OXFORD, Ohio (AP) — Jaylon Bester rushed for 128 yards and a touchdown and Miami (Ohio) withstood a stern challenge from winless Akron for a 20-17 victory on Wednesday night.
The RedHawks (7-4, 6-1) had already clinched the Mid-American Conference East Division berth to the MAC championship game but this victory assured an outright East title with their fifth straight win and fifth without a loss at home.
Miami had a 17-3 halftime lead over the Zips (0-11, 0-7) after a Sam Sloman 44-yard field goal and rushing touchdowns of 21 yards by Tyre Shelton and a 1-yard run by Bester.
The Zips closed within seven with a 64-yard pick-6 by John Lako before Sloman added another field goal just before the third quarter ended to make it 20-10. Kato Nelson passed 34 yards to Timothy Scippio as the Zips got within three early in the fourth quarter.
Miami’s defense had five of their school-record 11 sacks on Akron’s two final possessions to thwart the upset bid.