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Ohio rebounded from a 14-point deficit to beat Northern Illinois 29-24 Saturday in Athens, Ohio. The win is the Bobcats’ first in MAC play this season. Ohio now sits at 1-2, while the Huskies fall to 0-1.
Killan Mulkern slotted a penalty to put the Bobcats up 3-0 early, but Northern Illinois reeled off three tries in a 10-minute span to take a 17-3 lead. Ohio penalties and some holes in the Bobcat defense led to the Huskies' two-score lead 25 minutes in.
With just a few minutes left in the first half, the Bobcat pack stole a scrum and moved the ball out to center Troy Keener, whose try and conversion by Mulkern cut the deficit to seven at the half.
Ohio tied the game up 15 minutes into the second stanza with a try by flanker Thushan Wickramsinghe and a Mulkern conversion. The hungry Bobcat forwards were maintaining possession deep inside the attacking 22, and with some space ahead, center Keener grubbed a kick towards the try line that was touched down by wing Vince Hahn in the corner. The unconverted score gave Ohio its first lead of the game, 22-17, 18 minutes into the half.
Wing Hayden George then picked off a Huskie pass and race ahead for a Mulkern-converted try to put OU up 29-17 with 10 minutes left in the game. The Huskies scored a converted try with six minutes left to bring the score to 29-24. However, the Bobcats would hold onto the lead with a good stand inside their end the last few minutes.
Ohio has a week off before it tries to move to .500 against Cincinnati in two weeks, while Northern Illinois visits Central Michigan Saturday.