Sunday, October 07, 2001

Miami 31, Buffalo 14

Tillitz provide sparks for school's 600th win

By Ian Duthie
Enquirer contributor

        OXFORD — Despite a slow start in which Miami turned the ball over on consecutive plays in the first quarter, the RedHawks rolled to a 31-14 victory over Buffalo.

        The win marked the 600th in Miami's history, but more importantly for coach Terry Hoeppner, it gave Miami (3-2, 2-0 MAC) its first victory over an Eastern Division team.

        “The record is special,” Hoeppner said. “I am just happy to be part of it because many people before me did a lot more in getting us to that mark.”

        With the score 17-7 early in the third quarter, Miami's defense forced Buffalo to punt after a three-and-out series on its first possession of the second half. Buffalo punter Scott McMahan kicked a 49-yarder that pushed return man Eddie Tillitz back to his own 20-yard line. Tillitz received the kick and hit an open hole that resulted in an 80-yard touchdown return. Tillitz was untouched on his way to his third career punt return.

        “It was about time our special teams came up with a big play,” Tillitz said. "We had come close before, but it was nice to give the team a lift.”

        The play set the tone for the third quarter in which Miami's defense held Buffalo's offense to 7 yards and did not allow a first down.

        “After the punt return, their defense really turned up the pressure,” Buffalo coach Jim Hofher said. “After that, they really blitzed more and attacked our offense when we were forced to come from further behind.”

        Linebacker Matt Robillard was the main culprit, registering 12 tackles (four for loss, totaling 19 yards), two sacks and two pass deflections. Robillard's first sack nearly resulted in a Miami touchdown when he apparently jarred the ball lose from Buffalo quarterback Joe Freedy.

        “Freedy didn't see me com ing,” Robillard said. “I was unaccounted for and had a clean hit on him because he was looking off to his left.”

        The referees ruled the ground caused the fumble. Instead of a defensive touchdown, the RedHawks had to settle for receiving a punt.

        The offense was efficient, scoring touchdowns on each of its drives after a Buffalo score.

        Running back Steve Little was the third different back in consecutive weeks to register more than 100 all-purpose yards. Starter Cal Murray was removed from the game after losing a fumble that stalled a drive at the Buffalo 8 with the score tied, 0-0. Little scored one receiving and one rushing touchdown, ran for a team-high 77 yards and contributed 41 receiving yards.

        Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger spread the ball around, connecting with nine different receivers on his way to 212 yards and two touchdowns. He has thrown a touchdown in his first five college games.

        For the first time in five games, Miami succeeded on a field-goal attempt when kicker Jared Parseghian opened the scoring in the second quarter with a 34-yarder.

Team   1 2 3 4     SCORE
Buffalo   0 7 0 7     14
Miami-Ohio   0 14 10 7     31
Scoring Summary
1st QuarterNo scoring.
2nd QuarterMiami Touchdown - 1-yard pass from Ben Roethlisberger to
Matt Brandt. (Jared Parseghian kick). 7:39 remaining.
Buffalo Touchdown - 9-yard pass from Joe Freedy to Chad
Bartoszek. (Dallas Pelz kick). 7:39 remaining.
3rd QuarterMiami Field Goal - 34-yarder by Jared Parseghian. 8:50 remaining.
Miami Touchdown - 80-yard punt return by Eddie Tillitz.
(Jared Parseghian kik). 7:33 remaining.
4th QuarterBuffalo Touchdown - 5-yard run by Maquis Dwarte. (Dallas Pelz
kick). 11:04 remaining.
Miami Touchdown - 4-yard run by Steve Little. (Andy Brumbergs
Attendance: 20,108
Final Team StatisticsBuffalo Miami-Ohio
First downs 1621
Rushes-yards 31-6442-128
Passing yards 194212
Return yards 21173
Passing (Att-Comp-Int) 40-17-130-23-1
Punts-Average 7-41.33-47.7
Fumbles-Lost 2-12-1
Penalties-Yards 6-258-105
Time of Possession 28:0631:54
Buffalo - Dwarte 21-41, Freedy 9-12, Forde 1-11.
Miami-Ohio - Little 17-77, Roethlisberger 7-22, Murray Jr 7-20, Clemens 5-19, Henry 1-11, Smith 1-3, Team 1-(-1), Hawk 3-(-23).
Buffalo - Freedy 17-40-1, 194 yards and 1 touchdown.
Miami-Ohio - Roethlisberger 23-30-1, 212 yards and 2 touchdowns.
Buffalo - Knueven 5-77, Vargas 3-36, Bartoszek 3-29, Bradford 2-18, Lindsay 2-16, McKine 1-12, Forde 1-6.
Miami-Ohio - Little 5-41, Branch 4-58, Henry 3-35, Tillitz 3-29, Larkin 2-25, Kirkpatrick 2-9, Brandt 2-7, Stegman 1-4, Frazier 1-4.

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