(18) Miami (OH) 49

(10-1, 7-0 MAC)

Ohio 31

(2-9, 1-6 MAC)

Coverage: ESPN Plus

2:30 PM ET, November 22, 2003

Peden Stadium, Athens, OH

1 2 3 4 T
#18M-OH 14 21 14 049
OHIO 7 3 0 2131

Roethlisberger tosses four TDs

ATHENS, Ohio -- Four arms were no match for one.

Ben Roethlisberger threw four touchdown passes against a depleted defense, and Miami of Ohio (No. 19 ESPN/USA Today, No. 18 AP) rolled to its 10th straight victory Saturday, 49-31 over Ohio.

The RedHawks (10-1, 7-0 Mid-American) shattered school records for points and yards in a season while extending their longest winning streak since 1975.

"There's not many 10-win programs in the country," coach Terry Hoeppner said. "That was a significant number to get to. This was a significant game for us. We're not a finished product, we're a work in progress."

Ohio (2-9, 1-6) tried every alternative, using all four quarterbacks on its roster, but none could keep up with Roethlisberger or find much of an opening on option plays. The Bobcats managed only 87 yards on 45 carries.

"We played the best team we've played this year," coach Brian Knorr said. "We're not going to win many games when we rush for under 100 yards. We tried everything we could, but it was like banging your head against the wall. They're a fast, physical defense."

Miami had already clinched a spot in the conference's title game by beating No. 22 Bowling Green and defending champion Marshall at home in front of big crowds.

It had no problems against Ohio, which has lost five in a row overall and nine of its last 10 games against Miami. Only 14,327 fans showed up for the highest-scoring game in the conference's oldest rivalry.

"That's a key quality that this team has, not to let the crowd affect us positively or negatively," Roethlisberger said. "You never know what kind of crowd you're going to get -- it could be hostile, it could be no crowd. We don't care if we play in front of nobody. We're out there playing for ourselves and nobody else."

Ryne Robinson returned a punt 70 yards for a touchdown, helping Miami pile up the most points by either team during the 58-year rivalry.

Roethlisberger threw touchdown passes of 33, 28 and 17 yards in the first half for a 35-10 lead. His 2-yard touchdown pass to Martin Nance made it 49-10 with 39 seconds left in the third quarter.

Nance pushed his season total to 1,097 yards, a school record.

Roethlisberger completed 19 of 28 for 294 yards in only three quarters. The junior quarterback broke his previous school record with 3,532 yards for the season, and matched his school record of 290 completions in a season.

Roethlisberger, Chad Pennington and Byron Leftwich are the only MAC quarterbacks to throw for 3,000 yards in each of three seasons.

Eleven Bobcats have suffered season-ending injuries, including all four starting linebackers and two of their backups. Safety Rashad Butler was helped off the field in the second quarter with a leg injury, and Roethlisberger threw a 28-yard touchdown pass to tight end Matt Brandt on the next play.

Ryan Hawk, who spent his first two years at Miami as a backup, played the first quarter before Ohio's quarterback shuffle began. Fred Ray, who was the starter before separating his shoulder, began alternating in the second quarter. Freshman Austin Everson led the Bobcats to a 21-point fourth quarter against a defense full of backups.

Miami has put together its best run in 28 years behind an offense averaging 40 points. On Saturday, the RedHawks set a school record for points in a season (448) and surpassed 5,000 yards on offense for the first time in their history.