OXFORD, Ohio—After more than 55 minutes of scoreless play, the University of Cincinnati scored two touchdowns in the final 4:55 to claim a 14-0 win over Miami University in the 118th playing of the Battle of the Victory Bell.
Cincinnati (3-1) put the first score on the board with 4:55 to play in the game on a 1-yard run by Hosey Williams that capped a 16-play, 79-yard drive over 7:41. The Tony Miliano extra point gave the Bearcats a 7-0 lead. Just under three minutes later, Cincinnati scored again on a Brendon Kay 1-yard run at the 2:05 mark to finish a five-play, 21-yard drive.
Miami (0-3) and Cincinnati played to a 0-0 tie through the first three quarters, but there were plenty of highlights for the RedHawks, especially in the second quarter.
Senior cornerback Dayonne Nunley recorded his 13th career interception and his first of the season at the 10:39 mark of the second quarter. He picked off a Kay pass at the Cincinnati 45-yard line to move within one of the No. 3 spot on the Miami career interception chart.
Senior punter Zac Murphy booted a Miami University and Yager Stadium-record punt of 84 yards with 1:19 to go in the opening half. His punt traveled to the Cincinnati 4-yard line and was returned 7 yards. He eclipsed the previous Miami record of 78 yards by Gary Layton against Bowling Green in 1994 and the Yager Stadium record of 76 yards by Toledo’s Gabe Lindstrom in 1998. It also tied for the fourth-longest punt in Mid-American Conference history, equaling Central Michigan’s Todd Winters’ punt against Ball State in 1989. The MAC record of 92 yards was set by Toledo’s Brandon Hannum in 2001 against Bowling Green.
True freshman cornerback Heath Harding then notched his first career interception on the Miami 17-yard line with two seconds remaining in the opening half to halt the Bearcat drive.
Most of the second half went much like the first half.
Early in the fourth quarter, Cincinnati faced fourth-and-four on the RedHawks’ 19-yard line. The Bearcats set up for a field goal attempt from the 36, but senior defensive tackle Austin Brown came up with a huge play, blocking the kick and preventing the Bearcat score. Harding picked up the ball at the 25-yard line and returned it 5 yards.
The RedHawks were unable to put points on the board however, as Cincinnati retained the Victory Bell for the eighth straight year with two late fourth-quarter scores.
Kay led the Bearcats with 171 yards passing, completing 23-of-37 attempts.
Miami travels to Illinois for a noon (ET) kickoff on Saturday, Sept. 28.
· Freshman Heath Harding made his first career start at cornerback. He added his first career interception late in the second quarter.
· Zac Murphy had an 84-yard punt, a new school and Yager Stadium record. The previous school record was 78 yards by Gary Layton in 1994. The previous Yager Stadium record was held by Gabe Lindstrom in 1998, a 76-yard punt. His 84-yard punt is tied for fourth-longest punt in Mid-American Conference history.