Kent State had Miami right where they wanted them. With just under a minute to go, Kent State was driving and had the ball inside the RedHawk 10 yard line down 27-21. A touchdown would have won the game for the Golden Flashes, and who would have bet against them after putting together a 60+ yard already in less than two minutes?
Miami junior safety Anthony Kokal had other ideas. Kent State quarterback Spencer Keith rolled to the right and lofted a jump ball into the end zone looking to hit his receiver Sam Kirkland for the winning touchdown with under 30 seconds to go. Kokal jumped in front of Kirkland to pick the ball off, sealing the 27-21 win for the RedHawks, and sending the Miami faithful into a frenzy.
Miami struggled in the first half against the Golden Flashes on both sides of the ball. Miami had a hard time moving the ball on the ground against a stingy Kent State defense that came into the game ranking 1st among FBS teams against the run. The RedHawk defense struggled to contain the Golden Flash run game in the first half, as they saw Kent State tailback Jacquise Terry break open big runs, including a 39-yarder to give the Flashes an early 7-0 lead. Kent State was able to break open a 14-3 lead late in the second quarter, but a late Miami drive cut the lead to four going into the halftime whistle. Miami sophomore quarterback Zac Dysert, who threw for 294 yards in the game, found an open Armand Robinson in the end zone just seconds before halftime to give Miami some momentum after a rainy and muddy first half.
The second half of the game belonged to the RedHawks, as they opened up a 24-14 lead midway through the fourth quarter against the Golden Flashes, who weren’t able to overcome the ten-point deficit. Kent State battled back and got within six points at 27-21, but the Kokal interception guaranteed the Miami victory, and their third win of the season.
The difference for the RedHawks in the game was their ability to spread the ball around to different receivers. Junior Armand Robinson has been Dysert’s number one target throughout the season so far, and the RedHawks had struggled to find another go-to receiver through four games. They found those other go-to receivers on Saturday, as senior Jamal Rogers caught eight passes for 90 yards, while junior wide out Chris Givens caught five passes for 104 yards. If the RedHawks can continue to spread the ball around to different receivers for the rest of the season, they will be a hard team to stop on offense.
The season just keeps getting better and better for the Miami RedHawks. Did anyone predict that the surprising RedHawks would be 3-2 through five games this season? More importantly, did anyone predict that they would be 2-0 in the MAC after their first two conference games? This year could turnout to be a special one for the RedHawks, who have already equaled their win total from the last two seasons with three in 2010.
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Written by Michael Solomon