Miami football falls to rival Cincinnati 27-20
By Coburn Gillies, Assistant Sports Editor
The Victory Bell will ring in Cincinnati for the 11th straight year, as the Miami University football team dropped its fourth consecutive game to start off the season. The RedHawks fell 27-20 on the road against the University of Cincinnati (3-1) in the 121st meeting between the programs.
Once again this season, Miami kept it close, holding the lead entering the fourth quarter. Yet, UC was able to storm back with 10 fourth-quarter points, courtesy of a field goal by senior Josh Pasley and a two-yard rush by senior running back Tion Green, to seal the victory.
Despite coming up short Saturday at Nippert Stadium, Miami head coach Chuck Martin believes that the scoreline proves that the 'Hawks can hang around against a nationally competitive team like the Bearcats.
"I really felt like physically we could go toe-to-toe with Cincinnati. Not just at a couple of positions but across the board. I know they're really, really gifted athletically," Martin said.
Miami's defense carried the load for much of the game, forcing three turnovers and keeping the score close despite UC's major advantage in time of possession.
The disparity in time of possession between the two programs influenced the flow of the game, as the Bearcats had the ball 13 minutes longer than Miami, 36:29 to 23:21. Additionally, UC doubled Miami's first down output of 14 with 28 first downs of its own.
"I'm proud of a lot of our guys. They stepped up. We had a bunch of guys leave the game again. We were down to 3's at some positions. We had some kids who started the year on scout team and they were forced into duty," Martin said.
Sophomore starting quarterback Billy Bahl continued his recent success, completing 13 of 24 passes for 248 yards with two touchdowns and one interception.
One of Bahl's six-point connections was to sophomore wide receiver James Gardner. This was Gardner's fifth touchdown of the season, four more than the closest RedHawk pass catcher.
Defensively, Miami was paced by sophomore linebacker Junior McMullen with 14. Sophomore linebacker Brad Koenig chipped in as well with his first career interception.
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The 'Hawks defense, while keeping the high octane Bearcats offense mostly in check, had several miscues in the tackling aspect of the game.
"Most of the tackles on the perimeter we gotta take better angles. A lot of those were poor angles on the football and they weren't so much missed tackles as much as they were poor angles," Martin said.
UC was led offensively by running back Tion Green who rushed for 83 yards, including one 19-yard touchdown. On defense, sophomore safety Malik Clements led the Bearcats with nine tackles.
UC's 11-game streak is the longest such run by either program. Miami last beat the Bearcats in 2005, but still leads the series, 59-55-7.
This week, Miami will play host to the Ohio University Bobcats in another rivalry game. The RedHawks kick off their Mid-American Conference season 2:30 p.m. Saturday in Yager Stadium.