‘He’s upset with us’: Ohio University plays it ‘safe’ with injury to Canadian QB Kurtis Rourke

Photo courtesy: Midge Mazur | Ohio Athletics

Canadian quarterback Kurtis Rourke suffered a lower-body injury late in the first quarter of Ohio University’s opening game of the 2023 NCAA season.

Rourke did not return as the Bobcats’ coaching staff decided to keep him on the sideline.

“He’s upset with us and wanted to play. We’re just playing it safe and taking it a day at a time,” head coach Tim Albin said post-game.

“Kurtis wanted to go back in. We’re going to go back to Athens and get him checked out a little bit closer, an X-ray maybe, but I’m not too concerned about it at this time.”

The six-foot-four, 216-pound QB suffered a season-ending knee injury last year, tearing his ACL in a 32-18 victory over Ball State on Nov. 15, 2022, which ended his breakout season. He was replaced by CJ Harris on Saturday after completing 8-of-10 passes for 75 yards, but the concern was not with his leg.

“I don’t think so but Kurtis had a little limp. If we have to get an X-ray, it will not be on the leg, especially the one that he had surgery on, I know that,” Albin said.

Last season, Rourke completed 69.1 percent of his passes for 3,257 yards with 25 touchdowns and four interceptions over 11 games along with 245 rushing yards and four touchdowns on the ground. He was named the Most Valuable Player and the Offensive Player of the Year in the Mid-American Conference.

The Oakville, Ont. native 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 three preseason games with the Jaguars, completing 23-of-35 pass attempts for 348 yards with one touchdown and no interceptions. He has also carried the ball 14 times for 39 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 with 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 Harris, Rourke’s replacement under centre, named the game’s Most Valuable Player.

Kurtis has up to two more years of NCAA eligibility remaining following this season, although he could declare early for the NFL and CFL Drafts.

Justin Dunk is a football insider, sports reporter and anchor.