A.J. Ouellette stiff arms a Kent State defenders during Ohio’s game against Kent State University on Oct. 21, 2017 (Photo by Blake Nissen | Photo Editor)
Dorian Brown worked Kent State’s rush defense last season, too.
He rushed for 110 yards against the Golden Flashes last season as A.J. Ouellette was out with a foot injury.
But on Saturday, Ouellette joined Brown in the fun.
The two running backs combined for 199 rushing yards and led Ohio to a 48-3 win over Kent State in Peden Stadium.
“The offensive line is doing an amazing job,” Brown said. “They’re making big holes for us to see.”
Brown’s stat line against Kent State was like the one he had last season. He rushed for 108 yards, his longest a 39-yard touchdown through the second level of Kent State’s defense.
After Brown’s touchdown, Ouellette ran for one as well, stiff arming a defender on his way to the end zone. The two touchdowns were part of a third quarter in which the Bobcats scored four touchdowns in a little over six minutes.
Two straight touchdown passes later from Nathan Rourke to tight end Mason Morgan, a rushing touchdown from Dylan Wears at the end of the fourth quarter and the Bobcats had scored 48 unanswered points to end the game.
“The running game has played a big role in that,” coach Frank Solich said.
The Bobcats originally had trouble getting going on offense with a plethora of dropped passes to begin the game.
So the Bobcats had to establish the run first.
It wasn’t difficult, though, considering it’s what they look to do anyway. Set up the run, and if the pass comes, then all the better. But the run was there in full force.
The Bobcats rushed for a season-high 336 rushing yards against the Golden Flashes, and that was one game after they had a then season-high 335 rushing yards. At this point in the season, the passing game has become a subset of Ohio’s offense.
What the Bobcats truly rely on is the run, and they’re great at doing that.
While Brown rushed for his third career game in which he had more than 100 rushing yards, Ouellette etched his name into Bobcat history. He broke into the top 10 of Ohio’s all-time rushing yards list.
With 2,264 career rushing yards, Ouellette surpassed quarterback Dontrell Jackson, who played from 1999-2002.
Ouellette and Brown are one of the top running back tandems in the MAC, perhaps the best. One plays for two series, and then the other comes in. That keeps both backs fresh, and both are able to rush for yards at a high rate.
The competition brews between them — Brown said his goal for next week is to rush for 200 yards. Ouellette, who rushed for 91 yards against Kent State, accepted the challenge.
Still, neither player’s ego is so big that they want to be the feature back. They don’t clamor for more snaps. They don’t complain about playing more series.
Both are focused on playing well, no matter how much time they play.
“That’s the great thing about those guys, and I think it’s the great thing about the makeup of our football team,” Solich said. “There’s no selfish football players on our team.”