To begin the game, Miami's defense looked impressive, forcing Ohio to punt on their first drive of the game. Then, the RedHawk offense proceeded to drive down and score on an Andrew Hendrix keeper. 7-0 Miami.
In the second quarter, Miami cornerback Quinten Rollins picked off a pass from Bobcat quarterback Derrius Vick and returned it 27 yards for a touchdown. 14-0.
Ohio is forced to punt again, and Hendrix rolled down the field, eventually completing a 13-yard touchdown pass to Dawan Scott. 21-0.
Miami's Andrew Hendrix threw for an impressive 3,062 yards and 22 touchdowns in his one and only season as a RedHawk. (Photo by Jeremy O'Brien)
At this point, the thought no longer was, "Is Miami about to beat Ohio?" It was now, "Is Miami about to blow out Ohio?" That certainly was the vibe at Yager Stadium in Oxford, Ohio. Then the comeback began.
Immediately following the RedHawks' third touchdown, Ohio kick returner Kylan Nelson returned the ensuing kickoff 84 yards to get the Bobcats on the board and seemingly grab the momentum.
"They were reeling and that definitely gave them life, their whole team." Said Miami head coach Chuck Martin, who finished his first season at the helm of the RedHawks 2-10. "Good teams don't give up a kick return up 21-0. That was a big play and all of a sudden it was a two-score game."
The half ended with the RedHawks leading 21-7. Miami received to begin the second half, and ended up punting. Ohio drove down to the Miami 7-yard line, and Vick threw an interception in the end zone to RedHawks cornerback Quinten Rollins. Miami did not have the ball for two minutes before they fumbled on a shovel pass that, unintentionally, went backwards and was recovered by Ohio's Kendric Smith. The Bobcats completed a 14-yard touchdown pass to a wide-open freshman running back A.J. Oullette to make it a 21-14 game. Ohio downed Miami within their own 10-yard line on a punt, and held them there, eventually forcing Hendrix to throw an interception to junior cornerback Brett Layton. The Bobcats later punched in a game-tying touchdown on a 5-yard pass from Vick to sophomore Jordan Reid. Vick threw 121 yards and 2 TDs.
With the clock under five minutes, Ohio kicker Josiah Yazdani missed a potential go-ahead 42-yard field goal wide left, giving the RedHawks the perfect opportunity to play spoiler to the Bobcats' hopes of extending their consecutive bowl appearances streak to eight. Even with the help of an incredible tipped catch by senior tight end Alex Welch (video here), however, the RedHawks could not get in field goal range and gave the ball up after less than a minute with it.
The Bobcat defense did a good job of adjusting in the game. In the first half, Miami drove all over Ohio's zone coverage. In the second half, however, they switched to man defense. This allowed them to pressure Hendrix and force him to rush his passes. The Bobcats brought Hendrix down behind the line of scrimmage four times.
"Andrew got jittery at times," Martin said. "Early on he was rolling, but he was comfortable in the pocket then. Then we didn't protect and when a quarterback has been hit a lot of times, they start to get a little jittery."
The Bobcats, aided by a 38-yard pass to freshman wide receiver Brendan Cope, rallied down the field and gave Yazdani the opportunity to redeem himself with a 28-yard field goal. Yazdani did just that, and Ohio left Miami with a 24-21 comeback victory in the historic Battle of the Bricks.
The win now makes Ohio bowl-eligible. The win also gives Ohio their second straight win over Miami, and the eighth in the last nine meetings between the two schools.
(Photo by Jeremy O'Brien)