Sunday, October 13, 2002

Big yardage but bigger loss

Roethlisberger's 525 passing yards wasted

By John P. Wise
Enquirer contributor

Luke Clemens is taken down hard by Northern Illinois' Larry Williams.
(Ernest Coleman photo)
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OXFORD - So many records were set at Saturday's shootout between Miami and Northern Illinois that the only thing that seemed to be missing was a deejay.

Despite quarterback Ben Roethlisberger's 525 yards and four touchdown passes, Miami lost to the Huskies, 48-41, before a crowd of 15,234 at Yager Stadium.

In possession of the ball for less than 16 minutes, the visitors scored more points than they ran plays. Of their 46 plays, seven of them covered 25 yards or more.

"I'm truly speechless that (NIU) can have the ball for 15 minutes and score that many points," said coach Terry Hoeppner, whose RedHawks fell to 4-3 (2-1 Mid-American Conference). The Huskies improved to 4-3 and remain atop the league's West Division at 3-0.

Roethlisberger completed 41 of 61 passes but threw three interceptions. His yardage, attempts and completions all are personal and Yager Stadium records. The completions and yardage totals are school marks. Still, both he and Hoeppner disregarded the milestones.

Ben Roethlisberger jumps over a Northern Illinois player.
(Ernest Coleman photo)
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"Ben's numbers were good, but he made some mistakes," Hoeppner said. "(NIU) changed the way they pressured him there in the third quarter, and that might have caused him some problems."

Said Roethlisberger, whose shoulder was heavily iced during the postgame press conference: "I haven't even looked at the (stat sheet) yet, but I don't know if I really want to. I know one number that stands out, and I'll take credit for all three of those interceptions."

A pair of Jared Parseghian field goals and a touchdown pass from Roethlisberger to Randy Stegman gave Miami a 14-7 halftime lead.

Roethlisberger passed for another touchdown to Matt Brandt early in the third quarter. And with 5:59 left in the quarter, Roethlisberger gave Miami a 27-7 lead with a 10-yard touchdown run. Miami looked as though it would stay atop the East Division with unbeaten Marshall.

But Huskies running back Michael Turner, who had scored a first-quarter touchdown, ran for three more scores in the next nine minutes. Turner added his fifth touchdown with less than a minute left to ice the win. He finished with 222 yards on only 20 carries.

"If our offense scores 41 points and we still lose the game like that, that's totally our fault," said linebacker Matt Robillard.
N. Illinois07734-48

First Quarter
Mia-FG Parseghian 25, 9:23
Second Quarter
NIU-Turner 9 run (Azar kick), 11:16
Mia-FG 27 Parseghian, 4:27
Mia-Stegman 3 pass from Roethlisberger (Branch pass from Roethlisberger), :15
Third Quarter
Mia-Brandt 22 pass from Roethlisberger (Parseghian kick), 10:43
Mia- Roethlisberger 10 run (Parseghian kick failed), 5:59
NIU-Turner 73 run (Azar kick), 5:16
Fourth Quarter
NIU-Turner 31 run (Azar kick), 14:35
NIU-Turner 15 run (Azar kick blocked), 12:21
NIU-Sheldon 25 pass from Haldi (Azar kick), 11:09
Mia-Branch 12 pass from Roethlisberger (Parseghian kick), 4:36
NIU-Sheldon 40 pass from Haldi (Azar kick), 3:14
NIU-Turner 5 run (Azar kick), :56
Mia-Branch 51 pass from Roethlisberger (Parseghian kick), :00

First downs1630
Return Yards4264
Time of Possession15:5344:07


RUSHING-N. Illinois, Turner 20-222, Haldi 4-2. Miami, Ohio, Clemens 18-73, Murray 8-10, Hunter 1-4, Roethlisberger 12-(minus 40).

PASSING-N. Illinois, Haldi 11-21-1-292. Miami, Ohio, Roethlisberger 41-61-3-525.

RECEIVING-N. Illinois, Sheldon 6-123, Hurd 2-65, Perry 1-45, Cieslak 1-14, Dunker 1-5. Miami, Ohio, Branch 7-126, Brandt 6-54, Murray 5-81, Henderson 5-46, Larkin 4-56, Nance 3-64, Clemens 3-35, Kirkpatrick 3-32, Stegman 2-20, Smith 2-16, Tillitz 1-(minus 5).

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