OXFORD, Ohio – Sophomore running back Saylor Lavallii rushed for a career-high 151 yards and two touchdowns and the CMU defense recorded four sacks to help lift the Chippewas to a 21-9 MAC win over Miami (Ohio) on Saturday at Yager Stadium in Oxford.
The game was suspended with 10:45 remaining in the second quarter due to lightning in the area but resumed after a 49-minute delay.
CMU rushed for a total of 184 yards on the day. For the second straight week, redshirt freshman Maurice Shoemaker-Gilmore starred while spelling Lavallii, running for 50 yards and one touchdown.
Miami (0-5, 0-1) got on the scoreboard first, taking a 3-0 lead late in the first quarter on a 40-yard field goal by Kaleb Patterson.
Central Michigan (2-4, 1-1) responded early in the second quarter, assisted by a big play on special teams.
After the Chippewas forced Miami to punt, thanks in part to a Louis Palmer six-yard tackle for loss and a Kavon Frazier pass break-up on third down, RedHawks punter Zac Murphy dropped a kick into the hands of Titus Davis at the CMU 27-yard line. Davis fielded it cleanly in the face of a driving rain and headed right. Finding only would-be tacklers, he reversed his field, found a seam and sprinted up the far sideline before being taken down at the MU 19-yard line. Two plays later, Saylor Lavallii busted a 16-yard scoring run up in the middle, carrying tacklers into the end zone.
The RedHawks took their second lead of the game midway through the third quarter, capitalizing on a Titus Davis fumbled punt return. Taking over at the CMU 15 yard-line, MU quarterback Austin Boucher hit David Frazier for a 10-yard touchdown on the drive’s second play. The ensuing two-point conversion failed, giving Miami a 9-7 lead.
CMU answered back on the next possession, driving 84 yards on 16 plays while eating up 7:46 of clock time. Cooper Rush completed passes to four different receivers, moving the Chippewas to the three-yard line. Lavallii then powered in for his second touchdown of the day, moving CMU ahead 14-9. Rush would finish the day 11-21 for 110 yards and one interception.
Central put the game out of reach with 6:13 remaining when Shoemaker-Gilmore burst up the middle for a 16-yard touchdown, his second in as many games.
Senior linebacker Shamari Benton led the CMU defense with nine tackles, including seven solos, and one forced fumble. Sophomore defensive tackle Leterrius Walton was a force in the middle for the Chippewas, recording seven tackles with three for a loss while Frazier headlined the secondary, totaling four pass break-ups.
Looking for its first win of the season, Miami frequently employed a two-quarterback rotation, using Austin Boucher and Austin Gearing on most drives. The CMU defense registered seven tackles for a loss and six pass break-ups and held Miami scoreless for the final 23-plus minutes of the game.
The RedHawks rushed for 123 yards on the ground, led by quarterback Austin Gearing and his 15 carries for 108 yards.
Central Michigan will finish out a three-game road swing next weekend when it travels to face Ohio at Peden Stadium in Athens. The MAC contest is scheduled for a 2 p.m. kickoff and will be aired on MAC TV/ESPN3.