The 12,857 people that attended the Miami-Eastern Michigan game on Saturday saw something that has not happened very much lately in RedHawk football. A win. Although most of the fans did not stay until the end due to rain that started midway through the second quarter, the win over the Eagles 28-21 was a big one for Miami, who moved to 1-1 on the season, and 1-0 in the MAC.
The story of the game for the RedHawks was surprisingly the run game. Miami ranked second-to-last in 2009 in rushing yards per game, and against Florida in the opener, they ran for less than 40 on the ground. Against the Eagles senior halfback Thomas Merriweather ran for 103 yards and three touchdowns, the second-time in his career that he has rushed for over 100 yards in a game. With the help on the ground, sophomore quarterback Zac Dysert threw the ball a lot less, going 16-25 for 165 yards with a touchdown and an interception. The Miami offense looked a lot more balanced than last week against Florida, which is good to see. Junior wide receiver Armand Robinson continued his strong start to the season catching seven passes for 84 yards with a touchdown.
The RedHawk defense struggled at times to contain Eastern Michigan dual-threat quarterback Alex Gillet, who threw for 171 yards and ran for another 43. The story for the Eagles in their week one loss to Army was the run game. Gillett threw the ball only nine times in the loss to Army, as him and running back Dwayne Priest both totaled over 100 yards for the game. On Saturday it was different, as Gillett threw 30 times, while the Eastern Michigan offense only amassed 78 total rushing yards.
The game was close throughout, as both teams scored 21 points through three quarters. Miami’s early touchdown in the fourth quarter put them ahead for good, as Eastern Michigan was not able to score again. Emerging playmaker Ryan Kennedy had a career-high 14 tackles from the linebacker position for the RedHawks, and fellow classmate Jerrell Wedge added another 11 for Miami, who improved to 1-1 on the season and 1-0 in the MAC.
There is no doubt this win is very important for the RedHawks and their followers, who have been wondering when a turn around will happen. If the RedHawks keep playing like this, expect a few more wins to show up on that final record of theirs.
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Written by Michael Solomon