Redhawks Blow Through Herd for East Division Crown
Battling the weather and recent history, Miami dominated every phase of their game with Marshall to snatch the MAC East division away from their rivals. The scoreboard read 45-6 when the clock hit triple zeros, but even Marshall's coach admitted that the game wasn't even that close. "It could have been worse than what it was," Marshall coach Bob Pruett stated. "That was a good butt kicking…they whipped us". With the win, Miami is guaranteed a spot in the MAC championship game to be played December 4th. Miami hasn't won a MAC title since 1976. Miami's quarterback, Ben Roethlisberger, threw darts through 25 mph winds to the tune of 282 yards and 2 TD's, while the defense held a flat Marshall team to 239 total yards while forcing 5 turnovers. Passing was not the only item on the menu that the Redhawks fed to the Herd, but a steady diet of Run n' Fun with Cal Murray and Mike Smith that provided a balanced attack that kept Marshall's defense, well, off-balance all night. Murray ran for 108 yards and 2 TD's, while Smith added a touchdown and 80 yards on 11 carries. The series between Miami and Marshall has been one of high emotions and highlighted by the Herd's recent dominance of the Redhawks and the East division. Marshall had one the last five match-ups and had taken the East division crown the last six. But this Miami team is different and one just knew the outcome of this game was going to be different. If the casual observer was not convinced of this, then two key plays of Miami's first scoring drive were clear evidence that a new sheriff was in town. Inside of Marshall territory and on fourth and 13, Miami's QB, described by his critics as immobile not only scrambled but juked Marshall's defense for a hard earned first down. Later in that same drive, Roethlisberger completed a pass to his tight end, Matt Brandt, who was and knocked back at Marshall's 6 yard line, but refused to go down. He then rumbled through the Herd secondary for Miami's first score. There was plenty of game to be played yet, but the game's outcome was really already determined. On defense, Miami overmatched Marshall's O-line to fluster the Herd's QB, Gochneur, and bottle up the run. Marshall, who was languishing at 115th nationally in turnover margin going into the game, gave up the pigskin on five different occasions, including two special teams fumble and a 43-yard interception return for a TD by Terna Nande, the MAC East's defensive player of the week for last week's effort against Bowling Green. Up next for Miami, the rival Bobcats of OU to be played on November 22nd. It's another step toward the MAC crown and national respect.
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