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Defense, Special Teams Secure Ohio's Sixth Victory

OHIOBOBCATS.COM Ohio's Joshua Abrams
OHIOBOBCATS.COM
Ohio's Joshua Abrams
OHIOBOBCATS.COM

Nov. 24, 2007

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ATHENS, Ohio - The Ohio defense made sure the seniors had a memorable final game.

 

The Bobcats intercepted Miami quarterback Daniel Raudabaugh twice in the third quarter and Ohio converted the turnovers into 14 quick points as the Bobcats picked up a 38-29 win over the RedHawks Saturday afternoon at Peden Stadium.

 

Senior Brad Bower (Burr Ridge, Ill.), who relieved Theo Scott (Long Beach, Calif.) at quarterback in the second half, scored on a two-yard dive after the first interception and senior running back Kalvin McRae (Decatur, Ga.) punched in the second score on a one-yard plunge.

 

McRae finished the game with the 21st 100-yard rushing game of his career and 112 yards on 24 carries with one touchdown. Bower completed 4-of-10 passes for 77 yards and a score to tight end Andrew Mooney (Lubbock, Texas), who had two touchdown receptions for a school-record nine receiving touchdowns on the season.

 

Scott threw for 41 yards on 5-of-8 passing and one touchdown, also to Mooney.

 

Despite being outgained 379-199 in total yards and the RedHawks holding nearly a 12 minute advantage in time of possession, the Bobcats used turnovers and a 93-yard kickoff return for touchdown by Joshua Abrams (Dunwoody, Ga.) to secure their sixth win of the season, which pushed their record to 6-6 on the year and 4-4 in league play.

 

Miami's loss snapped a two-game winning streak but the RedHawks (6-6, 5-2 MAC) will still play Central Michigan in the MAC Championship at Ford Field in Detroit, Mich.

 

The first two possessions of the game for each team were mirror images as the defenses forced punts on the opening drives and the offenses were able to reach paydirt on their second tries.

 

The visiting RedHawks broke the ice as they put together a 10-play, 77-yard drive that was capped off by a Thomas Merriweather one-yard dive with 6:43 remaining in the first quarter.

 

The Bobcats were able to provide an immediate answer, however. Scott engineered a six-play, 66-yard scoring drive in just 1:51 of game clock and concluded with a two-yard scoring pass to Mooney with 4:47 left in the opening period.

 

Miami was able to regain the lead at 14-7 in the second quarter on a three-yard pass from Raudabaugh to Chris Givens at 9:18 on a drive that was aided by five Bobcat penalties during the 11-play possession.

 

The RedHawks were able to tack on a field goal by Nathan Parseghian as time expired in the second quarter to cap a 7-play, 31-yard drive and take a 17-7 lead into the locker room.

 

At the break, Miami held a 196-66 advantage in total offense and had the ball 11 more minutes than the Bobcats.

 

The game took a dramatic turn in the opposite direction in the third quarter, however.  The Bobcats scored touchdowns on each of their first three possessions and had turned a 10-point deficit into an 11-point advantage within six minutes.

 

With Bower at the helm of the Bobcat offense to start the third quarter, Ohio promptly marched the ball 63 yards on nine plays and capped off the drive with a two-yard run by Bower at 11:53. 

 

On the first play of the ensuing Miami possession, Ohio's Taj Henley (Richmond, Va.) intercepted Raudabaugh on the RedHawk 19 yard line.  The Bobcats needed five plays to reach the endzone and take the lead for the first time in the game at 21-17 as McRae worked his way across the goal line from one yard out with 9:51 remaining in the third.

 

The Bobcat defense then struck quickly again and ended Miami's second possession of the half ended on its second play.  Michael Brown (Cincinnati, Ohio) picked off Raudabaugh and returned it six yards to the RedHawk 32 yard line.  A face mask penalty on the return gave Ohio starting position at the 17, and Bower needed just one play to reach the endzone as he connected with Mooney to put the Bobcats up 28-17 with 8:58 on the clock in the quarter.

 

The RedHawks were able to break Ohio's run with Parseghian's second field goal of the game on their third drive of half to draw within one score at 28-20 with 4:46 left in the third.  Parseghian then booted his third field goal of the game on Miami's next possession - which was kept alive by a 24-yard pass on fake punt - to cut the Ohio lead to 28-23 with 12:44 remaining in the game.

 

Parseghian's run of success extended in Miami's next two possessions as well as he sandwiched his fourth and fifth field goals of the game around an Ohio score.  Parseghian's fourth of the contest was good from 41 yards out with 7:23 left, but Abrams returned the ensuing kick-off 93 yards for an Ohio score and a 35-26 lead.  The Miami kicker then tied a school record with his fifth of the game - this one from 20 yards out - to make it 35-29 with 5:23 remaining.

 

Michael Braunstein (Gilbert, Ariz.) connected from 40 yards out to push Ohio's lead back to nine at 38-29 and then it was the Ohio defense's turn to seal the game.

 

On a first-and-10 for the RedHawks, nose tackle Brett Sykes (Eastlake, Ohio) sacked Raudabaugh for a 10-yard loss and the Miami offense could not make up the difference and were stopped on fourth and long to give Ohio its sixth win of the season to finish at .500.