Miami (Ohio) has made one of the best turnarounds in college football this season, and it continued on a foggy Wednesday night in Bowling Green.
The RedHawks became bowl eligible for the first time since 2005 after winning the game on the final play. Kicker Trevor Cook returned from a knee injury to boot a 33-yard field goal with no time left, lifting Miami to the 24-21 victory. Miami is in a three-way tie atop the MAC East with Temple and Ohio. Those two teams play next Tuesday. Miami (6-4, 5-1) already lost to Ohio, but plays Temple to close out the season on Nov. 23.
Miami went 1-11 last season and was picked to finish fifth in the MAC preseason poll. The RedHawks have not played in a bowl game since 2003. Going into the game, they were tied with Maryland for the most improved team in the country. Both had a four-game improvement over last season. Maryland was 2-10 in 2009.
After jumping out to a 21-7 lead against Bowling Green, Miami saw the Falcons tie the game. The RedHawks set up their final scoring drive when D.J. Brown got his first interception. Cook had missed the last two games with a knee injury, and missed a 41-yard field goal on the first play of the fourth quarter. But he redeemed himself in a big way with the final kick.
As for the other Miami playmakers, receiver Nick Harwell has come on strong in the last few games. He had 10 catches for 125 yards against Bowling Green and now has 43 catches for 600 yards in the last five games. In his first five games, he had just two grabs for 15 yards.
As for Bowling Green (2-8, 1-5), this has been a season to forget. A year removed from going to the Humanitarian Bowl, the Falcons have struggled through youth and inexperience. They have lost four games this season on the final play of the game.