Sunday, October 12, 2003

Miami 59, Buffalo 3

Robinson returns a record; RedHawks freshman has 237 yards off punts, with two touchdown runs

By Mark Schmetzer
Enquirer contributor

Miami Redhawks' Ryne Robinson heads in for his second touchdown on a punt return.
(Ernest Coleman photo)
| ZOOM |
OXFORD - The potential of the Miami offense with Heisman Trophy candidate Ben Roethlisberger at quarterback was well-documented going into this season.

But now the RedHawks' special teams are grabbing some attention.

Freshman Ryne Robinson returned two first-quarter punts for touchdowns and set a conference record with 237 punt return yards as Miami overwhelmed Buffalo 59-3 before a crowd of 23,683 Saturday at Yager Stadium.

"I just got into a rhythm today," Robinson said. "Everything was real smooth."

Said UB coach Jim Hofher: "Miami outplayed us in all phases - defense, offense and special teams. Clearly special teams."

Miami, which leads the Mid-American Conference's East Division with a 2-0 record, improved to 5-1 overall with its fifth consecutive victory.

The win sets up a matchup between two of the three teams still undefeated in MAC play when Miami meets Ball State of the conference's West Division at Muncie, Ind., Saturday. The Cardinals (3-3, 2-0) were off Saturday.

Roethlisberger was 18-for-24 passing for 234 yards and four touchdowns.

He and backup Josh Betts completed a total of 31 passes to 10 different receivers, and the RedHawks scored on six of their seven trips inside the red zone. The only time they didn't score was when third-string quarterback J.D. Vonderheide took a knee in the last minute with Miami on UB's 2-yard line.

Robinson, who returned two punts for touchdowns as a high school senior last season at Toledo Central Catholic, returned Buffalo's second punt 86 yards for a score - with help from sophomore defensive back Ryan Redd's block on punter Dominic Milano.

That tied Robert Glover's 86-yard return for a touchdown against Indiana in 1966 for the second-longest in school history; the record is Bill Neumeier's 96-yard return for a touchdown against Bowling Green in 1962.

The Bulls went three-and-out on their next possession, and Robinson returned Milano's punt 76 yards for a second touchdown and a 21-0 Miami lead. He became the first Miami player to return two punts for touchdowns in one game since Eddie Tillitz went 82 and 53 yards at Eastern Michigan in 2000.

Robinson, who was seventh in the MAC with an average of 9.2 yards per return going into the game, needed just three opportunities to set Miami's record for single-game punt return yardage. He had 169 yards after his third return and second touchdown, surpassing the mark of 162 set by Tillitz at EMU in 2000. Tillitz's total also was the conference record.

"Their team tries to cover the field in punt coverage," Miami coach Terry Hoeppner said. "If you do that, there's a chance for some lanes. They'd already given up three (touchdowns off returns) this year, so we thought they were susceptible. ... Once Ryne gets started, he's a weapon."

The RedHawks scored 40 or more points in a fifth consecutive game for the first time in program history. The 1954 team, the first to score 40 or more points in four consecutive games, beat Indiana 6-0 in its next game.

First Quarter

Mia-Larkin 30 pass from Roethlisberger (Parseghian kick), 11:45

Mia-Robinson 86 punt return (Parseghian kick), 5:53

Mia-Robinson 76 punt return (Parseghian kick), 3:34

Mia-FG Parseghian 22, 2:12.

Second Quarter

Mia-Larkin 6 pass from Roethlisberger (Parseghian kick), 13:13

Mia-Nance 11 pass from Roethlisberger (Parseghian kick), 2:27

Mia-Murray 3 pass from Roethlisberger (Parseghian kick), :44.

Third Quarter

Mia-Smith 1 run (Parseghian kick), 3:16.

Fourth Quarter

Buf-FG Pelz 24, 11:50

Mia-Betts 1 run (Soderquist kick), 8:12


First downs1127
Return Yards6249
Time of Possession29:4930:11


RUSHING-Buffalo, Leeper 18-45, Dawson 13-104, McDuffie 2-13, Piskorik 8-(minus 4). Miami, Murray 9-46, Smith 9-29, Ciborowski 8-83, Murray 7-37, Roethlisberger 2-24, Betts 2-6, Team 1-(minus 2).

PASSING-Buffalo, Piskorik 11-23-1-86. Miami, Roethlisberger 18-24-0-234, Betts 3-7-0-30.

RECEIVING-Buffalo, Knueven 4-45, Leeper 2-2, Larmond 1-17, McClover 1-6, Upshaw 1-6, King 1-6, Watson 1-4. Miami, Corbin 4-49, Nance 4-47, Larkin 3-43, Robinson 2-52, Tyler 2-14, Murray 2-9, Brandt 1-18, Williams 1-14, Busing 1-10, Blackmon 1-8.

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