OXFORD, OH -- James Gardner provided a lead and Tony Reid provided late protection as the Miami RedHawks downed Austin Peay 31-10 Saturday at Yager Stadium.
It was a rebound win for the RedHawks (1-1), who struggled on kick return defense in a Week One loss at Marshall. MU had that covered this time around and even came up with a turnover courtesy of Reid’s quick reactions to an awkward bounce on a fourth quarter RedHawk kickoff.
The junior pounced on . . .
Miami took an early lead on AP, grinding out 60 yards on 15 plays. Kenny Young covered the last five yards and Sam Sloman added the PAT.
The FCS-level Governors, anxious to shed a 28-game losing streak showed marked improvement in their opener at nearby Cincinnati. They carried that level of play to Oxford, playing a tough level of defense all day and demonstrating a some offensive punch early.
Miami’s offense produced a pair of touchdowns in the second stanza, with both coming on passes from Gus Ragland to junior James Gardner. The first covered 42 yards, while the second went for 34 yards.
Miami was up 21-7 midway through the second quarter, but the Governors defense would not surrender another point until midway through the fourth quarter.
Still, Austin Peay’s challenge got tougher just before halftime when Craig took a hit on a fourth down run with 5:22 remaining. He did not return, but nonetheless finished as APSU’s leading rusher (54 yards on 5 carries).
Miami finally got back on the goard early in the fourth quarter. Reid recovered a fumble and MU took over at the Aust Peay 40. The RedHawks rushed on 9 of 10 plays, with Leonard Ross going in from three yards out to put the hosts up 28-10.
The subsequent kickoff was something of a deep pooch, falling in front of a Governors player, but taking a quick bounce away. Reid jumped on the ball to put Miami’s offense on the field again. Although MU could not pick up a first down, Sloman came on to convert a 41-yard field goal. That made it 31-10, and although there was 5:28 remaining, neither team would score again.
● Austin Peay limited Miami to 295 yards on the day, marking the second consecutive game in which APSU kept its opponent under 300 yards.
● APSU recorded four sacks in a game for the first time since 2011.
● Each team had three turnovers.
● Austin Peay totaled 270 yards of offense, with 160 coming on the ground. After Craig’s 54 yards, Ahmaad Tanner provided 51 yards on four carries. Overall, the Governors rushed 37 times for a net of 160 yards.
● Craig and Jeremiah Oatsvall combined to complete 11 of 18 with one interception.
● Miami rushed for 176 yards and totaled 145 yards through the air. Alonzo Smith led rushers with 22 caries for 90 yards. Gardner owned five receptions for 117 yards and two touchdowns.
● Miami is home again next week, facing off with non-conference rival Cincinnati.