OXFORD, Ohio – Ohio gambled by going for one more play instead of a tying field goal, and Tyler Tettleton was sacked as time ran out, preserving Miami of Ohio's 23-20 upset of the No. 23 Bobcats on Saturday.
The Bobcats (7-1, 3-1 Mid-American Conference) went for it all in their first game as a ranked team since 1968, when they finished the season at No. 20. They had a little history on their side — Ohio had won the last six games in one of the MAC's edgiest rivalries.
Instead, the rivalry got another notable ending.
Kaleb Patterson kicked a 31-yard field goal with 1:24 left, giving Miami (4-4, 3-1) the lead with its first fourth-quarter points in the last three games. It was up to one of the nation's worst defenses to hold on.
Tettleton drove Ohio in range to tie it, completing four passes and running twice for 17 yards. His last scramble took the Bobcats to the 7-yard line with 9 seconds left and no timeouts.
Coach Frank Solich chose one more play, going for the win rather than sending it to overtime right away. Tettleton took the snap, saw no one open and held onto the ball instead of throwing it away, giving his receivers time to get open.
End Wes Williams wrapped him up as time ran out, finishing it with the RedHawks' sixth sack of the game. Miami had only six sacks for the entire season coming in and was ranked 115th nationally on defense, allowing 500 yards per game.
Miami turned Ohio's mistakes and the final gamble to its favor.
Tettleton has been one of the nation's best at making good decisions, throwing one interception all season. The junior made a bad one at the end, holding onto the ball too long. He finished 23 of 38 for 302 yards with a touchdown run.
Miami's Zac Dysert completed 21 of 36 passes for 311 yards with an interception in the end zone. The senior led Miami's 59-yard drive to the go-ahead field goal, completing a 17-yard pass on third down to Nick Harwell, who finished with 138 yards receiving.
Dysert had thrown five interceptions in the last two games, both losses on the road. He made some big plays in this one: a 54-yard touchdown pass to an uncovered Harwell and a 46-yarder to Dawon Scott that set up a field goal.
A sign of Miami's determination to pull off the upset: Third-string quarterback Drew Kummer lined up as a receiver on one play, took a handoff and looked to throw, but nobody was open and he got tackled.
The Bobcats self-destructed several times in the second half.
Ohio had to settle for a field goal after a personal foul and a holding penalty set back its opening drive of the second half. Tettleton took a 12-yard sack on the Bobcats' next possession, pushing them out of range and forcing a punt.
The Bobcats drove to a first-and-goal at the 5-yard line, but Tettleton took a 15-yard sack. Matt Weller's 38-yard field goal tied it 20-all with 4:41 left and set up the wild finish.