The Miami RedHawks last beat the Ohio Bobcats in 2012 when Ohio went to Yager Stadium as the No. 23 team in the nation and lost 23-20.
Wednesday night, Ohio went to Yager Stadium and saw its five-game winning streak over the RedHawks end with a 30-28 defeat. Most importantly, the loss likely scratched Ohio’s chance of reaching the Mid-American Conference Championship Game.
Miami tied the game at 7-7 in the first quarter, but broke down the Bobcats in the second quarter. Miami scored three touchdowns in the second quarter and led 28-7 at halftime.
After Ohio mustered negative yards and punted on a drive, the RedHawks scored on a 12-yard pass from Gus Ragland to Luke Mayock to take a 21-7 lead. Ohio was putting together a promising response until receiver Isiah Cox fumbled a pass completion in Miami territory. The RedHawks scored five plays later for the 28-7 lead.
The Bobcats took advantage of chances early in the second half. After intercepting Ragland, Ohio drove down the field and finally scored with a nine-yard pass from Nathan Rourke to Papi White to cut the lead to 28-14. After forcing another Miami punt, Ohio seemed in the driver’s seat for another score.
Redshirt senior running back A.J. Ouellette began the fourth quarter with a three-yard rush to Miami’s 11-yard line. Instead of going again to Ouellette who had rushed for 60 yards on three plays of the drive, Ohio tried to pass again to White. Both passes were incomplete, and the attempted field goal was missed by Louie Zervos.
Ohio surrendered a golden chance for points, but promptly regained the momentum. Miami’s punt on the next drive got blocked, and Ohio’s Dylan Conner picked up the ball and scored to cut Miami’s lead to 28-21.
When the Bobcats forced another Miami punt on the next drive, it should have been the ultimate momentum starter. Instead, it triggered the final decline that cost Ohio the game.
Instead of fielding the punt, the Ohio returner let it bounce and the ball rolled out of bounds at Ohio’s one-yard line. Three plays later, Rourke stepped out of bounds trying to avoid a sack, but causing a safety and a 30-21 Miami lead.
The Bobcats had one more chance at the end of the game after scoring another touchdown for a 30-28 score. Ohio had just 30 second to go 89 yards and score, but it did not happen. The final play was a Hail Mary by backup Quinton Maxwell that sailed out of bounds with no chance at an Ohio reception.
Rourke had a hot-and-cold game, but improved in the second half and finished his night, going 16 for 27 passing for 163 yards and two touchdowns. Ouellette had a career-high 168 rushing yards, but did not score.
Miami (4-6, 4-2 MAC) kept its hope at a Bowl Game alive with the win and will need to win out to be in good shape for a bid. The RedHawks visit Northern Illinois on Wednesday.
Ohio (6-4, 4-2 MAC) now looks even further up at Buffalo in the MAC East Division standings. Buffalo comes to Athens on Wednesday, but regardless of the outcome of that game, the Bulls will win the division with a win in their finale against one-win Bowling Green.