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Miami snaps streak with crazy comeback

Photo by Lauren Olson, Photography Editor
Photo by Lauren Olson, Photography Editor

Miami University scored 28 unanswered and stopped the University of Massachusetts at the two-yard line to complete a 27-point comeback and snap a school-record 21-game losing streak.

"It felt like we won the dang national championship, that's what it felt like," head coach Chuck Martin said. "I've been there, I know what that feels like, and it didn't feel any different."

The RedHawks (1-5, 1-1 Mid-American Conference) were down 41-14 to UMass (0-5, 0-2 MAC) with two minutes left in the first half, but the defense didn't allow a single point after that.

"To come back from 41-14 to break a two-year losing streak, that's a pretty amazing thing I witnessed today," Martin said. "I'm really, really proud of everybody."

UMass had a chance late, getting the ball all the way down to six-yard line with three seconds left. But, rather than spike the ball and send out the field goal unit for the potential game-winner, UMass ran a play.

"Our defensive coaches were calling out the play," Martin said. They were calling out 'bubble-double slant.' Our defensive coaches knew what UMass was doing."

Junior linebacker Joe Donlan was ready for the play and forced UMass sophomore running back Shadrack Abrokwah out of bounds at the two-yard line as time expired.

The few students that stayed for the whole game then rushed the field, just like they did in Miami's last victory, an upset win over undefeated and ranked rival Ohio University.

"At first it was kind of disbelief because it's been so long since we've gotten a win," junior linebacker Kent Kern said. "I just stood there speechless for a couple of seconds and then it kicked in 'We won.' It was a great feeling and then the celebration began."

For players like sophomore safety Heath Harding, it was the first win while wearing red and white.

Quarterback Andrew Hendrix did it all for Miami, picking up 91 yards and a TD on 13 carries, completing 32 for 58 passes for 437 yards and four touchdowns. Hendrix provided 528 of Miami's 557 total yards. Not surprisingly, he won the MAC East Player of the Week.

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"That's why I came here, to experience what we just experienced out there," Hendrix said. "The fans rushing the field, the team enjoying the victory. I'm walking up to guys and they are crying because they are so happy to have won a game and to sing the Miami fight song."

Hendrix is also the clubhouse leader for ESPN's Capital One Cup Impact Performance of the Week.

All four touchdown passes went to freshman wide receiver Sam Martin, who caught eight balls for 111 yards. The four scores tied Miami's all-time record for touchdown catches in a single game. Martin entered the game with just three catches for 30 yards.

The Minutemen started the game by scoring 14 points before Miami got on the scoreboard, courtesy of 30-yard touchdown pass from Hendrix to Martin. However, UMass responded with a kickoff return for a touchdown.

Hendrix found Martin for their second touchdown of the game to trim the lead to 21-14. But UMass reeled off 20 unanswered, including an easy score following a fumbled kickoff by Miami. The Minutemen also put together a 99-yard drive after they stopped the 'Hawks at the one-yard line. However, UMass missed the extra point to keep the score at 41-14.

"Worst nine minutes of football I've ever been a part of," Martin said.

Miami scored with 46 seconds left in the half thanks to Martin's third touchdown catch of the game.

On their first drive of the second half, the 'Hawks turned the ball over on downs at the four-yard line. However, they forced a three-and-out and cut the lead to 41-28 on a three-yard rushing touchdown by redshirt freshman wide out Jared Murphy.

Redshirt sophomore cornerback Marshall Taylor picked off UMass junior QB Blake Fronaphel, setting up Martin's fourth touchdown catch of the game with 6:16 left to cut the lead to 41-35.

On UMass' next drive, redshirt junior linebacker Tre Clifton forced a fumble that was recovered by senior safety Jarrell Jones.

Hendrix then plunged in from a yard out with 2:58 remaining to give Miami its first lead of the game.

"There was no way we were not going to score," Hendrix said. "I can assure you of that."

Harding picked off Fronaphel on UMass' next drive, allowing Miami to kill more clock.

UMass got the ball back with 1:13 left, marched all the way to six-yard line, but came up short.

With the victory, the RedHawks hand ownership of the longest active FBS losing streak to the Minutemen.

"I thought we were gonna win one, I didn't think it was gonna be that hard," Martin said. "… I've never been a part of a comeback like that."