Eastern Illinois Rallies In Last Minute To Upset Miami (OH)

Eastern Illinois Celebrates over Miami (OH), 2016
Eastern Illinois Celebrates over Miami (OH), 2016

By Rich Moser
Special to College Sports Journal

This story is courtesy of Eastern Illinois athletics

OXFORD, Ohio – Following a two hour, forty-five minute weather delay Saturday’s game between Eastern Illinois and Miami came down to the final 56 seconds as the Mitch Kimble hit Devin Church for a seven-yard touchdown pass and EIU won 21-17.

It was the sixth win over an FBS program for Eastern Illinois with the last coming during the 2013 season a 40-19 win over San Diego State. EIU improved to 1-1 on the season and will play at Illinois State next Saturday afternoon in the 105th-playing of the Mid-America Classic.

ISU upset Northwestern earlier on Saturday afternoon with a 33-yard field goal on the final play of the game, 9-7.

The Panthers trailed 17-7 late in the third quarter and appeared to be running out of time after a botched snap on a 29-yard field goal attempt allowed Miami to get the ball back with a 17-7 lead.

Kimble went to work driving the Panthers down the field trimming the lead to 17-14 with 3:57 to play as he connected with Dennis Turner for a three-yard touchdown pass.

Kimble was 19-of-32 for 150 yards in the game. Seventy of those yards came in the fourth quarter on the Panthers two scoring drives after Kimble had 80 yards passing in the opening half.

The final drive was set up after the Panthers defense forced a three-and-out, accompanied by two Miami penalties that forced the RedHawks to punt out of their own end zone.

Following the punt, EIU took over at its own 49-yard line.

In the winning drive Kimble had a 14-yard rush that kept the drive alive and he finished with 49 yards rushing.

After the Panthers go ahead score, EIU was able to sit back and rely on its defense to help pick up the win. Bradley Dewberry had a tipped pass while Jarvis Williams added a sack and another tackle. Miami was unable to get a final snap off as the clock ran to zero.

EIU is now 6-33 all-time against FBS schools. Five of the six wins have come over current Mid-America Conference members.

A couple of first half miscues gave Miami an early 10-0 lead over Eastern Illinois. The Panthers were able to trim that lead to three points at the half.

Eastern Illinois defense came up big following an EIU turnover midway through the second half. The Panthers then gave the ball right back to the RedHawks with a penalty on the punt return.

Billy Bahl found Rokeem Williams on the first play following the penalty for a 51-yard touchdown pass to put Miami up 10-0 with 7:37 to play.

The RedHawks grabbed a 3-0 lead in the first quarter on a Sam Sloman 31-yard field goal after the Panthers made a defensive stand inside the red zone.

EIU’s offense cut the lead to a field goal with a long drive to end the second quarter. Kimble hit Addison Bounds for a three-yard touchdown with 57 seconds remaining in the half. On the drive EIU converted on all four third-down attempts after going 0-for-4 on their previous third down attempts in the half.

Miami quashed any momentum EIU had gained with a late second quarter score as they marched down to open the second half with a 7:09 drive that ended with a Bahl 14-yard touchdown pass to James Gardner. Bahl was 13-of-22 for 250 yards.

Pono Choy was active for the Panthers defense finishing with 15 tackles. Jarvis Williams added nine tackles with the sack. Nick Horne had a second quarter interception, the Panthers first forced turnover of the season.

Miami owned the time of possession with a 35:37 to 24:23 margin. Heath Harding and Brad Koenig led the RedHawks with eight tackles each.