Sunday, October 17, 2004

Robinson finds new ways to lift MU

WR has 10 catches in sparking offense

By Geoff Nason
Enquirer contributor

BUFFALO, N.Y. - Ryne Robinson was the focus of the University at Buffalo's preparation during practice all week. The Bulls were determined not to let the Miami RedHawks sophomore victimize them on special teams as he had done the year before.

Robinson's answer?

Abusing the Bulls on offense instead.

Robinson achieved career highs with 10 receptions for 153 yards and one touchdown in Miami's 25-7 win over Buffalo on Saturday.

"He's a special player and we got him the ball," RedHawks coach Terry Hoeppner said of Robinson. "He makes plays that other people can't make. That's his uniqueness. You have playmakers, and as a coach, you know who those playmakers are."

Robinson, a 5-foot-10, 165-pound receiver out of Toledo, recently has made his presence felt as part of the RedHawks' offensive attack. Last week, he caught five passes for 115 yards in a win over Toledo.

There's no question that Miami still misses wideout Martin Nance, who caught 90 passes last year but is out this season due to a left leg injury. But the emergence of Robinson has helped lessen the blow.

"With guys being out, I told myself I had to step up every game and produce," Robinson said. "For the second week in a row, I've been able to do that."

The RedHawks controlled play in front of 6,793 at UB Stadium, garnering 40 minutes of time of possession to just 20 minutes for Buffalo.

Miami accumulated 422 yards of total offense while holding the Bulls to 165 yards.

But Miami hurt itself with penalties, finishing the game with 95 yards in penalties on 11 infractions.

Buffalo actually led 7-6 with just more than three minutes remaining in the third quarter. But Robinson then snagged a 3-yard touchdown pass from Josh Betts, putting Miami up for good.

Three plays prior to the touchdown, Betts hit Robinson for a 20-yard gain to convert on third-and-10.

The RedHawks were 10-of-15 (66.6 percent) in moving the chains on third-down plays.

Said Hoeppner: "Anybody can make those first- and second-down calls, but those third-down calls and the execution of the calls, especially in the second half, was huge."

Trailing 13-7 in the fourth quarter, Buffalo drove deep into Miami territory. On third-and-goal from the 3, linebacker Derek Rehage forced Bulls quarterback P.J. Piskorik out of bounds for a sack, sending Buffalo's kicking unit onto the field.

Following a 26-yard miss by Mike Baker, the RedHawks drove 80 yards in nine plays and expanded their lead to 20-7 on a 1-yard touchdown run by Luke Clemens.

Clemens finished with 96 yards on 26 carries, filling in for regular starter Mike Smith, who was injured in the first half.

Miami closed out the scoring with a 37-yard field goal by Todd Soderquist and a safety when the Bulls snapped the ball out of their own end zone on a punt.

The RedHawks first score came on a 25-yard second-quarter touchdown pass from Betts to Clemens.

Betts had 75 family members from his mother's side on hand from the Western New York area, and threw for 306 yards on 25-of-36 passing with two touchdown passes and one interception.

The contest took place in hazardous weather conditions, termed in the local weather reports as lake effect rain. It was a chilly 46 degrees with wind gusts reaching up to 20 mph at times.

"We overcame probably one of the most miserable weather games I've ever been a part of," Hoeppner said. "The rain was at times sleet, the field became a huge factor."

Matt Knueven (La Salle) caught four passes for 55 yards for Buffalo, while the Bulls' Bryan Cummings (Madeira) had five tackles.

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