Andy Sneddon, CMUChippewas.com
MOUNT PLEASANT, Mich. - Miami (Ohio) scored on its first two possessions and Central Michigan never recovered on Saturday as the RedHawks handed the Chippewas a 31-14 loss before 17,194 on a steamy day at Kelly/Shorts Stadium.
It was the second straight loss for CMU (2-2), which self-destructed at critical times in dropping its Mid-American Conference opener.
"Bitterly disappointed in the loss," CMU coach John Bonamego said. "Felt we dug ourselves too big a hole in the first half. I think it's a story of missed opportunities."
Gus Ragland threw for 217 yards and two touchdowns and Kenny Young rushed for 91 yards and one score to lead Miami (2-2, 1-0 MAC).
CMU quarterback Shane Morris completed 15-of-33 pass attempts for 195 yards and one touchdown. He was intercepted twice.
The Chippewas were penalized six times for 80 yards. Two of those penalties wiped out potential game-changing plays: A 100-yard return for touchdown by Amari Coleman on a missed Miami field goal, and a Coleman interception that, had it stood, would have put CMU in excellent field position.
In both cases, CMU trailed by two touchdowns. Coleman's interception was nullified by a roughing-the-passer call. Two plays later, Miami scored to extend its lead to 28-7.
Morris was intercepted twice, the first with the Chippewas at the Miami 4-yard line, trailing 28-14, and more than four minutes remaining in the third quarter; the second came near midfield with under five minutes to play in the game and snuffed out any glimmer of hope that may have remained.
Ragland ran 6 yards for a score to cap the game's first drive and give Miami a 7-0 lead. He then tossed a 3-yard scoring pass to Quentin Hardy with just over a minute to play in the first quarter. The RedHawks rolled up 167 yards in offense, converted four third-down opportunities, and gained seven first downs in the first quarter.
The Chippewas responded with Morris scoring his first rushing TD as a collegian, a 2-yarder, with 10:39 left in the first half to pull CMU to 14-7.
Just over a minute later, Ragland connected with Sam Martin on a 50-yard TD pass play to re-up the RedHawks' lead to two TDs, 21-7.
Miami extended its lead to 28-7 when Young bolted 31 yards for a score with under three minutes to play in the half.
The Chippewas managed to slice their deficit to 28-14 when Morris tossed a 28-yard TD pass to Eric Cooper with 1:00 to play in the half.
CMU plays its final nonconference game next Saturday at Boston College (1 p.m.). The Eagles are 1-3 after a 34-7 loss to No. 2 Clemson on Saturday.