Saturday, October 16, 2010

CMU drops homecoming game against Miami, falls to 1-3 in MAC

By Anthony Fenech, Senior Reporter || October 16, 2010

It wasn’t a happy homecoming.

Saturday afternoon, as the waning seconds ticked off of a fourth quarter clock, Miami sophomore quarterback Zac Dysert dropped back to pass.

He dropped back, felt unfamiliar pressure from the Chippewas defensive line, stepped up in the pocket and spotted a wide open Andy Cruse downfield.

Way downfield.

Dysert lofted the ball, Cruse caught it, and with 19 seconds remaining, a crowd of 24,761 at Kelly/Shorts Stadium came to a collective hush as the Redhawks sophomore wide receiver scored the deciding touchdown in a 27-20 Miami victory.

“It’s very disappointing,” said Central Michigan head coach Dan Enos. “They made plays when they needed to and we didn’t execute.”

The loss is the Chippewas fourth straight, third in Mid-American Conference play, and almost certainly eliminates them from a berth in the conference championship game.

“The guys are frustrated, I’ll tell you that,” Enos said.

After trailing by a field goal at the beginning of the fourth quarter, CMU was unable to capitalize on its red zone opportunities late in the game, and two late field goals by David Harman were not enough.

Harman’s 23-yard field goal at the 4:33 mark of the final frame tied the game at 20, but after each team squandered a game-salvaging drive, the ball was back in Miami possession, and in the hands of Dysert.

The 71-yard touchdown pushed the sophomore quarterback to 399 yards on the day, on 29-of-47 passing. Cruse recorded eight catches for 179 yards and scored twice.

“It was kind of shocking,” senior linebacker Nick Bellore admitted about seeing the ball in the air with the receiver wide open down the field. “Everybody was making mistakes today.”

The RedHawks took a lead early in the second quarter on a 10-yard pass from Dysert to Cruse.

CMU eventually returned the favor, on a Paris Cotton five-yard touchdown run, but failed to score from what Enos called ‘the one-inch line’ minutes earlier, when Cotton was stripped at the goal-line and Miami recovered.

Down by three at the half, Miami opened the second half scoring just five minutes in, on a 24-yard touchdown pass from Dysert to redshirt freshman Nick Harwell.

Senior running back Carl Volny answered with a one-yard touchdown run eight minutes later, but all game, the CMU offense had difficulties running the football, which resulted in a career-high 52 passing attempts from quarterback Ryan Radcliff.

“There was the lack of ability to run the ball,” Enos said. “It’s a field position game.”

Harman, who replaced sophomore kicker Richie Hogan after an early missed field goal, connected on two field goals in the fourth, but ultimately, the game was decided by Dysert and Cruse, hooking up on third-and-14, with under a minute left to play.

“He played very confidently,” Enos said of Dysert. “It’s a win on them and a team loss for us.”

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