BOISE, Idaho — Ohio quarterback Nathan Rourke is projected to be the top quarterback taken in the Canadian Football League draft this spring. He’s pretty good at the American collegiate version, too.
Rourke, from Oakville, Ontario, accounted for 231 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 twoyear 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, didn’t find much of an answer for Ohio’s high-powered offense until the fourth quarter.
The Wolf Pack 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.
Rourke, who finished with 144 yards passing and 87 yards rushing along with one touchdown, garnered MVP honors, but was uninterested in talking about it. When asked about his award, he quickly pivoted to talk about the defense and their stand at the end of the game. Later, Rourke apologized for never winning a MAC championship during his three years at the school.
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 O’Shaan Allison late in the first quarter with an undisclosed injury. De’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 tied Kareem Wilson’s school record for career rushing touchdowns of 49. Wilson played from 1995-98.
Nevada: The Wolf Pack 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.