Canadian QB Kurtis Rourke to start season-opener for Ohio Bobcats following ACL recovery: report

Photo: AP/Emilee Chinn

Canadian quarterback Kurtis Rourke will start for the Ohio Bobcats in their season opener this weekend, returning from a season-ending knee injury he suffered late last year, according to ESPN reporter Pete Thamel.

The six-foot-four, 216-pound passer tore his ACL in a 32-18 victory over Ball State on Nov. 15, 2022, which ended his breakout season. He completed 69.1 percent of his passes for 3,257 yards, 25 touchdowns, and four interceptions over 11 games in 2022 along with 245 rushing yards and four rushing touchdowns. He was named the Most Valuable Player and the Offensive Player of the Year in the Mid-American Conference (MAC).

The native of Oakville, Ont. is the younger brother of Nathan Rourke, who is currently a member of the Jacksonville Jaguars after rising to prominence with the B.C. Lions in 2022. Nathan has played well through two preseason games with the Jaguars, completing 19-of-29 pass attempts for 274 yards and one touchdown. He has also carried the ball 12 times for 34 yards and one rushing touchdown.

Kurtis redshirted at Ohio in 2019, which was Nathan’s final year with the Bobcats. He shared time as the starter in 2020 and 2021, throwing for 2,187 yards, 14 touchdowns, and seven interceptions. He also ran 89 times for 382 yards and three touchdowns over those two seasons.

Ohio went 10-4 last year, marking their first 10-win season since 2011. The Bobcats won the Arizona Bowl in a 30-27 win over Wyoming with CJ Harris, Rourke’s replacement under centre, being named the game’s Most Valuable Player.

Due to pandemic exemption rules, Kurtis has up to two more years of college eligibility remaining following this season. As such, he will be a member of the 2024 CFL Draft class or 2025 CFL Draft class.

The Bobcats are scheduled to open their season against San Diego State on Saturday, Aug. 26.