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COLLEGE FOOTBALL

Myrtle Beach Bowl: Ohio 41, Georgia Southern 21

College Football

By PETE IACOBELLI
Associated Press

CONWAY, S.C. - Freshman Rickey Hunt ran for four touchdowns and caught a fifth as Ohio overcame a host of transfer portal losses to win its fifth-straight bowl game, beating Georgia Southern 41-21 at the Myrtle Beach Bowl.

The Bobcats (10-2) forced five turnovers, four off Eagles quarterback Davis Brin, to win 10 games in consecutive years for the first time in program history.

And they did it without several of their best performers, including their top two rushers in Sieh Bangura and O’Shaan Allison, who accounted for 1,263 yards and 10 touchdowns on the ground this season.

Also missing was Ohio starting quarterback Kurtis Rourke, who passed for 2,207 yards and 11 touchdowns for the Bobcats before committing to Indiana earlier this month.

Hunt and quarterback Parker Navarro, making his first career start after four seasons as a backup at UCF and Ohio, picked up the offensive slack.

Hunt, who played two games this season, had scoring runs of 2, 6, 40 and 9 yards along with an 18-yard TD catch off a jump pass by Navarro. He finished with 115 yards rushing after coming into the game with 19 this season.

Navarro passed for 120 yards and ran for 71.

Ohio’s defense made it all stand up. They held Georgia Southern (6-7) to 35 yards in the first half. Brin, who won this game’s MVP in 2021 in leading Tulsa to a 30-17 victory, threw an interception on the game’s fourth play to safety Jeremiah Wood.

Things didn’t get much better after that with a pick by safety Adonis Williams Jr. before losing the ball on a fumble when Brin was sacked from behind.

Defensive back Walter Reynolds intercepted Brin early in the third quarter and ran it back to the Georgia Southern 6. Hunt took a pitch from Navarro for his final touchdown and a 27-0 lead.

Ohio also sacked Brin five times.

Georgia Southern found some offensive rhythm in the second half and cut its deficit to 34-21 after Brin threw scoring passes of 65 yards to receiver Derwin Burgess Jr. and 15 yards to tight end Jjay Mcafee. But the Eagles could get no closer.

Brin finished 32 of 42 for 350 yards to break the record he set with Tulsa (294) here two years ago.

Georgia Southern receiver Khaleb Hood had seven catches for 101 this season, the fifth time in Sun Belt Conference history a player has reached the century mark.

THE TAKEAWAY

Georgia Southern: The Eagles have put up identical 6-7 seasons in coach Clay Helton’s first two years. They’ll need to cut down on the mistakes after ending the year with minus-9 in turnover margin.

Ohio: Hunt and Navarro gave Ohio’s offense an intriguing taste of what next year could bring. The expanded College Football Playoff means more opportunity for Group of Five teams with double-digit wins.

December 16, 2023






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