Miami falls to Kent State in OT shootout

Kent State's A.J. Musolino tries to bring down Miami quarterback Brett Gabbert during their game at Dix Stadium on Saturday, Nov. 27, 2021. Kent State Athletics photo
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Kent State's A.J. Musolino tries to bring down Miami quarterback Brett Gabbert during their game at Dix Stadium on Saturday, Nov. 27, 2021. Kent State Athletics photo

Golden Flashes edge RedHawks 48-47 to win MAC East Division title

Miami’s bid for a spot in the Mid-American Conference Championship Game came up one point, and one play, short.

The RedHawks erased a 10-point, fourth-quarter deficit to force overtime, but dropped a 48-47 decision to host Kent State 48-47 on Saturday at Dix Stadium in a showdown of the top two teams in the MAC East Division.

The Golden Flashes (7-5, 6-2) advance to next Saturday’s MAC title game against West Division champ Northern Illinois (8-4) at Ford Field in Detroit. The RedHawks finish the regular season 6-6, 5-3. Miami’s three MAC losses this season were by a combined four points.

Tied at 41, Kent State got the ball first in OT and took the lead on quarterback Dustin Crum’s 1-yard TD run. The conversion kick made it 48-41.

Miami answered on the next play when Brett Gabbert hit Jalen Walker on a 25-yard TD pass to make it a one-point game, RedHawks coach Chuck Martin then elected to go for two points and the win. Kent State batted down Gabbert’s conversion pass attempt to clinch the win.

Gabbert finished 26-of-51 for 405 yards, four TDs and two interceptions. The junior also rushed for a 9-yard score with 10:03 left to get trim Kent State’s lead to 41-38.

After linebacker Ivan Pace Jr. stuffed the Golden Flashes on fourth-and-1 from the Miami 15, Gabbert led the RedHawks on a 17-play, 80-yard, game-tying drive that Graham Nicholson capped with a 20-yard field goal with 4 seconds to play to knot the game at 41. Nicholson had four field goals.

Gabbert tossed TD passes to Walker (2 receptions, 35 yards), Kenny Tracy (5-104), Jack Coldiron (5-83) and Jack Sorenson (4-81). Mac Hippenhammer also had seven receptions for 90 yards for Miami.

The teams combined for a whopping 1,191 yards of offense (Kent State 642, Miami 549) and 63 first downs (KSU 32, Miami 31). The Golden Flashes average 7.6 yards per play, Miami 6.7. Miami came into the game as the top scoring defnese in the MAC (21.6 points per game) and the third-ranked squad in yards allowed (348.3) per game.

The Golden Flashes amassed 303 yards rushing on 51 carries (5.9 yards per carry). Xavier Williams led the way with 168 yards and two TDs on 13 attempts. Marquez Cooper added 126 yards and a score on 24 carries. Williams had TD runs of 79 and 50 yards.

Crum finished 23-of-32 for 317 yards, two TDs and two interceptions. He also rushed for a score.