BUFFALO, N.Y. — Sophomore defensive back De’Andre Montgomery and junior wide receiver Jared Murphy each posted two touchdowns as Miami University’s football team topped the University at Buffalo, 35-24, Saturday afternoon, Nov. 12, at a windy UB Stadium.
The RedHawks (5-6, 5-2 MAC) have now won five consecutive games and are one victory away from bowl eligibility. It was also their first win against the Bulls (2-8, 1-5 MAC) in Buffalo since 2010.
Sophomore quarterback Gus Ragland went 7-of-14 passing for 105 yards and two touchdown passes, both to Murphy. Sophomore running back Alonzo Smith rushed for 91 yards on seven carries, with the team topping 200 rushing yards for the fourth-consecutive outing. The Miami offense gained 309 total yards and held possession for over 28 minutes.
The RedHawks quickly got on the board in the first quarter as Ragland found Murphy for a 40-yard touchdown catch, giving them a 7-0 lead at the 12:14 mark. The six-play, 75-yard drive was extended following a Buffalo pass interference penalty on third down.
On the ensuing possession, the Bulls picked up three first downs as they moved into RedHawk territory. The drive proved unsuccessful as sophomore kicker Adam Mitcheson’s 49-yard field goal attempt hit the upright.
After a pair of stalled drives, Miami took over at its own 11-yard line and embarked upon a six-play, 89-yard scoring drive. The key play of the sequence was Smith’s 70-yard run that put Miami at the Buffalo 10-yard line. Two plays later, Ragland charged through a defensive gap for a 7-yard touchdown run. The extra point attempt went wide left, but Miami had extended its lead to 13-0 with 2:02 remaining in the opening period.
In the second quarter, Miami’s defense held Buffalo deep in its own territory, setting up the offense in favorable territory. The RedHawks capitalized in short order as Ragland once again found Murphy for a 17-yard touchdown pass, expanding the lead to 20-0 with 10:03 left in the half.
Buffalo’s next drive lasted 14 plays and almost five minutes, but a 4th down conversion in the Miami red zone came up short. On the following play, UB senior defensive lineman Brandon Crawford stripped the ball from Ragland and returned it for a 9-yard touchdown, narrowing the deficit to 20-7 Miami with 5:02 remaining. The score would hold as the teams entered their locker rooms for halftime.
Buffalo commenced the second half with another methodical drive, eventually leading to a 30-yard field goal from Mitcheson at the 11:08 mark.
On the next UB possession, Montgomery scored Miami’s first defensive touchdown of the season with a 20-yard pick six that bolstered the lead to 26-10 with 7:14 remaining in the third.
The Bulls reached the RedHawks’ 3-yard line on their next drive, but Montgomery continued his outstanding performance with a 92-yard fumble return for a touchdown. It was the first fumble return touchdown for Miami since Chris Wade’s 6-yard score against Kentucky on Sept. 7, 2013. Montgomery’s momentum-shifting play brought the score to 32-10 with 2:13 left in the quarter.
The defense continued to impress as senior defensive lineman Austin Gearing blocked a Buffalo punt at midfield, leading a 20-yard Nick Dowd field goal with 9:57 to go in the game.
Later in the fourth quarter, Buffalo completed another long drive with a 2-yard touchdown run from senior running back Jordan Johnson, making the score 35-17 Miami with 6:15 remaining.
In the closing moments, UB quickly moved down the field, finishing off the drive with a 10-yard touchdown rush by sophomore running back Johnathan Hawkins. The score tightened the final margin to 35-24
The RedHawks close out the regular season with Senior Night against Ball State University on Tuesday, Nov. 22 at 7 p.m. at Yager Stadium. The game will be broadcast on either ESPNU or ESPN3.