The Miami RedHawks, who hadn’t scored a touchdown in their last two games, found the Bowling Green defense to their liking as they downed the host Falcons, 38-23 in the opener of Mid-American Conference play for both teams on Saturday afternoon.
To no one’s surprise, the RedHawks attacked the Falcons defense primarily on the ground, gaining 289 yards rushing on 52 attempts for the game. Bowling Green came in having give up the most yards rushing in FBS, allowing an average of 348 yards per game and ranking dead last out of 129 teams.
It didn’t take the RedHawks long to score on their opening drive of the game. Running back Maurice Thomas went around the left side untouched for a 30-yard touchdown to make the score 7-0 with barely four minutes gone in the game.
After the two teams traded field goals to make the score 10-3, Miami scored two touchdowns in the final five minutes of the first half to take a 24-3 lead at the intermission. Gus Ragland scored on a quarterback draw from a yard out, and he then found Andrew Homer on a six-yard touchdown pass. The RedHawks were firmly in control at the break.
Bowling Green got a couple late fourth quarter touchdowns on Jarett Doege touchdown passes to RB Marlow II (6 yards) and Quintin Morris (7yards), and a 40-yard touchdown from back-up Grant Loy to Justin Sawmiller to make the score respectable, but the Redhawks defense was in control throughout the game. The RedHawks sacked Doege five times in the game.
For the game, Miami was led in rushing by Alonzo Smith who had 164 yards on 19 attempts. The RedHawks also got 40 yards rushing from Ragland and 50 yards from Thomas. Ragland had a modest day through the air because he the rushing game was so effective. He finished 10 for 15 and 119 yards and two touchdowns.
The Falcons offense seemed to be out of sync most of the day and when they did put a drive together they could never finish, shooting themselves in the foot on the Miami side of the field for most of the first half. Doege finished 30 for 45 and 237 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions. The Falcons were led on the ground by Rico Frye, who had 39 yards on six attempts.
Miami improves to 1-3 on the year and goes to 1-0 in MAC play, while the Falcons drop to 1-3 and 0-1 in the MAC. Miami returns home next Saturday to face the Western Michigan Broncos, while Bowling Green travels to Georgia Tech to face the Yellow Jackets.