Football falls to Miami 31-14 in MAC opener
It was 93 degrees at Kelly/Shorts Stadium, but the Miami RedHawks brought the heat on Saturday.
Miami quarterback Gus Ragland led the RedHawks to a 31-14 victory in Saturday's Mid-American Conference opener. Ragland beat the Chippewas' secondary with his arm as he threw for 217 yards and two touchdowns.
Shane Morris completed 15-of-33 passes for 195 yards and a touchdown. The CMU quarterback threw a red zone interception in the third quarter, dooming any momentum the Chippewas had.
Morris had two interceptions on the afternoon and was replaced by redshirt freshman Tony Poljan twice in the second half.
"Overall, Shane played a solid game," head coach John Bonamego said. "He had a couple nice decisions where he took the ball down and ran it. We probably didn't have as many drops as we did a week ago, but we got to help (Morris) out. We got to catch the ball."
The Chippewas were penalized six times for 80 yards. Two of those penalties cost CMU game-changing plays.
Trailing by two touchdowns, senior corner back Amari Coleman intercepted a missed field goal attempt by Miami and returned it for 100 yards for a touchdown. The interception was negated by a roughing-the-passer call on defensive end Joe Ostman. Miami scored two plays later, pulling away with a 28-7 lead.
"I took seven points off the board for our team," Ostman said. "Amari made a great play. (It's) probably one of the best plays you'll see all year. The penalty was on me. There's no excuses. (Miami) went low, and I tried to go over top of them. I personally hurt our team tremendously, and I take full responsibility for that."
After scoring on a six-yard rushing score on the opening drive, Ragland found tight end Quentin Hardy for a three-yard touchdown with 1:19 left in the first quarter.
The RedHawks pulled out 167 yards in offense, converted four third-down opportunities and gained seven first downs in the first quarter.
Morris responded with his first career rushing touchdown with 10:39 left in the first half to cut the deficit 14-7.
A minute later, Ragland found wide receiver Sam Martin for a 50-yard touchdown pass to pull away again 21-7. Miami extended its lead to 28-7 when running back Kenny Young ran 31 yards for a touchdown with less than three minutes left in the first half.
CMU managed to score again when Morris found senior wide receiver Eric Cooper for a 28-yard touchdown pass with a minute left to play in the half.
"We're bitterly disappointed in the loss," Bonamego said. "(We) felt we dug ourselves too big a hole in the first half. I think it's a story of missed opportunities."
The Chippewas head to Boston College next Saturday to take on the Eagles. Kickoff is scheduled for 1 p.m.