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Miami of Ohio Routs Bowling Green, 49-27

December 05, 2003|From Associated Press

BOWLING GREEN, Ohio — Ben Roethlisberger showed why so many NFL scouts are watching the junior's every move and waiting to find out whether he'll stay in college another year.

Roethlisberger threw touchdown passes to four receivers Thursday night, leading No. 14 Miami of Ohio to a 49-27 victory over No. 20 Bowling Green in the Mid-American Conference championship game.

He picked apart the Falcons, spreading the ball to nine receivers, and set a title-game record with 440 passing yards.

"All I had to do was put it out there, and they made the plays," Roethlisberger said.

He praised his offensive line for not giving up a sack.

"I still have a white jersey," Roethlisberger said with a grin.

He became only the second MAC quarterback to surpass 4,000 yards in a season, joining Marshall's Byron Leftwich.

Roethlisberger led Miami, 12-1 overall and 9-0 in the MAC, to scores on its first four possessions of the second half. He secured the victory with a 55-yard scoring pass to Calvin Murray, who found a seam along the sideline.

That put the RedHawks ahead, 42-20, with 17 seconds left in the third quarter in only the third meeting between two MAC teams ranked in the Top 25.

Roethlisberger is projected to be a top pick in the NFL draft if he gives up his final season of eligibility.

"People that know football marvel," Miami Coach Terry Hoeppner said. "It's only people who see him for the first time who are surprised."

The RedHawks, who haven't lost since the season opener at Iowa, will play Louisville in the GMAC Bowl on Dec. 18.

Bowling Green (10-3, 7-2) accepted a bid to play in the Motor City Bowl in Detroit on Dec. 26.

"I can't wait to play them when [Roethlisberger is] gone," Bowling Green Coach Gregg Brandon said. "We had no answer for him. When we did pressure him, he eluded it and found receivers, and they ran past us all day."

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