ATHENS, Ohio — Nathan Rourke threw for 152 yards and two touchdowns as Ohio defeated Kansas 42-30 on Saturday, extending the Jayhawks’ road losing streak to 42 games, the longest active streak in the nation.
Rourke earned his first start against the Jayhawks after shining in the first two games of the season.
“I really didn’t think too much of it [the start] because they were still going to go play both quarterbacks,” Rourke said.
Rourke succeeded Quinton Maxwell as starting quarterback, but both played as planned — and both had success. Maxwell entered the game in the middle of the second quarter, and he completed five of six passes, including a 9-yard touchdown pass to Troy Mangen. That was Maxwell’s second touchdown of the season.
Mangen, who hadn’t caught a pass this season until Saturday, had three receptions. Two of those were for touchdowns. He finished with 35 receiving yards.
Although Maxwell didn’t start, the two-quarterback system worked well.
“They do a good job with the one-two punch with these two quarterbacks,” Kansas coach David Beaty said. “Honestly, on the field I didn’t recognize just a lot of difference.”
Although the Bobcats played both Rourke and Maxwell, the Jayhawks (1-2) especially couldn’t contain Rourke, who is deft at evading the rush.
Ohio (2-1) prospered on offense, rebounding from a subpar performance against Purdue. The Jayhawks, ranked No. 7 in the Big 12 in total yards allowed per game, gave up 450 total yards to the Bobcats.
“Our receiving corps showed up, did a good job,” Ohio coach Frank Solich said. “Quarterbacks did a good job, running backs did a good job, offensive line. So I thought it was a complete ball game from the offensive standpoint.”
Trailing 39-14 after three quarters, Kansas’ Peyton Bender passed a 1-yard touchdown to Jeremiah Booker early in the fourth, and Gabriel Rui added a 34-yard field goal with 5:35 remaining to cut the deficit to 39-24. Louie Zervospadded the lead with a 46-yard field goal before Kansas scored a touchdown on the game’s final play.
Jayhawks running back Khalil Herbert ran for two touchdowns and finished with 137 yards rushing. Bender threw for 281 yards and two touchdowns. His offensive line struggled, allowing five sacks.
Bender said he missed a few blitz pickups and acknowledged that he needed to throw the ball more quickly to help his offensive line.
“Some of those they just made nice plays, and then other times, in a few instances, I could have got the ball out my hand seeing blitz,” Bender said.
The Jayhawks struggled on defense, too, as they allowed an average of 7 yards per play.
The Jayhawks outscored the Bobcats 16-3 in the fourth quarter.
“We gotta come out faster, and that will take care of everything,” Kansas wide receiver Steven Sims said.
Kansas: The road losing streak continues. The Jayhawks again struggled to defend, which has been a problem this season.
Ohio: The Bobcats used both of their quarterbacks, which was expected. But what was not totally expected was Maxwell’s solid play in the second quarter. Rourke shined again, but Maxwell didn’t waver. As coach Scott Isphording said, the Bobcats have two good quarterbacks, and that’s a good thing for them.
Kansas: Kansas is host to West Virginia on Saturday.
Ohio: The Bobcats play Saturday at Eastern Michigan.