It’s one thing to win and another to win in the fashion that the Miami RedHawks (6-4, 5-1 MAC) did Wednesday night as they used a 27-point second quarter to fly past the Bowling Green Falcons (3-7, 2-4 MAC). With the win, Miami now has two ways it can clinch the MAC East title and punch its ticket to the MAC Championship game: it needs one Buffalo loss (the Bulls play Kent State, Toledo, and BG to finish the regular season) or one more win (the ‘Hawks host Akron before closing the season at Ball State).
It didn’t seem like it would be a rout at first during the contest as BG’s Brandon Perce hauled in an interception off of a deflected pass on the first play from scrimmage. However, Miami registered a pick of their own on fourth down as Mike Brown took it 79 yards for a RedHawk touchdown. After forcing a three-and-out, the ‘Hawks strung together a 12-play drive that got them a prime scoring opportunity but they settled for a Sam Sloman field goal to go up 10-0.
The Falcons got a measure of revenge on the ensuing drive as Bryson Denley showed some explosiveness on a 53-yard run. BG was able to get into the red zone but not much further as Miami forced the team to settle for a 26-yard field goal from Nate Needham. Momentum seemed to favor Bowling Green as it forced a Miami three-and-out and attempted another field goal, but Needham missed this one to the left.
Despite the stop, the RedHawks gave BG great field position off of a Karl Brooks strip-sack and recovery by Chris Oliver. Although the Falcons started the drive inside Miami’s 20-yard line, a three-and-out led to another missed field goal attempt, this time from Mason Lawler. The ‘Hawks used the momentum from the stop to string together a drive that was capped off with a 35-yard scoring strike from Brett Gabbert to Andrew Homer.
On the following drive, BG threw another interception, this time to Travion Banks, which set up some big time throws to Tyre Shelton and Jack Sorenson before Jaylon Bester finished the drive with a one-yard plunge over the top of the defense for a score. BG drove down to Miami’s 23-yard line on the next drive, but an incompletion on fourth down gave the ball back to the red-hot RedHawks.
The scoring avalanche continued as Gabbert hit Jalen Walker in stride for a 60-yard score and Bester made a 59-yard house call on the ground after the defense forced a three-and-out. Gabbert rounded out the scoring in the third quarter with a five-yard pass to Quentin Hardy to cap a five-play, 68-yard drive.
Miami was able to have success on the ground with 187 rushing yards, with Bester leading the way with 85 yards and two touchdowns. Meanwhile, Gabbert was effective as he went 9-15 for 225 yards, three scores, and one interception. The pass defense for the RedHawks was on point as it forced three interceptions and held BG to 90 passing yards. However, Denley rushed for 105 yards on 14 carries as the Falcons had some success on the ground.