Sunday, September 19, 1999

MU opens MAC play with win

Prentice sets three records

The Cincinnati Enquirer

Miami's Travis Prentice, left, is congratulated by Mike Bath after the completion of a touchdown pass.
(Gary Landers photo)
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        OXFORD — Miami quarterback Mike Bath and running back Travis Prentice sat side by side looking glum.

        The RedHawks had just defeated Eastern Michigan 35-14 Saturday in their Mid-American Conference opener. They had 504 yards of total offense. They were in control throughout the game.

        But the two players were disappointed that Miami led 28-0 after the first quarter and didn't score again until 4:10 left.

        “We've got to get on the ball,” Prentice said. “We didn't run well. We didn't pass well. We still haven't played our best game. ... We're not happy.”

        “You've got to kick them when they're down,” Bath said.

        Enter MU coach Terry Hoeppner, the eternal optimist. He was smiling.

        “I don't know why everybody's so somber,” he said. “We won 35-14. Could we have put them away in the second quarter? Yeah. But I'll tell you what, I'm not going to apologize for getting up 28-0 and then not scoring 28 points every quar ter. It's not going to happen.”

Miami's Jacob Yavasile (28) and Brandon Godsey (6) intercept a pass intended for Eastern Michigan's Brandon Campbell (25).
(Gary Landers photo)
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        Miami (2-1) dominated early, then struggled offensively the last three quarters. But Eastern Michigan (0-2) had little chance of doing anything but making it interesting.

        The RedHawks scored four quick-strike touchdowns in six first-quarter possessions.

        The drives:

        • One play, 15 yards, five seconds (Prentice scores on MU's first play from scrimmage.);

        • Three plays, 64 yards, 48 seconds;

        • One play, 94 yards, 12 seconds (Bath's pass to Sly Johnson, who beats three defenders and races untouched to the end zone, sets Miami and Yager Stadium records for longest pass play.);

        • Four plays, 34 yards, 48 seconds.

        Prentice finished with four TDs, three rushing and one receiving, and became the all-time NCAA Division I-A leader in multiple touchdown games with 22 (Ricky Williams of Texas had 21).

        He caught a 58-yard touch down pass 6:49 into the game when the Eastern Michigan player who was responsible for Prentice blitzed, leaving him all alone in the middle of the field. He caught the ball near the 50, then raced straight down the middle of the field for the score.

        Prentice, who also scored on runs of 15, 3 and 4 yards, came in needing 116 yards to become the all-time leading rusher in Miami and MAC history. He didn't get the records until about 50 seconds remained — on his 38th carry — when he rushed for 3 yards before leaving the game with exactly 116 yards and 4,369 for his career. That betters former Miami back Deland McCullough by 1 yard.

        Hoeppner said he wasn't sure how close Prentice was. The senior running back from Louisville said he didn't know he got the records until he heard it over the loudspeakers in the stadium.

        “It's good,” Prentice said later. “I'm more worried about us performing better.”

        Johnson, the speedy junior receiver from Miramar, Fla., caught six passes for 184 yards — the second-highest single-game total in Miami history behind Jeremy Patterson's 198 receiving yards in 1993.


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