Thursday, November 11, 2010

O'Rourke loving life after transfer

Transferring isn’t always easy.

For former Lorain County Golden Helmet Award winner Ryan O’Rourke, he made it look just that.

After playing in six games as a true freshman at Slippery Rock (Division II) last season, he transferred to Baldwin-Wallace (D-III) and has excelled beyond expectations through nine games this year.

On the season, the Yellow Jackets boast a 7-2 record, after going 3-7 last season. O’Rourke, an Avon graduate, has started all nine games and completed 102 of 187 passes for 1,352 yards, including 15 touchdowns. His quarterback efficiency is 132.12.

"I knew I had to prove myself, coming down from D-II to D-III," O’Rourke said. "I had a lot of preparation coming into the season. I just let that do the talking. We’ve had a good season so far, but we’ve let two slip away."

Despite playing six games, including two starts last year at Slippery Rock, O’Rourke says he feels more comfortable at B-W.

"Obviously, the offenses are different," said O’Rourke, who completed 23 of 51 passes for 324 yards, including two TDs at Slippery Rock. "It’s a lot more fun and suitable here for me. Nothing against Slippery Rock or anything, but I love my teammates here and I can’t wait to keep playing with these guys two more years."

The Yellow Jackets have only two losses this season. Beside a 41-21 loss to Ohio Northern four weeks ago, B-W’s only other loss came against the nation’s second-ranked team in Division III Mount Union, 41-13 last Saturday. B-W gave it all it could against the Purple Raiders, even being tied 13-13 after one quarter and being down just 20-13 at halftime, but Mount Union scored 28 unanswered points to put the game and Ohio Athletic Conference title away.

"We knew we had a good chance and felt we could compete against them," O’Rourke said. "The intensity was there in the first half, but we let it slip in the second. They had some long drives and we had some turnovers. That’s not a good mix."

O’Rourke completed 12 of 22 passes for 166 yards with a TD but was picked off three times.

"They chose to tighten up a little and send more pressure," O’Rourke said. "I knew I was going to take some shots, but I just had to stand in there and deliver some throws.

"It’s frustrating because we were in it really until early in the fourth quarter. We’re a young offense. We let some mistakes get the better of us. We can’t let that happen."

O’Rourke is pleased with his first season at B-W and looks forward to playing two more years.

Earlier this season, O’Rourke was chosen the Ohio Athletic Conference Offensive Player of the Week as he shined in his very first game with B-W. He completed 9 of 13 passes for 154 yards and threw three touchdowns in a 38-14 win over Wooster. He threw TD passes of 40-, 59-, and 19-yards.

He then topped that performance on Oct. 23 against Wilmington College when he threw four touchdown passes in a 38-0 win over the Quakers. He completed 19 of 26 passes for 259 yards, including the four scores.

O’Rourke broke almost every passing record at Avon and set Lorain County records for touchdowns in a season and a career, until this year when Elyria Catholic’s Danny Reaser broke it. His senior season, he threw for 2,374 yards and 33 touchdowns and led Avon to a 12-1 season, which included two playoff wins before losing its only game to Sunbury Big Walnut in the D-III regional final. He also received the Lorain County Golden Helmet Award, All-Ohio First Team and All-District Offensive Player of the Year, among other accolades.

Baldwin-Wallace will improve last year’s win total by five games if they defeat John Carroll at Don Shula Stadium on Saturday at 1:30 p.m.

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