OXFORD, Ohio (AP) -- Cal Murray ran for a pair of touchdowns, and
Miami of Ohio's swarming defense forced three fumbles Tuesday
night, setting up a 33-10 victory over Bowling Green (No. 20 ESPN/USA Today, No. 15 AP).
Miami (8-1, 5-0 Mid-American Conference) has won eight straight
since an opening drubbing at Iowa. The RedHawks are on the
threshold of their first national ranking since the end of the 1974
Playing with its highest ranking in school history, Bowling
Green (7-2, 4-1) never got rolling on offense and couldn't overcome
a three-fumble game by quarterback Josh Harris.
The teams were facing their mirror image -- Bowling Green tops
the MAC in offense and defense, and Miami is a close second in both
categories. Miami's Ben Roethlisberger made the two plays that made
His 49-yard completion early in the third quarter set up one
touchdown, and his 1-yard sneak put Miami ahead 24-7 midway through
the quarter. Roethlisberger was 19-of-28 for 230 yards.
The defenses controlled a wacky first half -- five turnovers, a
missed field by Bowling Green and an unusual problem with the
clock. During a timeout with only 26 seconds showing before
halftime, the officials realized it was off by a minute -- an
electrical surge was blamed -- and restored the time.
Harris threw a 24-yard touchdown pass to a diving Charles Sharon
on the next play, cutting Miami's lead to 10-7. The clock problem
caused confusion, but didn't figure in the outcome.
Instead, it came down to which of the two prolific quarterbacks
made the most mistakes.
Roethlisberger fumbled and threw an interception at the 1-yard
line in the first half, then settled down. Harris fumbled three
times and was limited to throwing mostly short, harmless passes as
he went 20-of-35 for 160 yards.
Murray's 3-yard run put Miami ahead in the second quarter, and
Janssen Patton fumbled the kickoff, setting up Jared Parseghian's
27-yard field goal for a 10-0 lead.
Roethlisberger's best play came on the opening drive of the
second half, when his nifty handoff fake allowed Martin Nance to
outrun the duped safety and catch a 49-yard pass. Mike Smith's
5-yard touchdown run on the next play made it 17-7.
Nance had 169 yards on 10 catches, tying the school record with
his fifth 100-yard game of the season.
Harris' second fumble of the game led to Roethlisberger's 1-yard
sneak for a 24-7 lead midway through the third quarter. Harris'
final fumble set up Miami's clinching score, a 2-yard run by Murray
with 3:45 left.