The RedHawks continue to control their own destiny for the MAC Championship Game after handling the Falcons.
Tuesday night presented the final opportunity of the year for the Miami RedHawks to make a mark in their home den at Yager Stadium. Pitted against a struggling Bowling Green program, the RedHawks left no doubt and comfortably flew past the Falcons in a 34-7 result.
Miami (OH) accomplished one major milestone with the victory — the RedHawks are bowl eligible once again. Excluding the shortened pandemic season, this is the third consecutive year Miami has hit the 6-win mark. By triumphing in consecutive games, the RedHawks are also in prime position for an accomplishment already claimed by a significant portion of the roster. They control their own destiny for the MAC Championship Game, a game which they qualified for and won as recently as 2019.
A slow start by both offenses Tuesday night quickly subsided when Bowling Green running back Terion Stewart spun around the line of scrimmage and burst free for a 62-yard touchdown. After a 7-0 Falcons lead, Miami’s defense ensured that would be the last end zone appearance for Bowling Green all night. The RedHawks recorded eight sacks to consistently stall Bowling Green’s offense, and three defensive linemen each picked up a pair of sacks in the win — Dominique Robinson, Lonnie Phelps, and Kameron Butler. Sacks aside, the Falcons couldn’t accomplish much through the air and attained 3.6 yards per pass while completing just 13 of 30 attempts.
Except for a few home run plays, Miami’s offense struggled to move the ball with regularity. Trailing 7-0, the RedHawks set up their first touchdown by means of a blocked punt which was scooped up on the Bowling Green 3-yard line. Running back Kevin Davis punched it in for a short rushing score, but Miami continued to play from behind after the Falcons blocked the extra point.
Then, Gabbert’s deep ball started tearing the Falcons apart. He only completed 10 of 20 attempts, but those 10 completions soared for 227 yards. Gabbert’s first major strike was a 63-yard connection to Mac Hippenhammer in the second quarter to hand Miami its first lead. On the opening play from scrimmage after halftime, the quarterback let it fly to Jack Sorenson. The MAC’s leading receiver was open downfield and raced toward the house for an 83-yard touchdown in his final game at Yager Stadium.
Despite a quiet first half, Sorenson extended his streak of 110+ yard games to six with a team-high 111 yards on four receptions. As of Tuesday night, Sorenson is third in the FBS in receiving yardage with 1,209, trailing only Utah State’s Deven Thompkins and WKU’s Jerreth Sterns.
With the passing attack generating quieter numbers than usual, the running backs stepped up in the home finale. Tyre Shelton accumulated 56 yards on nine carries in his best showing since the 2019 MAC title season. Shelton was responsible for the Miami touchdown which put the team up 20-7 minutes before halftime. Then, he struck paydirt again in the third quarter for the final scoreboard edit of the night, hitting the spin cycle to complete a 15-yard run. Shelton entered the contest with zero rushing touchdowns, but he left with his first-ever multi-score game as a RedHawk.
Bowling Green featured solid production in the run game as well. In addition to Stewart’s 62-yard run, halfback Nick Mosley nearly attained the century mark with 94 yards on 15 carries. Even with the eight sacks factored in, the Falcons out-gained the RedHawks on the ground with a considerably higher rushing average (4.3 vs. 3.2).
After winding up on the wrong side of a 27-point thrashing, Bowling Green has now dropped six of seven games in MAC play. The 3-8 Falcons remain one win away from their best record since 2017, and they’ll be tasked with defeating Ohio in order to achieve that.
Meanwhile, Miami’s season has several major games looming. The bowl is one of them, but before the RedHawks can schedule those travel plans, they’ll have a very significant regular season finale at Kent State. The winner of the matchup at Dix Stadium will represent the conference in the MAC Championship Game.