Ohio rolls up 557 yards in win over Miami

OXFORD -- Kurtis Rourke and the Ohio offense did more than just roll up yardage through the air.

The Bobcats also rolled over Miami on the ground during Tuesday’s “Battle of the Bricks” rivalry game.

Ohio’s redshirt-junior quarterback was 25-of-35 for 362 yards and three touchdowns, two to junior wide receiver Jacoby Jones to break the game open, while redshirt-freshman running back Sieh Bangura gained 145 yards and scored a touchdown on 20 carries as the Bobcats took over possession of first place in the Mid-American Conference East Division for at least a day with a 37-21 win over the RedHawks at Miami’s Yager Stadium.

“I felt really good in the first half,” ninth-year Miami coach Chuck Martin said. “I thought we played good defense. We got stops. We were in pretty good shape. In the second half, they dominated our defense. They ran the ball well in the second half. It was disappointing for our defense. We would get within one score and have a chance to take the lead, but we couldn’t get stops. We had to get off the field and didn’t. We had to get on the field and didn’t. They ruled the second half.”

Senior wide receiver Mac Hippenhammer gained 107 yards on eight catches, three for touchdowns from junior quarterback Brett Gabbert for the RedHawks. Gabbert finished 20-for-26 for 244 yards.

Hippenhammer became the first Miami receiver with three receiving touchdowns in a game since James Gardner at Ohio in 2017.

Ohio (7-3, 5-1) gained 556 yards and 27 first downs on 78 plays to Miami’s 313 yards and 16 first downs on 47. The Bobcats held the ball for 41:20.

“That is frustrating,” Hippenhammer said. “We have playmakers who want to get on the field. It’s always frustrating.”

Pre-game activities included a moment of silence for former Miami center and University of Dayton coach John McVay, who passed away on Halloween at the age of 91. McVay is the grandfather of current Los Angeles Rams coach and former RedHawks wide receiver Sean McVay.

Miami (4-6, 2-4) needs to win its last two games to be bowl eligible. The RedHawks are scheduled to face defending MAC-champion Northern Illinois at DeKalb, Ill., on Nov. 16. The Huskies are 2-7 overall and 1-4 in the MAC West going into their game at Western Michigan.

Ohio went into the game on a four-game winning streak and tied with Buffalo and Bowling Green for first place in the MAC East Division. The Redhawks were tied with Kent State for fourth.

Ohio took a 7-0 lead with a quick strike on its second possession. Rourke’s 49-yard pass to sophomore wide receiver Miles Cross gave the Bobcats first-and-goal at Miami’s 1-yard line, and freshman running back Sieh Bangura converted with 5:45 left in the first quarter.

Miami tied the game on Gabbert’s 5-yard pass to Hippenhammer, who fought his way into the end zone with 13:11 left in the second quarter. The eight-play, 72-yard drive was extended by a targeting penalty on Miami.

Ohio took a 10-7 halftime lead on a 26-yard field goal as the half ended by freshman Nathanial Vakos, who was wide left on a 40-yard try on Ohio’s previous possession. The half-ending field goal capped a 14-play, 75-yard drive that included one fourth-down conversion.

The Bobcats ended the first half with exactly twice as many yards of total offense as the RedHawks, 226-113.

Normally pass-happy Ohio opened the second half by uncharacteristically running the ball 10 times on a 13-play, 76-yard drive that consumed 7:20. Of course, Rourke capped the drive with a 13-yard touchdown pass to Bangura.

“That definitely was a surprise,” sophomore cornerback John Saunders said. “We expected them to pass more. We just have to get off the field.”

Miami took a page out of the Bobcats’ playbook, scoring on a lighting quick, 75-yard, three-play drive that lasted 1:17. Gabbert hooked up with Hippenhammer for a 37-yard touchdown pass, their second scoring connection of the game.

Ohio reverted to form, going 73 yards in four plays – the last three of them passes – including Rourke’s 48-yard scoring pass to junior wide receiver Jacoby Jones for a 24-14 lead. The drive lasted 1:13.

The Bobcats took command with Jones’ second straight touchdown reception with a diving catch on a fade pattern in the left corner.

Hippenhammer caught his third touchdown pass from Gabbert to make it 31-21 with 8:39 left in the game.

Wednesday, Nov. 16

Miami at Northern Illinois, 7 or 8 p.m., ESPNU or CBS Sports Network, 980, 1450

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