Sieh Bangura
Ohio Bobcats running back Sieh Bangura carrying the ball against Central Michigan (Photo credit: Ohio University Athletics)

Can the Ohio Bobcats Claw their Way Back into the MAC in 2023?

The Ohio University Bobcats made it to the Mid-American Conference championship last year and won 10 games. A repeat performance is the goal.

The Ohio Bobcats had a spectacular 2022 season that featured an appearance in the MAC Championship game and ended with a thrilling 30-27 victory in the Barstool Sports Arizona Bowl over Wyoming. This season, these Bobcats still have razor sharp claws that can scratch the eyes out of other teams in the conference.

With a plethora of grad students led by starting quarterback Kurtis Rourke, the 6-foot-5, 231-pound dual-threat signal-caller, the Bobcats could find their way back in the MAC Championship once again in 2023.


The Conference: Mid-Atlantic Conference (East Division)

2022 Record: 10-4 (lost MAC title game 17-7 to Toledo Rockets (9-5), defeated Wyoming 30-27 in Barstool Sports Arizona Bowl

Conference Finish: 7-1 in the MAC

Head Coach:  (18th year  at school/18th overall: 13-13)

Five All-Star Candidates: Kurtis Rourke, Gs/QB (2,725 yards, 21 TD'S, 4 INT) Tyler Walton, Fifth Year Sr/WR (10 catches, 108 yards, 0 TDs) ; Sieh Bangura, Redshirt So/RB, (495 yards, 107 attempts, 7 TD'S, ; Torrie Cox Jr. Redshirt So, / CB, (37 tackles, three TFL'S,  three INTs's, six PD's, one FF, ; Quintell Quinn, Redshirt So, /CB, (three tackles, 0 TFL's, 0 INT'S.

The Newcomer: Jared Wheatley, Gs./P, (Vanderbilt University transfer), Four-time SEC honor roll, racked up 166 yards of punts against Ole Miss in 2020.

Ohio Bobcats running back Sieh Bangura carrying the ball against Central Michigan (Photo credit: Ohio University Athletics)


Very similar to last year, the sky is the limit for this Bobcats football team.

The program took a big leap forward in 2022, going 10-4 and winning the Barstool Sports Arizona Bowl 30-27. However, the team would like to win both the MAC championship and their bowl game this year.

Returning at starting quarterback is Kurtis Rourke, the grad student who decided to come back and pursue a grad degree at the university.

With a bunch of older veterans and experience on the team, they will look to avenge their 17-7 loss to the Toldeo Rockets in the MAC title game last December.

The team also has some younger kittens on the team looking to upgrade from a litter box, to a full grown cat with claws, including redshirt sophomore  running back and last year's leading rusher Sieh Bangura, as well as redshirt sophomore corner back Torrie Cox Jr.

Head Coach Tim Albin is in his 18th year at Ohio State overall, but has only been the head coach since 2021 with a 13-13 record.


The Ohio Bobcats in UB on Nov 7. needs to be a huge and important victory as the Bobcats went to the MAC title game last year.  They were defeated by the Toledo Rockets 17-7.

While last year's 45-24 win at home on a Tuesday was a success, that was last year and this year the club will be going up on a Tuesday again, but this year the game's in Buffalo. If they want to complete their first goal of clawing back to the MAC title game, they will need to sack the eyeballs out of Bulls star quarterback Cole Snyder. This should be a fun and important game as the season heads deeper into MAC conference play at that point.


The Bobcats look to be one of the superior teams again in the conference and they know they should have not been upset by Toledo in the MAC title game last December.

However, last year's win is in the past and this is a home game for the Bulls. While the Bobcats have already proven their worth in the MAC, this is expected to be a very different UB team that they saw last year. Who's ready for some Tuesday primetime, "MACtion" late in November?


On paper, the Bobcats should be the favorites to win the MAC East again, but with the conference now being tougher than ever, the upstart Buffalo Bulls or the topsy turvy Kent State Golden Flashes are at a boiling point. Those two teams feel they're ready to give these cats a mouse to try and chase. If they catch the mouse and put it in the trap, the Bobcats will be back in the title game, but if the mouse chases them, these cats will have finally been declawed from the top of the MAC.

Ohio Bobcats corner back Torrie Cox Jr. pumping up the cro (Photo credit: Ohio University Athletics)


The biggest game of course is the Tuesday, November 7 matchup on ESPN against Maurice Linguist and his Buffalo Bulls. The Bobcats will be on national tv again, but in Buffalo this time. The cats used their claws last year and de-horned the mighty team from Buffalo, but the Bulls want revenge. If Ohio can play a solid clean game without one costly mistake, they will have the Bulls grabbed and scratched by their horns.

MORE: MAC Football Preview: Will Toledo and Ohio Have a Title Game Rematch?