Sunday, October 5, 2003

Miami 45, Akron 20

Miami 'D' stifles Akron; Busing 'pick' helps halt high-powered Zips 45-20

By Mark Schmetzer
Enquirer contributor

Miaimi's Terna Nande runs with the ball after a 4th quarter interception.
(Mike Simons photos)
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Miaimi's Ryan Busing catches the ball against Akron's Jino Vital.
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OXFORD - With the wind blowing from the northwest at 16 mph, Miami football coach Terry Hoeppner knew that deciding to receive the opening kickoff could set up Akron for a big third quarter.

He was right. Akron scored 10 points to narrow Miami's lead to 24-20 before John Busing stepped in. The sophomore linebacker stopped Akron's bid for a third score in the quarter with an interception on Miami's 2-yard line. The RedHawks responded with a 12-play, 98-yard drive that ended with quarterback Ben Roethlisberger's 6-yard scoring run. The touchdown and point-after restored momentum to Miami, which went on to beat the Zips 45-20 before 20,157 in the RedHawks' Mid-American Conference opener Saturday at Yager Stadium.

"We anticipated that play," Hoeppner said. "We were in great position for it. We got pressure on the quarterback and John Busing made a great play. Then we go (98) yards. It was gut-check time, and they responded.

"I'm not saying we knew the play was coming, but we'd seen it before, and we rehearsed it. (Defensive coordinator Pat) Narduzzi was saying the chart breakdown calls for Power Pass. When you're not caught flat-footed, it helps you tremendously in reacting to it."

Said Busing of his third career interception: "That was something we'd repped for in practice. The funny thing was, on Thursday, I'd messed it up in practice, so I made sure I got it right today. On the Power Pass, I took the fullback. The quarterback actually threw it over my head, and I reached back and grabbed it."

Busing confirmed observations from the press box that he had shoved the intended receiver before making the catch, but he believed it happened before Akron quarterback Charlie Frye released the ball.

"The coaches tell us when they come out in the flat, you can knock them down while the quarterback still has it," Busing said.

Miami intercepted the Zips on their next two possessions and converted both turnovers into touchdowns that gave the RedHawks 40 or more points in four consecutive games for the second time in history and the first since 1954. The RedHawks (4-1, 1-0 MAC) snapped Akron's (3-3, 2-2) winning streak at three games while extending their own win streak to four.

Akron was second in the nation with an average of 534.2 yards of total offense going into the game, but MU limited the Zips to 305 yards - 129 in the third quarter.

"We just didn't play well," Akron coach Lee Owens said. "We played well enough in spurts defensively, but we could not make the big plays on offense. We were out of sync and lost composure on the offensive side of the ball. It comes down to playing when it counts. It counted the most in the fourth quarter, but we couldn't get it done at crunch time."

Miami led by 14 twice, including 21-7 on Roethlisberger's 1-yard touchdown run and touchdown passes to Michael Larkin and Mike Smith. Roethlisberger was 31-of-47 for 369 yards and two touchdowns. Running back Calvin Murray gained a season-high 108 yards on 19 carries.

"We knew their offense was productive," Hoeppner said of Akron. "We challenged (our) defense all week."

First Quarter

MIA-Roethlisberger 1 run (Parseghian kick), 6:13

AKR-Montgomery 20 pass from Frye (Swiger kick), 2:38.

Second Quarter

MIA-Larkin 10 pass from Roethlisberger (Parseghian kick), 12:05

MIA-Smith 1 pass from Roethlisberger (Parseghian kick), 6:40

AKR-FG Swiger 36, 1:18.

Third Quarter

MIA-FG Parseghian 19, 10:03

AKR-Sparks 57 pass from Frye (Swiger kick), 8:19

AKR-FG Swiger 36, 4:16.

Fourth Quarter

MIA-Roethlisberger 6 run (Parseghian kick), 11:54

MIA-Smith 6 run (Parseghian kick), 5:00

MIA-Ciborowski 5 run (Parseghian kick), 00:39.


First downs1931
Return Yards7097
Time of Possession24:2935:31


RUSHING-UA, Basch 4-24, Frye 9-21, Hendry 5-20, Shackleford 1-4, Team 1-(minus 22). MU, Murray 19-108, Smith 13-55, Ciborowski 3-17, Roethlisberger 7-4.

PASSING-UA, Frye 23-42-2-258, Faler 0-2-1-0. MU, Roethlisberger 31-47-0-369.

RECEIVING-UA, Sparks 7-142, Irvin 5-31, Cherry 4-32, Montgomery 3-40, Hendry 2-5, McDuffie 1-6, Ellington 1-2. MU, Nance 9-108, Busing 7-132, Larkin 5-46, Corbin 4-39, Smith 3-6, Brandt 2-14, Robinson 1-24.

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