Marshall, Miami notch key victories

Published 12:00 am Monday, September 6, 1999

The Associated Press

Miami of Ohio quarterback Mike Bath says the RedHawks still have emotional ties to former coach Randy Walker, but set them aside when the time came to face his new team.

Monday, September 06, 1999

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Miami of Ohio quarterback Mike Bath says the RedHawks still have emotional ties to former coach Randy Walker, but set them aside when the time came to face his new team.

Terry Hoeppner had a successful debut as Walker’s replacement in an unexpectedly one-sided 28-3 victory over Northwestern as most Mid-American Conference teams opened their seasons Saturday with nonleague games.

Marshall, which came away from Clemson’s Death Valley with a 13-10 decision, was the only other MAC team to win Saturday. Cincinnati downed Kent 41-3, Florida outscored Western Michigan 55-26, Indiana was a 21-3 victor over Ball State, Minnesota topped Ohio 33-7, Penn State ripped Akron 70-24 and Bowling Green was beaten 30-10 at Pittsburgh.

In games Thursday, it was Central Michigan 33, Eastern Illinois 17; Syracuse 35, Toledo 12 and Western Illinois 27, Northern Illinois 21.

Bath, who threw second-half touchdown passes of 15 and 73 yards to Sly Johnson, said he owes much of his success to Walker. When asked whether he still had strong feelings toward Walker, he responded, ”In the heat of battle, no. This is my team and my coaching staff.”

But he added that ”last year, he (Walker) stuck with me when a lot of people were calling for someone to come in and play quarterback, so I can’t help but say, ‘Yeah, I do.’ He gave me confidence and stuck with me and he proved to me I could be a Division I quarterback.”

Now Miami has a big victory away from home under Hoeppner, who was an assistant there for 13 years before replacing Walker. Miami is 11-2 in its last 13 road games.

”Randy congratulated me after the game and said, ‘You got a great team.’ And I said, ‘You know who they are.’ We said let’s talk Monday,” Hoeppner said.

”We both learned a lot from this game and maybe we can help each other from now on. I know it’s tough for them. Our guys were ready to play.”

Chad Pennington went 6-for-6 for 81 yards and scrambled for 12 yards on third-and-10 on a game-winning drive that ended on Doug Chapman’s 7-yard touchdown run with 1:10 to play as Marshall edged Clemson.

”Our offense was so close to breaking a few plays here and there, sometimes it was due to Clemson’s pressure and sometimes it wasn’t,” said Pennington, who completed 29 of 44 passes for 333 yards. ”So we just had to bear down. The biggest thing we did as an offense was to keep pressing forward and realize that this game wasn’t over.”

Deontey Kenner passed for three touchdowns and ran for another to lead Cincinnati victory over Kent.

The Bearcats set the tone early by recovering a Kent fumble on the first offensive play of the game. Kenner found tight end Ashley Hunt for a 12-yard score three plays later.

Kent responded with an eight-play, 58-yard drive culminated by a 38-yard field goal by Dave Pavich, but Kenner came back with two more touchdown passes and dominated the rest of the way.

Cincinnati’s defense limited Kent to four completions in 15 attempts and 14 total yards passing. Cincinnati had 495 yards of total offense while holding Kent to 124 yards.

Doug Johnson threw for four touchdowns and Earnest Graham ran for 158 yards in fourth-ranked Florida’s triumph over Western Michigan, but Broncos quarterback Tim Lester had as big an impact on the game as anyone.

Lester finished with 405 yards passing – 314 in the first half – against a Florida defense that didn’t have a starter remaining from the lineup that opened last season.

Antwaan Randle El passed for 154 yards and two touchdowns and rushed for 118 yards and a score as Indiana started the season with a victory over Ball State.

The Cardinals, opening with a defeat for the fourth straight year and eighth time in nine years, managed only a 34-yard field goal by Kevin Jennings late in the third quarter and a 4-yard touchdown pass from Brian Conn to Jermaine Jordan in the final period.

Sophomore free safety Delvin Jones led Minnesota with nine tackles, blocked a punt and recovered a fumble against Ohio.

Ohio, which lost its two career rushing leaders off a team that ranked second nationally in rushing last season, gained 54 yards on the ground in its first drive, capped by Jamel Patterson’s 2-yard run that gave the Bobcats a 7-0 lead.

”We all came out intense and ready,” Ohio running back Raynald Ray said. ”Everything was just clicking. After that, we had some momentum-killers.”

Second-ranked Penn State’s Rashard Casey scored his first two college touchdowns, John Gilmore, Eddie Drummond and Bryant Johnson each caught their first touchdown passes at Penn State, Mick Blosser ran for his first score and Askari Adams returned an interception for his first touchdown as the Nittany Lions crushed Akron.

Jimmie Gray’s 51-yard kickoff return set up a 39-yard field goal by Zac Derr for Akron. When Penn State fumbled a botched handoff at its 32 on the next series, Brandon Payne ran in from 5 yards and the Lions’ lead was 14-10 with a little less than five minutes gone in the second quarter. But Penn State dominated after that.

Reserve quarterback John Turman threw for a touchdown, run for another and set up two scores with his passing as Pittsburgh rallied to beat Bowling Green and end a seven-game losing streak.

The Falcons led in first downs, rushing and passing, but ruined their chances of winning with three fumbles, an interception and a blocked punt.