Miami (OH) wins on game-winning drive

Henry Palattella

Coming into Saturday’s game against Kent State (2-5, 1-2 Mid-American Conference), Miami University (OH) (1-6, 1-2 MAC) sophomore quarterback Gus Ragland hadn’t played a single snap for the RedHawks in 2016 after tearing his ACL in the spring.

All that changed against the Flashes, as Ragland threw for 181 yards and two touchdowns, one of which was the go-ahead TD pass late in the fourth quarter to give the Redhawks an 18-14 lead and final score.

The RedHawks came into Saturday’s game ranked 128th in college football, according to CBS Sports, which is dead last in the FBS. The RedHawks took the lead with 1:34 left in the game, which ended their streak of 190 straight minutes without a lead.

Junior quarterback Nick Holley continued to impress under center for the Flashes — up until he left. Holley rushed for 84 yards and two touchdowns and threw for 91 yards before he left the game late in the second half after sustaining what looked to be a head injury, which led Kent State head coach Paul Haynes to put Dophomore running back Myles Washington under center for the Flashes’ next drive.

Washington — who played quarterback in high school — helped Kent States offense gain one first down under center, but the drive eventually stalled, forcing the Flashes to punt the ball away with 2:30 left.

The Redhawks took the lead on the next drive when sophomore running back Kenny Young took the Ragland short pass 55 yards to the end zone. The catch was Young’s first of the day.

Ragland went 10-of-21 for 181 yards and two touchdowns on the day, and he got better as the game went on, going three-of-four with 88 yards and one touchdown in the fourth quarter.

Sophomore quarterback George Bollas entered the game with 1:34 left with hopes that he could lead the Flashes on a game-winning drive. Instead, the Flashes were put in a hole after Bollas was called for intentional grounding on a 3rd and two with 1:18 left.

He threw an interception on the next play to guarantee the win for Miami. Bollas finished the day 1-3 with eight yards and the interception.

Injuries continue to plague the Flashes.

True freshman running back Justin Rankin was dressed on the sideline but did not play due to a leg injury. Sophomore running back Raewkown James limped off the field late in the first half. Also, fifth-year senior defensive back Elcee Refuge spent most of the first half on the sideline due to an injury, and senior defensive end Terence Waugh limped off the field late in the game due to an injury.

Neither team could get on the scoreboard until late in the second half when Holley scooted into the end zone from two yards out to give the Flashes a 7-0 lead with 3:41 left. Nick Dowd added a 38-yard field goal at the end of the second quarter to cut the Kent State lead to 7-3.

Holley found the end zone again in the second half when he took a QB keeper 21 yards in the end zone to give the Flashes a 14-3 lead. That would be the last time that the Flashes would score all game. Ragland answered on the RedHawks’ next drive when he found sophomore running back Alonzo Smith in the end zone from 15 yards out to cut the Kent State lead to 14-10.

The Redhawks had 95 total yards before they went 80 yards for that touchdown. Miami got two more points when the Flashes snapped the ball out of the end zone for the safety.

Rankin’s injury led to freshman running back Will Matthews got his first career start at running back, and he rushed for 47 yards. Matthews was also the Flashes’ leading receiver. He caught one pass for 48 yards.

Henry Palattella is a sports reporter, contact him at [email protected].