Sunday, October 06, 2002

Miami, Cincinnati prove college football's a hoot

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        They won the game on a play they copied from a high school team in Memphis. Miami beat UC because a freshman quarterback threw his first collegiate pass to a freshman tight end, who made his first collegiate catch. It happened to go for a touchdown.

        The RedHawks call the play “Hootenanny.”

        Oh, come on.

        Really. A game that should have been decided by a couple studs-in-progress, Ben Roethlisberger and Gino Guidugli — try pronouncing those two names all afternoon — turned instead on a field goal that wasn't, a crazy play kids might make up in the school yard. Go out five steps, turn around and I'll hit you.

        “That was a fun game,” Miami coach Terry Hoeppner decided.

        What?

        “A great atmosphere, great football game,” Hoeppner said. “Just fun.”

        Football in Cincinnati can be fun. Who knew?

        Miami won 31-26. On a sun-favored day, 31,478 people filled Nippert Stadium to watch it. It was the fourth-largest Nippert crowd ever. It was, to borrow an expression, a hoot.

        Enanny.

        Afterward, Hoeppner, the world's second-most accommodating coach (RedHawks basketball coach Charlie Coles has retired that trophy), stood in a hallway outside the Miami locker room, diagramming Hootenanny on a reporter's notepad. Miami faced fourth-and-6 from UC's 13-yard line with seven minutes left in the third quarter. UC led 21-17. Miami had driven 57 yards but just missed a TD on a catch in the end zone ruled out of bounds. A field goal seemed obvious.

[img]
Miami University tight end Tyler Vogel leaps into his teammates' arms.
(Steven M. Herppich photo)
| ZOOM |
        Hootenanny was a risky call, because if it didn't work, Miami lost all momentum and Hoeppner was scorned as a dope. “We've practiced it all year,” said Roethlisberger, “but I never thought we'd use it.”

        “I wasn't sure it was going to work,” said Tyler Vogel. He was the center on the play and somewhat critical to the operation, given that the pass went to him. “I can't see the defense. I just snap the ball.”

        The snap went to Josh Betts, understudy to the sophomore Roethlisberger, who is on his way to being Best Ever QB in Oxford. Meaning, Josh Betts best take advantage of every chance he gets.

        He rolled right and toward the line, then push-shoved a girlie-man pass at Vogel. “I shoveled it real quick, so (Vogel) doesn't have to worry about” defenders, Betts said.

        UC's defense, naturally puzzled by the alignment, couldn't react. “We should've called a timeout,” said Bearcats linebacker Willis Edwards.

        It worked just the way the Memphis guys drew it up, probably in a cotton field somewhere. “A calculated risk,” Hoeppner called it. “Not a gamble.”

        Whatever, it tilted the game away from the Bearcats. They fell behind 31-21 to start the fourth quarter. Guidugli was unable to produce his usual fourth-quarter magic, twice throwing interceptions. “Cardiac arrest time,” as Bearcats coach Rick Minter called it, wasn't good to UC.

        Meanwhile, Roethlisberger was going 2-0 against Guidugli, if you're keeping score. He completed his first nine throws and 17 of his first 20. It was another surgical show for Roethlisberger, who in the two wins is 47-of-62 passing with three touchdowns. Afterward, he walked off the field and up the dressing room steps, helmet under his right arm, game ball under his left, the picture of a perfect Saturday afternoon.

        Roethlisberger, though, was no Josh Betts.

        “Your first pass in college went for a touchdown in a big game,” someone asked Betts. “Where do you go from here?”

        “I may retire,” Betts said.

        A fun football game. In Cincinnati. Imagine that.

       



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Miami 31, Cincinnati 26
UC Miami stats
- Daugherty: UC-Miami
UC-Miami notebook
UC's Minter rushes to judgment
Huggins intends to make 'Breakfast'

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Kitna aims to be QB solution
Spirit of '96
Jones: Life as a rookie
Keys to the game
The isolation booth
Curnutte's NFL Power Rankings
This week's NFL picks
Chargers, Bledsoe highlight NFL's first quarter
NFL considers black coaches issue
NFL notebook
Enquirer Page Two Power rankings
Get ready, college basketball fans
Miami wins Lefty McFadden Invitational
Xtra Heat beats the boys at Keeneland
Area women make up Miami's soccer nucleus
Bowling Green 72, Ohio 21
Dayton 41, Butler 0
No. 24 Iowa 31, Purdue 28
No. 5 Ohio State 27, Northwestern 16
Irish mystery stretches into another episode
Running game the story in Mount St. Joe win
Special-team turnovers fuel Purdue loss
Top 25 roundup
How the Top 25 fared
Expect the unexpected at Talladega
Smaller gas tanks throw wrench in race
Sorenstam grabs share of lead
Just win, baby
Overdue comeuppance buries pinstriped glory, myth
Yankees and Diamondbacks knocked out in first round
Angels 9, Yankees 5
Braves 10, Giants 2
Cardinals 6, Diamondbacks 3
Twins 11, Athletics 2
Playoffs notebook
Reds Q&A with John Fay
Indians hike ticket prices for big games
Edgewood 34, Franklin 6
Elder 47, Moeller 21
Highlands 28, CovCath 14
Hughes 39, Taft 8
McNicholas 33, Roger Bacon 7
Prep football scores & game results
How Enquirer poll teams fared
Soccer: Lakota West girls, boys seeded No.1
Boys Golf results
Cross country results
Girls Tennis results
Soccer results
Volleyball results
Groeschen: Move state playoffs
Schmidt: Kentucky preps


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