Ohio’s hopes of making a Mid-American Conference Championship are all but gone.
The Bobcats lost to Miami 24-21 on Wednesday night at Peden Stadium after it allowed two second-half touchdowns and failed to score on their final two drives of the game. The RedHawks now have control of their destiny to the MAC Championship, and the Bobcats will likely have to win out to give themselves any chance of making a trip to Detroit.
Both teams went into the locker rooms for halftime tied 7-7. Ohio’s defense held Miami to just 104 yards in the first half, but it allowed the RedHawks to take the lead on a drive that featured four first downs and a 21-yard touchdown pass to Jack Sorenson. The wide receiver caught a ball deflected from Ilyaas Motley and managed to land a foot in the end zone.
The Bobcats tied the game two drives later, but a 63-yard Miami completion to James Maye set up another RedHawks touchdown with 13 minutes left. The defense was crumbling and began to revert to the problems it faced from the Bobcats’ 1-4 nonconference play.
Missed tackles and miscommunication led to big plays, and Ohio needed to stop it to avoid seeing its MAC Championship hopes diminish.
That stop finally came with three minutes left at Ohio’s 35.
It didn’t matter.
Miami kicked a 53-yard field goal to take a 24-21 lead.
In what was perhaps his most important drive of his career, Rourke took an 8-yard sack on third down that led to a 4th-and-24. The pass to Shane Hooks was incomplete.
What could’ve been night of celebration instead turned into a night of disappointment. Frank Solich didn’t get a win that would’ve made him the winningest coach in the MAC.
Most importantly, Ohio can no longer control whether or not it makes a MAC Championship.