Sunday, September 22, 2002

Miami 27, Kent State 20

Clemens rushes for 171 yards, 2 touchdowns in MAC opener

By Mike Gardner
Special to the Enquirer

        OXFORD - With only 24 net rushing yards in its previous two games, Miami was looking for a big performance from its sophomore quarterback, Ben Roethlisberger.

        Instead it got a 171-yard, two-touchdown rushing performance from running back Luke Clemens on its way to a 27-20 win over Mid-American Conference foe Kent State (2-2, 0-1) Saturday at Yager Stadium.

        “I heard a lot of talk about not being able to run,” Miami coach Terry Hoeppner said. “I was happy we were able to run the ball like we were.

        “The offensive line did a great job. It was an attitude we wanted to establish. When it's successful, you keep doing it. It was the key to the game.”

        Miami improved to 2-2, 1-0 in the MAC.

        “We were trying to get back on track with the wins,” linebacker Matt Robillard said. “Kent State is a MAC team. We were just trying to play hard and do what we needed to do.”

        Miami had a seemingly easy time opening lanes for Clemens, but Roethlisberger was never able to get completely comfortable behind the offensive line.

        Miami was hurt by three turnovers, two of which occurred in the red zone. Hoeppner's team also coughed up the ball inside the 20 two times in last week's drubbing at LSU.

        Roethlisberger was 18-of-30 for 198 yards, with a 7-yard touchdown pass to Michael Larkin that rallied the RedHawks from their only deficit.

        Roethlisberger has thrown at least one TD pass in 15 of the 16 games he has started for Miami.

        Joshua Cribbs was 19-of-32 for 189 yards and had touchdown runs of 25 and 4 yards for Kent State. Cribbs ran for 126 yards in 17 carries.

        Two first-period runs by Clemens gave Miami a 14-0 lead. But a 38-yard field goal by Travis Mayle, then Cribbs' first score, made it 14-10 at halftime. Cribbs' second score gave the Golden Flashes a 17-14 lead at 12:20 in the third quarter.

        Larkin's touchdown regained the lead, and Jared Parseghian kicked field goals of 21 and 27 yards to make it 27-17 with 7:49 to play. Kent State got only a 36-yard field goal by Mayle after that.


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