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
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
"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
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
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
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.