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Ball State Cardinals at Miami RedHawks: Miami knocks off Ball State to clinch bowl appearance

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Miami clinches bowl eligibility.

NCAA Football: Central Michigan at Miami (Ohio) Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

In a back and forth affair, where the Ball State Cardinals lead most of the way, the Miami RedHawks came back from a 10-point deficit to clinch their first bowl berth since the 2010 season, winning 21-20 in Oxford.

Miami’s victory means they achieve one of college football’s most remarkable comeback stories.

Just six weeks ago, Miami was 0-6 and trailing Kent State into the fourth quarter. However, after clawing back to win that game, Miami won all of their next five, becoming college football’s first ever team to start 0-6 and finish 6-6.

Ball State controlled the lead for most of Tuesday evening’s matchup. The Cardinals outscored the RedHawks 10-0 in the second quarter in order to take a 17-7 lead into the break.

However, it wouldn’t be long until Miami struck back. The RedHawks scored on the first play of the second half, as Miami quarterback Gus Ragland found Rokeem Williams for a 74-yard catch-and-run.

Ball State would add a field goal a bit more than five minutes later to pad their lead to six, 20-14.

The game’s deciding play was when Ragland found Sam Shisso for a 27-yard touchdown pass to nod the score at 20. The extra point by Nick Dowd delievered Miami the lead, and the win.

Ball State had chances offensively, and even once moved into RedHawk territory, but their efforts ended short of field goal range and Miami ran out the clock after getting the ball back on a punt with around 2:40 remaining in the contest.

There was some bright spots in the loss for Ball State, however.

Riley Neal was accurate at 22-34 for 188 and a touchdown, but the bigger story is that Kevonn Mabon’s six catches break Ball State’s all-time career receptions record.

For Miami, Ragland was electric through the air, going for 380 yards and three touchdows on 26-35 passing.

Ball State finishes their season at 4-8, while Miami lives on to play another day.