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Friday, December 01, 2023
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Miami of Ohio Pulls Out Last-second Miracle

Roethlisberger's 70-yard, Game Winning Strike Highlights This Week's ÔAround the MAC'

Miami (OH) 30, Akron 27

Miami quarterback Ben Roethlisberger hit receiver Eddie Tillitz with a 70-yard touchdown pass with no time remaining, scoring a last-second, come-from-behind-victory over the Akron Zips in front of a hometown crowd last weekend.

Miami began the game looking like they would need no last-minute heroics leaping out to a 17-3 lead early in the second quarter on a 47-yard touchdown run by running back Steve Little. Akron was unable to get their offense going early and the RedHawks went on to assume a 24-6 lead when Roethlisberger found Little for a 37-yard touchdown pass on the last play of the first half.

The tide turned when Akron flew out of the gates in the second half. The Zips tied the game by scoring 18 unanswered points, including two Charlie Frye touchdown passes to Matt Cherry, the second of which came with only 5:46 remaining in the fourth quarter.

Frye, who finished the game with 309 yards and two touchdowns, directed a last minute drive to put the Zips in FG range. It was then up to Akron kicker Zac Derr, who booted it through from 27 yards out to take a 27-24 lead with nine seconds remaining in the game. Roethlisberger struck once more as time expired, to claim victory for Miami.

Easily the game's best performer, Roethlisberger went 23 of 40 passing for 399 yards with three touchdowns and one interception. Little was the game's leading rusher, collecting 77 yards on 21 carries.

Ohio 34, Central Michigan 3

Ohio ran for 342 yards and Ray Huston scored twice as the Bobcats snapped a four-game losing streak by blowing out Central Michigan on Chippewa's home turf.

Stafford Owens opened scoring just five minutes into the game on a 19-yard touchdown run that put the Bobcats up 7-0. The lead soon inflated to a two-touchdown gap when Huston scored on a 56-yard scamper just before the end of the first quarter.

Central Michigan, down 14 points, decided to take to the air. It didn't work. Quarterback Derrick Vickers was unable to move the offense, mustering only 103 passing yards after 25 attempts.

It did not take long for Ohio to capitalize. They turned the game over to Huston, who led the Bobcat rushing charge with 124 yards on just 11 carries, including a 23-yard scoring run that helped put the game on ice early in the second half.

Ohio Quarterback Dontrell Jackson had an easy afternoon; throwing only eight passes all day.

Western Michigan 37, Bowling Green 28

Broncos Quarterback Jeff Welsh once again shined for Western Michigan as they withstood a relentless Bowling Green comeback to become just the second team to defeat the Falcons this season.

Western led at the half on the strength of two Welsh touchdown passes. Welsh threw a 45-yarder to Charles Woods to open the scoring, and an 18-yarder to Brandon Johnson to close out the half ahead 16-14.

Welsh struck again halfway through the third quarter with a 14-yard lob to Phillip Reed, giving Western Michigan a commanding 30-14 lead.

Then it was the Falcons' turn.

Backup quarterback Josh Harris came into the game and scored on a five yard touchdown run to give Bowling Green the boost they needed. When starter Andy Sahm returned to the field, he promptly followed his backup's lead by scoring on a 12-yard run, bringing the game to within two points with just less than six minutes to play.

That was all the magic that the Falcons could muster, though, as Western's Ron Rogers intercepted Sahm and returned it 40 yards for the game-securing touchdown.

Welsh, who has been a stellar player all year for the Broncos, finished the game 28-of-42 passing for 333 yards and three touchdowns, while the Falcons' passers were a combined 20 of 33 for 202 yards and three interceptions.

Ball State 35, Eastern Michigan 14

Ball State running back Marcus Merriweather was spectacular again for the Cardinals, as they handily defeated the Eastern Michigan Eagles last weekend to score their first MAC victory of the season.

Merriweather, who put the Cardinals up by 14 early on, may have been the only bright spot in a matchup that featured two quarterbacks almost totally unable to move their respective offenses. Eagles' signal-caller Kainoa Akina started off well, tossing two touchdown passes in the first quarter to tie the game at 14.

Kent State 44, Northern Illinois 34

David Alston's big-time rushing paced Kent State's offensive attack as they outlasted the Huskies of Northern Illinois to gain their second win of the season in front of a sparse home crowd of only 2,973 fans.

The Golden Flashes led 27-24 after a first half that featured both starting quarterbacks, Joshua Cribbs of Kent State and Chris Finlen of NIU, throwing and rushing for one touchdown apiece.

It was Finlen's squad, however, that seized the opportunity and opened a lead when Michael Turner scored from one yard out. The Huskies then tacked on a field goal to open up a 34-27 lead heading into the final quarter.

Kent State scored the final 17 points of the game, flying on the wings of Alston's second touchdown run, which tied the game early in the fourth. Alston ran for 141 yards on the day, carrying the ball only 16 times.

Cribbs went 12-21 passing for 196 yards and one touchdown, while rushing 24 times for 97 yards and one touchdown. Finlen was 19 of 36 through the air for 250 yards and one touchdown, along with a 38-yard scoring run.



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