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Ohio shoots for historic win in Myrtle Beach Bowl vs. Ga. Southern

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Although Ohio finds itself in the same situation it was in a season ago, program history is on the line this time.

After prevailing in last year’s Arizona Bowl, the Bobcats (9-3) will look to record back-to-back 10-win seasons for the first time ever when they face Georgia Southern (6-6) in the Myrtle Beach Bowl on Saturday in Conway, S.C.

Ohio was 9-4 in 2022 before edging Wyoming 30-27 in the Arizona Bowl in Tucson to punctuate the campaign.

The Bobcats used a late-season surge to move into position to reach the 10-win plateau again in 2023, rattling off three consecutive victories ahead of bowl action.

“Winning a bowl game is one of our goals, one of the expectations here, and we have an opportunity to do that,” Ohio coach Tim Albin said. “Sure, we’re gonna try to win the game and … that’s an opportunity that we have in front of us.

“It won’t be the sole motivation, but (we) certainly have an opportunity to get that done for these guys.”

Saturday will mark the first-ever meeting between the Bobcats and Eagles, and the clock is ticking for Albin and his coaching staff as they try to learn about a Georgia Southern program that lost 23-21 to Buffalo in the 2022 Camellia Bowl.

The Myrtle Beach Bowl is the first bowl game of the postseason, kicking off at 11 a.m. ET.

“Georgia Southern, a tradition-rich program,” Albin said. “Six national championships in the FCS level. Don’t know much about them; we’re diving into them right now. … Coach (Clay) Helton will have them ready to go, but we’re looking forward to the matchup.”

Helton has had to use a little extra elbow grease to have his guys ready, though.

“Our coaches, half of them are on the road, half of them are back here (in Georgia) prepping for the game so we can produce a game plan by Wednesday when we go to that first practice,” Helton said. “You basically get six practices here, and you’ll get three practices there, then you put the ball down and get the chance to play.”

Although it might be hard to tell by their record, the Eagles have been bowl-eligible since Oct. 26, when they beat Georgia State 44-27. Georgia Southern then dropped its final four games of the regular season, most recently 55-27 to Appalachian State on Nov. 25.

The Eagles surrendered an average of 39.5 points per game during their skid, well north of their season average of 24.6 before that.

Georgia Southern sports a high-powered offense led by quarterback Davis Brin, who threw for 3,431 yards and 22 touchdowns in the regular season but was picked off 16 times. Jalen White led the rushing attack with 891 yards and nine TDs.

Meanwhile, Ohio has leaned on its defense for the bulk of its success in 2023.

Opponents averaged just 15.4 points against the Bobcats through their first 12 games, fifth-best in the country. Linebacker Bryce Houston had the 16th-most tackles (119) in the FBS.

Offensively, Kurtis Rourke had 2,207 passing yards and 11 TDs through the air, with five interceptions. Sieh Bangura totaled 811 yards and seven scores on the ground.

–Field Level Media

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