OXFORD — The Miami University football team used a season-high 436 yard offensive explosion to earn its fourth straight victory, a 37-17 win over Central Michigan Friday evening. The RedHawks improve to 4-6 overall and 4-2 in the Mid-American Conference. The Chippewas fall to 5-5 overall and 2-4 in the MAC.
Miami rushed for a season-high 218 yards on 41 attempts, averaging 4.1 yards per carry. The `Hawks added 218 yards passing to secure the 20-point win. It was the largest margin of victory since the team beat Akron 35-3 on November 3, 2011.
Redshirt sophomore quarterback Gus Ragland had a career-best performance, finishing 13-for-24 for 218 yards and four touchdowns. Both his yards and TD passes were career highs. Ragland also finished with 60 yards on the ground.
Redshirt sophomore running back Kenny Young had 106 yards from scrimmage on only eight touches. He finished with seven rushes for 84 yards and a touchdown to go along with a catch for 22 yards and another touchdown.
Central Michigan opened the scoring with a 12 play, 77-yard touchdown drive. A one-yard rush by Jahay Hayes gave the Chippewas a 7-0 lead with 9:41 remaining in the first quarter.
Miami answered right back with a touchdown on its opening drive. Ragland went 3-for-4 on the drive, finding redshirt senior wide receiver Rokeem Williams for two catches for 35 yards. On second and goal from the CMU 10, Ragland found redshirt junior wide receiver Jared Murphy at the two-yard line. Murphy broke a tackle and found his way into the end zone for a touchdown. The extra point was blocked, so the Chippewas held a 7-6 lead at the 6:17 mark.
On the next Central Michigan drive, junior defensive back Tony Reid intercepted Rush and returned it to the Chippewa 25 yard line. Three plays later, Ragland found junior tight end Ryan Smith for a 12-yard touchdown catch. Sophomore kicker Nick Dowd’s extra point made it 13-7 with 5:05 to go in the first quarter. Early in the second quarter, Rush completed a 24-yard pass to Corey Willis that brought CMU to the Miami one. Hayes then rushed it in for his second TD of the contest to make it 14-13 with 13:16 to go until halftime.
The Miami offense kept rolling on the next drive. Ragland drove the RedHawks down the field for an 8-play, 71 yard drive. It was capped by a one-handed touchdown grab from redshirt senior wide receiver Sam Shisso. Dowd’s extra point gave MU a 20-14 lead at the 9:53 mark.
Central Michigan completed the first half scoring when Brian Eavey hit a 45-yard field goal to cut the Miami advantage to 20-17 at the break.
On the first play from scrimmage in the second half, Young broke past the Chippewa defense for a 72-yard touchdown rush. It was a career-high long rush for Young. Dowd’s extra point increased the RedHawk lead to 27-17 only 17 seconds into the third quarter. Dowd added a 34-yard field goal with eight minutes remaining in the period to help Miami take a 30-17 advantage into the final quarter.
Ragland threw his career-high fourth touchdown pass at the 13:16 mark of the fourth quarter, a 22-yard strike down the right side of the field to a streaking Young. Dowd’s extra point gave the RedHawks a 37-17 lead.
Miami was able to secure the victory late when redshirt junior defensive lineman Zach Smierciak stripped Rush and Jones recovered the fumble. The Red and White were able to run out the clock to finish off the 37-17 win.
Williams led Miami with 61 yards receiving, while Shisso had 56 yards and one touchdown. Redshirt junior defensive back Heath Harding led Miami with eight tackles.
The RedHawks return to action Saturday, Nov. 12 when they travel to Buffalo for a 1 p.m. kick