bowl at home and then continue the preparation here. To end up playing a very, very good football game, I couldn't be any more pleased. They've been a great bunch to work with.”

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