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The 6 Ohio Players Penn State HC James Franklin Mentioned By Name Tuesday

Penn State plays Ohio in its home opener Saturday at noon. 

At the start of his press conferences, Penn State coach James Franklin talks about the team’s upcoming opponent as part of his opening statement. 

He mentions the opposing coaches and players that have stuck out to him and Penn State’s coaching staff on film.

Ohio had a rough go of it in 2021, finishing 3-9, but got off to a good start this past Saturday, upsetting Florida Atlantic, 38-35, in its season opener. 

Franklin mentioned six Ohio players by name in his second press conference of the 2022 season this past Tuesday, saying their names and positions but not going into detail. This article will go over who they are and what they can do. 

OFFENSE

QB: KURTIS ROURKE 

Height: 6-foot-4

Weight: 216 pounds

Class: Redshirt junior

Rourke started his second season as Ohio’s No. 1 quarterback with an excellent performance against Florida Atlantic Saturday. 

Rourke completed 27 of 34 passes for 345 yards, four touchdowns and no interceptions. His completion percentage is 79.4, and his quarterback rating is 78.1. 

Rourke and Ohio had a good night Saturday, but both parties wish he could have been sacked less than four times. Penn State got to Purdue QB Aidan O’Connell twice last Thursday and would like to improve upon that this week. 

Florida Atlantic finished 12th of 14 Conference USA teams in sacks last season, so either the Falcons’ pass rush got better, or Ohio’s offensive line has some problems that Penn State can exploit. 

WR: JAMES BOSTIC

Height: 6-foot-3

Weight: 230 pounds

Class: Graduate student 

Before last Saturday, Bostic had never had more than 112 yards in a season through five years of college football. 

He had 136 yards and a touchdown on six receptions against Florida Atlantic. 

Bostic, who played at Vanderbilt from 2017-20, is 6-foot-3 and 230 pounds and will be a good challenge for Penn State cornerback Joey Porter Jr. should they match up 1-on-1. 

According to Pro Football Focus, 51 of Bostic’s 52 snaps at receiver Saturday came split out wide, so it’s a good bet that he and Porter Jr. will be lined up against each other often.

RUNNING BACK 

SIEH BANGURA 

Height: 6-feet

Weight: 200 pounds

Class: Redshirt freshman

Penn State’s run defense didn’t get many chances to prove itself for better or worse against Purdue, who threw the ball 58 times (including when it needed to run out the clock) and ran it just 23. 

Purdue’s top rusher, King Doerue, gained a modest 57 yards on 15 carries, albeit with two touchdowns. Now, Penn State will look to shut down  Bangura, who didn’t score Saturday but did gain 114 yards on 23 carries. 

The carries and yards are more than Bangura had last season when he picked up just 93 on 12 touches. 

Like Bostic, it’s hard to tell how good Bangura– who played at the famous Dematha Catholic High School– will be long-term since neither has been a key contributor for an entire season in their college careers. Pretty much any team is going to run the ball more than Purdue does, however, so Penn State’s run defense should get more of a look than it did last Thursday.

DEFENSE

WILL LB: BRYCE HOUSTON 

Height: 5-foot-11

Weight: 237 pounds

Class: Redshirt senior 

Houston only had one solo tackle against Florida Atlantic but assisted on three and ended 2021 with 96 tackles, leading the team and finishing tied for ninth in the MAC.

DT: RODNEY MATHEWS 

Height: 6-foot-2

Weight: 295 pounds

Class: Redshirt senior

Mathews forced a fumble in the fourth quarter of Ohio’s win Saturday. 

The 6-foot-2, 295-pounder was also a regular on Ohio’s defensive line last season.

SS: Tariq Drake

Height: 6-feet

Weight: 186 pounds 

Class: Graduate student 

A sixth-year player, Drake led the team in interceptions last season with three and tied for fourth in tackles. 

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