Miami falls to Bowling Green 37-29
OXFORD, Ohio (WKRC) - It was a game that featured six lead changes and 1,117 yards of offense, but it was ultimately Bowling Green that came out on top, 37-29, over Miami on Family Weekend Saturday. The RedHawks fall to 2-4 overall and 1-1 in the Mid-American Conference. The Falcons improve to 1-5 overall and 1-1 in the MAC.
Miami recorded a season-high 612 yards of offense, recording season highs in both passing (374) and rushing (238) yards. Quarterback Gus Ragland finished 16-for-26 for 255 yards with two touchdowns and one interception. He was replaced by Billy Bahl in the third quarter after suffering an injury. Bahl finished the contest 8-for-17 for 119 yards.
The RedHawks drove down the field on their first possession, with Ragland hitting his first five passes for 53 yards and adding 12 on the ground to help them reach the nine-yard line. It appeared MU would punch it in, but an interception in the end zone ended that drive in its tracks. That interception was Gus' first against a MAC school, snapping a string of 173 passes against conference foes without a pick.
A 43-yard pass from James Morgan to Teo Redding flipped the field for Bowling Green as it reached plus territory. A 3rd-and-9 completion from Morgan to Janarvis Pough gained 13 yards and put BGSU in field goal range, where Jake Suder hit a 37-yard attempt to put it up 3-0 with 8:57 left in the first quarter.
After its first two plays of the ensuing drive combined for a loss of two years, the RedHawks' offense got on track in a big way as Ragland hit Kenny Young out of the backfield for 19 yards and then James Gardner for 24 yards to get into plus territory. Two plays later, Ragland went over the top and found a wide open Gardner for a 32-yard touchdown toss that put the Red and White on top 6-3.
After forcing a punt, the RedHawks used their ground game to travel 87 yards on 10 plays (nine rushes for 54 yards) to grab a 13-3 lead with 13:44 left in the quarter. Ragland capped the drive with an 11-yard touchdown rush.
The Falcons answered back with a 65-yard touchdown drive that took just four plays, capped by a 33-yard touchdown run by Josh Cleveland cut the lead to 13-10 with 12:04 remaining in the half.
After Miami's next drive stalled near midfield, Bowling Green moved into RedHawk territory looking to take the lead. After getting to the 36-yard line, Heath Harding made a tremendous individual play and intercepting Morgan's over the top pass at the five to start a new MU possession. That pick was Harding's 10th of his career, moving him into a tie for ninth in school history.
Bowling Green penalties allowed Miami to achieve three-straight first downs to begin its drive as it ultimately got to the Falcon 35-yard line, where it faced 4th-and-6. On that play, Ragland delayed and scrambled up the middle for 23 yards to put Miami in the red zone at the Bowling Green 13. That ultimately set up a 22-yard Samuel Sloman field goal that extended the lead to 16-10 late in the half.
The Falcons countered with a quick touchdown drive, getting to the two on a 30-yard rush on 3rd-and-10 by Cleveland before Morgan found Matt Wilcox Jr. for a touchdown pass to put them up 17-16. The Red and White answered back by moving into the 21-yard line of Bowling Green to set Sloman up for a 39-yard field goal that made them on top 19-17 at the half.
BGSU regained the lead on the first play from scrimmage of the second half as Morgan found Redding for a 75-yard touchdown pass that gave the Falcons a 24-19 lead with 14:50 left in the third quarter.
Miami countered right back on its next drive. After returning the kickoff back to its own 45, rushes from Young and Alonzo Smith advanced the ball to the Falcon 36 yard-line. At that point Ragland found Murphy for a catch at the 10-yard line. Murphy then evaded the tackle and went into the end zone to put the RedHawks back on top, 29-24 with 13:08 to go in the period.
Billy Bahl entered for an injured Ragland at the 4:28 mark of the third quarter. He proceeded to lead Miami on a nine-play, 45-yard drive that ended in a Sloman 45-yard field goal that increased the advantage to 29-24.
Bowling Green responded with an 8-play, 75-yard drive to begin the fourth quarter. Morgan found Redding for his second touchdown of the day, a 28-yard strike in the left corner of the end zone. The Falcons two-point conversion failed, so BGSU was in front 30-29 with 10:49 to go.
After the Falcons missed a 40-yard field goal with 3:29 to go, Bahl was able to drive Miami 70 yards all the way to the Falcons one. The key play came when Bahl found Luke Mayock for a one-handed grab at the Bowling Green 28. On the next play, Gardner caught one over the middle and was tackled at the Falcon one.
On first and goal from the one, a fumble on the snap resulted in the Falcons recovering and returning the ball 93 yards for the touchdown. Trailing 37-29 with 1:21 to go, Bahl was able to drive the RedHawks down to the Bowling Green 27, but an incomplete pass on fourth down gave the Falcons the win.
Gardner led Miami with five catches for 126 yards and one touchdown. Murphy had five catches for 89 yards and one touchdown. Young was the `Hawks leading rusher with 19 carries for 113 yards, while Ragland had 12 carries for 78 yards and one touchdown. Tony Reid led the Miami defense with 10 tackles.
The RedHawks return to action next Saturday when they travel to Kent State for a 3:30 p.m. kick.
Information provided by Miami Univ Athletics.