Ohio at Eastern Michigan
2 P.M., YPSILANTI, MICHIGAN
Records: Ohio 2-1; Eastern Michigan 2-0
Series: Bobcats lead 18-12-1
Eastern Michigan coach Chris Creighton said there was no offense intended to Charlotte and Rutgers, but that Ohio would be the best team his players would face at this point of the season.
The question for Creighton is which Bobcats quarterback he will see, Nathan Rourke and Quinton Maxwell?
For the fourth straight season, Ohio coach Frank Solich has chosen to go with the hot hand in the shotgun formation. On Monday, he announced that Rourke would start against the Eagles. Maxwell is also likely to play. Both are sophomores.
“They are both good quarterbacks," Solich said. “If you have guys that are both good players, the system has a chance to work. They both have done good things, so we will continue to go with the system."
In a 42-30 victory over Kansas last Saturday, the man who got most of the snaps was Rourke, a Canadian who transferred from Fort Scott Community College. He fits the description the coaching staff wants in a quarterback — a tough guy and dual threat.
Rourke completed 16 of 23 passes for 211 yards and one touchdown and ran for 36 yards on nine carries in a 44-21 loss at Purdue two weeks ago. Against Kansas, he completed 11 of 16 passes for two touchdowns.
“He showed great toughness in junior college," Solich said of Rourke. “The offensive line he played with struggled, and he was forced to scramble. He had to throw on the move, which is important in football. We liked a ton of things about him. This past spring, he showed signs of running our offense very well."
There is a lot more to the Bobcats offense than the quarterbacks. The best news is that redshirt junior running back A.J. Ouellette is healthy after missing all but one game last season because of a foot injury. He ran for 102 yards on 10 carries against Kansas. In 2014, he ran for 785 yards and seven touchdowns.
Eastern Michigan created a stir when it upset Rutgers 16-13 two weeks ago.
“Our defense has been fantastic, no question about it, on the ground and in the air," Creighton said. “But they will be by far the most balanced attack we’ll have seen, have the best quarterback play we’ll have seen and have the best passing attack."
Creighton had an answer ready about Ohio’s two-headed quarterback position.
“Both quarterbacks know how to run that offense," he said. “Everything they do creates a challenge. It’s their ability to run and throw the ball."
The challenge for the Bobcats is finding a way to defeat Michigan teams from the Mid-American Conference West. In 2016, they lost to Eastern Michigan and Central Michigan during the season, and to Western Michigan in the MAC championship game. In 2015, they lost to Western Michigan and in 2014 lost to Central Michigan and Western Michigan.
Toledo at University of Miami
3:30 P.M., CORAL GABLES, FLORIDA
This isn’t the typical football contract in which a mid-major plays a Power 5 conference on its home field only. The 14th-ranked Hurricanes (1-0) will play in the Glass Bowl next season. The last time Toledo (3-0) defeated a team ranked this high came in 2003 against No. 9 Pittsburgh.
Cincinnati at Navy
3:30 P.M., ANNAPOLIS, MARYLAND
This is the first time the teams will meet since Navy won 13-7 in 1956. The Midshipmen (3-0) have won 14 straight home games and have won at least a share of the last two American Athletic Conference West titles. The Bearcats (2-1) are coming off a 21-17 win over Miami University thanks to a 14-yard interception return for a touchdown by Malik Clements with 1:07 left.
Miami at Central Michigan
3:30 P.M., MOUNT PLEASANT, MICHIGAN
It’s the third game of the season, but this is a gut check for the RedHawks (1-2) after blowing a 17-6 lead against Cincinnati in the final 2:52 and losing. Miami defeated Central Michigan (2-1) last season 37-17.
— Mark Znidar