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Sorenson catches four touchdown passes in win at Akron

<p>Ivan Pace made the Minnesota Vikings roster as an undrafted free agent</p>

Ivan Pace made the Minnesota Vikings roster as an undrafted free agent

On a day in which Jack Sorenson could do no wrong, Miami head coach Chuck Martin still found one critique in the redshirt senior wide receiver’s game.

“(Jack) made some really nice plays,” Martin said. “Probably would’ve had five (touchdown catches) if he didn’t drop that one. He lost one in the sun that late third quarter.”

Oh, well. Sorenson will have to settle for only four touchdown grabs, along with eight total catches and 177 receiving yards. 

His first touchdown catch came on Miami’s first drive of the game. Facing a third and five, the offense dialed up a screen to Sorenson. With help from blockers downfield, including senior offensive tackle Tommy Doyle, Sorenson caught the pass and took it the distance for a 61-yard touchdown.

His next touchdown came in the second quarter. Working with a short field, sophomore quarterback Brett Gabbert completed two passes to his tight ends, redshirt junior Adam Mehelic and redshirt freshman Jack Coldiron, to set the RedHawks up at Akron’s 29-yard line. The next play, Gabbert lofted a perfect deep ball to Sorenson in the end zone to give Miami a 17-0 lead.

On Akron’s next possession, Miami’s defense forced a three and out. After scrambling for a first down on two straight third-and-long situations, Gabbert threw another deep ball to Sorenson for a 28-yard touchdown, his third of the game. 

Miami went into halftime with a 24-0 lead.

Gabbert was making his first appearance since his injury against Ball State in the season opener. The sophomore was efficient, completing 18 of his 27 passes for 308 yards and four touchdowns, all to Sorenson.

“Our passing game was very good,” Martin said. “We threw the ball around, we got guys open and took advantage and got the ball to the open guys.”

Both teams struggled to score in the second half. 

Late in the third quarter, Akron redshirt freshman quarterback Zach Gibson threw a pass over the middle. Redshirt senior cornerback Emmanuel Rugamaba intercepted the pass and returned it 62 yards for a touchdown, putting the RedHawks up 31-0.

The pick-six was the cherry on top of the sundae for Miami’s defense, which was dominant all game long. The RedHawks allowed only 145 total yards of offense from the Zips, including just four rushing yards. 

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“We obviously shut down the (running back) in the first half and got after their quarterback, and that set the tone and that allowed us to basically get our offense going in the second quarter and produce some points,” Martin said.

Miami’s defense recorded six sacks, as the team’s secondary allowed pass rushers to pin their ears back and go after the quarterback. Junior defensive end Kameron Butler led the team with 2.5 sacks, while defensive backs Cecil Singleton and Matthew Salopek each sacked the quarterback once.

Sorenson’s last touchdown catch came on Miami’s first drive of the fourth quarter, as Gabbert connected with the redshirt senior receiver for a 15-yard touchdown pass. Sorenson was shaken up after the play and didn’t play the rest of the game.

“He caught the ball and the guy kinda clipped him from behind … so it kinda rolled up his ankle. So it did not look live, but we’ll see how he responds tomorrow,” Martin said.

Akron scored a fourth-quarter touchdown to avoid the shutout, as the final score was 38-7. 

With the win, the RedHawks improve to 2-1 and pick up the 700th win in program history, becoming the first Mid-American Conference (MAC) program to reach that mark.

Miami’s next game will be at home against the Kent State Golden Flashes on Dec. 5 at noon. The game will be televised on CBS Sports Network.