ATHENS, OHIO – Maybe now they won’t question his size.
Maybe now they won’t question his speed.
Maybe now they won’t question the size of the school where he played his high school football.
Maybe now they won’t question A.J. Ouellette.
After being snubbed by every Division I school around, A.J. Ouellette answered every question regarding the type of football player he is in emphatic fashion on Saturday as he rushed for 130 yards on 27 carries, scored two touchdowns and caught two passes for 39 yards in leading Ohio University to a 36-24 win over Idaho.
This, after coming into the season opener in the final drive of the game to set the Bobcats up in position for a game-winning field goal.
This, after only receiving one carry against Kentucky and then leading the Bobcats in rushing against Marshall with four carries for 37 yards in a losing effort.
This, after still standing on the sideline as the starters took the field against Idaho.
But, the one break Ouellette received came at the expense of another player as the starting Bobcat running back fumbled on the opening possession.
A.J. entered the lineup on the next possession and immediately broke loose for 42 yards around right end. A 12-yard run by Ouellette followed to set up the Bobcats’ first score of the game on a Darrius Vick pass to Sebastia Smith.
From there Ouellette never came off the field on offense until he lost his helmet on a run in the fourth quarter.
By then he had made believers of everyone in the stadium by scoring his first touchdown of his collegiate career on a one-yard run and sparking several other scoring drives with hard-nosed running into the heart of the Idaho defense.
And for those who may still have had doubts, Ouellette re-entered the game after two plays and capped the evening with a game-sealing three-yard run on what was originally suppose to be a halfback pass. As Ouellette rolled to his right, the intended receiver was covered and the true freshman immediately pulled the ball down and plowed his way through the Idaho defense for the touchdown.
“I thought he had an excellent game,” said Ohio University coach Frank Solich in his post-game interview. “I thought he gave us big plays on the ground when they were needed. He’s that kind of a player. He will get you the tough yards, but he’s able to get you explosive plays also.”
Ouellette, who was playing in front of a near sold-out crowd, including approximately 40 supporters from Covington who made the three hour trek to Athens, was blown away by his opportunity to shine of the big stage.
“It was just amazing,” he said. “I don’t know how to put words to it, but it was probably the best feeling ever, looking up and seeing everybody there cheering for us. I have to thank them for coming out and supporting us.”
After his big night Ouellette took time to greet his supporters from Covington and granted autographs for several fans who asked.
He also took time to call his mentor Dave Miller, his old high school football coach.
“That was pretty emotional,” he said after talking to Coach Miller on the phone. “I love coach.”
Because Coach Miller and everyone else who witnessed Ouellette’s abilities at Covington always believed he was special.
Now everyone else is witnessing what we already knew.
The questions are answered!