KENT, Ohio – The Miami University football team’s offense showed encouraging signs in the first half, but struggled during the second half of a 24-6 loss at Kent State on Wednesday night.
Wednesday night’s loss drops the RedHawks to 0-10 (0-6 Mid-American) while the Golden Flashes move to 3-8 (2-5 MAC).
After KSU picked up a first down on its opening drive, MU took advantage of a holding penalty and forced the punt unit to take the field. Not wanting to give the ball up, the Golden Flashes called for a fake, but Anthony Horning’s rush was stopped for a loss at their own 29 yard line. The RedHawks took advantage of the excellent field position, driving to the 11-yard line before a sack forced a field goal. Kaleb Patterson was true from 33 yards out to put MU up 3-0, its first lead since grabbing a 10-7 lead at Massachusetts on Oct. 12.
That lead was short lived as the Golden Flashes drove 61 yards in nine plays. Fifty-nine of those yards were through the air and KSU converted a 3rd and 12 at the MU 15 to keep the drive alive. On the next play, Trayion Durham finished the drive with a 2-yard touchdown rush to put the Golden Flashes up 7-3 late in the first quarter.
MU’s next two drives were promising, but stalled in KSU territory both times. The RedHawks were stopped on 3rd-and-3 at the Golden Flashes’ 41 and punted after a false start penalty occurred when they tried to go for it on fourth down. After forcing a KSU punt, MU moved into the red zone to the 18 yard line. Austin Gearing had a strong 14-yard run to give the RedHawks their second red zone trip, but a fumble on the next play was recovered by the Golden Flashes.
On the ensuing possession, KSU made it a two-score game by going 82 yards on seven plays. Colin Reardon’s one-yard touchdown rush capped the drive, which was highlighted by Anthony Meray’s 45-yard rush. The score put the Red and White down 14-3 with 5:59 left in the half.
The Red and White offense once again moved down the field, getting into plus territory for the fourth-straight possession. Drew Kummer’s 33-yard pass to Dawan Scott on 3rd-and-7 set the RedHawks up at the Golden Flashes’ 21. Spencer Treadwell then rushed for nine yards and caught a three-yard pass to create 1st-and-goal at the KSU nine. MU got no further, but drew to within 14-6 after Patterson’s 28-yard field goal capped an 11-play, 64-yard scoring drive. That was all the scoring in the first half as Miami found itself in a one-score game at the break.
A seven-yard rush by Gearing opened MU’s opening possession of the second half, but the RedHawks ended up going three plays and out after Kummer was sacked on 3rd-and-5.
Needing a spark, the RedHawks got just that from their defense. KSU moved into MU territory and faced 3rd-and-1 at the RedHawk 29, but back-to-back stops by Kent Kern and Mwanza Wamulumba kept the Golden Flashes from moving any further.
MU’s offense couldn’t get moving, gaining only one total first down and punting on each of its next two possessions. On its third possession of the half, KSU opened up a 15-point lead on a 3-play, 53-yard touchdown drive, all on rushes. Dri Archer had 37 of those yards, including a 20-yard touchdown run that put the Golden Flashes up 21-6 with 1:27 left in the third quarter. That play and the extra point represented the only scoring in the third quarter.
KSU forced MU to punt two more times and then chewed 5:04 off the clock with a 10-play, 66-yard drive that ended in an Anthony Melchiori field goal. The kick extended the Golden Flashes’ lead to three scores at 24-6 with 6:32 remaining to finish up the game’s scoring.
Gearing led the Red and White with 81 yards rushing, matching his second highest total of the season. His 24 carries were a season high. Dayonne Nunley led all players with career-high tying 11 tackles, including eight solo stops.
The RedHawks return home next Tuesday when they host Buffalo at Yager Stadium. Opening kickoff is at 8 p.m.