Northwestern's D beats up winless Miami (Ohio)

EVANSTON, Ill. -- Quarterback Mike Kafka ran for two touchdowns and Northwestern's defense came up with four turnovers Saturday as the Wildcats beat winless Miami of Ohio 16-6.

Northwestern (4-2) overcame a sluggish performance by its own offense, sacking Miami quarterback Zac Dysert seven times -- five in the first half -- and intercepting him three times.

Northwestern's Brian Peters had an interception and recovered a fumble by Dysert in the third quarter to set up Northwestern's second touchdown.

Peters returned the fumble 27 yards to the Miami 27. And on the next play, Kafka hit fullback Jacob Schmidt with a 25-yard pass to the Miami 2 before sneaking the ball in three plays later, putting the Wildcats ahead 16-0.

Miami (0-6) got in the end zone with 1:19 left when Dysert completed a 23-yard TD pass to Andy Cruse to cap a 62-yard drive. The two-point conversion pass failed.

Dysert, who was sacked 10 times last week by Cincinnati, played tough, but mistakes hurt the RedHawks, who are still looking for a win under first-year coach Michael Haywood.

Kafka completed three passes to Zeke Markshausen, one for 25 yards, during a 72-yard scoring drive at the end of the first quarter. After a personal foul penalty on the RedHawks, Kafka carried the final six yards for the TD with five seconds left in the opening quarter, making it 10-0.

Miami drove to the Northwestern 28 late in the first quarter but safety Brad Phillips blitzed and sacked Dysert for a seven-yard loss. The RedHawks went for it on fourth-and-17, but Phillips hit Dysert again as he was passing, the ball was tipped by Kevin Watt and intercepted by Nate Williams to end the drive.

Miami reached the Northwestern 16 in the closing seconds of the half when Dysert hit Brayden Coombs with a 23-yard pass. But with 11 seconds to go, Dysert couldn't find a receiver, had to scramble, didn't get out of bounds and was hit down by Phillips and Williams on the 11 as time expired.

Northwestern's Stefan Demos hit his ninth straight field goal without a miss this season, a 46-yarder, for an early 3-0 lead. His streak ended in the second quarter when Miami's Austin Brown blocked his 40-yard attempt.

Miami's starting tailback Andre Bratton injured his ankle in the first half. And Northwestern lost starting safety Brendan Smith to an upper body injury, giving Peters more playing time.