The Miami RedHawks did whatever they wanted to on offense as they racked up over 500 yards on their way to a 31-6 blowout of the Kent State Golden Flashes at home. Kenny Young led the way on the ground with 90 rushing yards and a touchdown, as Gus Ragland had himself a day as he went 16-24 for 209 yards and a passing score with 22 yards and a TD on the ground. Woody Barrett carried KSU’s offense with 149 passing yards, 75 yards, and a rushing score in the closing seconds of the game, but five sacks and an interception doomed the Flashes on offense.
To start the game, Miami moved the ball well on a nice 10-play drive that ended with s screen pass to Jack Sorenson that only netted 4-yards. Kent State returned the favor with an extended drive of their own, powered by a 22-yard run by Justin Rankin, but the Flashes elected for a pooch punt on fourth-and-two on Miami’s 42-yard line. Despite being backed up, Alonzo Smith ripped off a 31-yard gain up the gut before the RedHawks were forced to punt. KSU gained 40 yards on the ensuing drive but once again chose to punt from Miami’s 42-yard line on fourth-and-four.
The ‘Hawks busted off some big plays on the following drive as Smith led things off with a 10 yard run as Ragland hit Sorenson for 27 yards on the very next play. A 26-yard scamper by Young on third-and-two put Miami in a first-and-goal situation on the six-yard line. A couple of plays later, Ragland plowed ahead for the first score of the game.
The next drive for the Flashes, Barrett put the team on his back on third-and-11 as he scrambled for 45 yards but a missed 43-yard field goal kept the score at 7-0. Miami jumpstarted the ensuing drive with a 24-yard pass to Luke Mayock and had the drive extended on fourth down following a KSU pass interference call. The very next play, Ragland hit Young in the seam for a 27-yard gain down to the Flashes’ three-yard line. Two plays later, Young found paydirt from the two-yard line on a direct snap to make the score 14-0.
Miami’s defense forced a three-and-out on the next possession, but a muffed punt by Sorenson gave Kent State another shot on offense. Another three-and-out forced by the RedHawks led to a punt, but the muff drastically affected field position for the offense. Again, Miami had success with big plays on its next drive as Ragland found Nate Becker over the middle for a 21-yard gain to begin the drive. Back-to-back runs of 27 and 11 yards by Young put the ball at KSU’s 23-yard line and Maurice Thomas got some tough yards on fourth-and-one to keep the drive alive. On third-and-goal from the two-yard line, Ragland found Mayock for the third touchdown of the second half for the ‘Hawks and a short-lived Kent State drive led to halftime.
The Flashes kicked off the second half with a three-and-out while freshman Davion Johnson and sophomore Jaylon Bester made a name for themselves on the ensuing drive with Johnson ripping off a 44-yard run and Bester earning his first career touchdown with a three-yard burst.
KSU finally mustered an impressive drive with Barrett accounting for 53 yards before Miami’s Sterling Weatherford snagged his first career interception to put a halt to the scoring threat.
Bester again made his presence felt on the ensuing drive with a 22-yard run up the middle as Ragland hit Homer on a 27-yard pass two plays later. The drive eventually stalled in plus-territory and Sam Sloman drilled a 42-yard field goal to push Miami’s lead to 31-0. Yet another three-and-out for the Flashes gave the ball to the RedHawks at KSU’s 40-yard line but KSU’s defense rose up to the challenge and held Miami to a 40-yard field goal attempt, which Sloman missed.
Kent State opened up the fourth quarter with another three-and-out and the RedHawks punted as well on the next drive after consuming over six minutes of play. The second unit for Miami managed to force another KSU punt as the ‘Hawks chewed some clock before punting the ball once more with a little over a minute left in the game. KSU kept their starters in on offense and eventually found paydirt on a Barrett run after a targeting foul and a foul and a dead-ball foul on Miami’s bench.