The Miami RedHawks football team has a great chance Saturday to put themselves back on the college football map when they hit the road to take on the Missouri Tigers. Miami has no doubt showed that they have improved mightily over the last two seasons in their first three games of the 2010 campaign, going 2-1 with wins over Colorado State and conference foe Eastern Michigan. A win on Saturday over the Tigers would be the third win a row for the RedHawks after a season-opening loss to Florida, and would make them a serious title contender in the MAC, something they have not been since 2007.
While the Tigers have not been that impressive so far this season, earning a win in Columbia will be a difficult task for the RedHawks. There is no doubt Missouri has taken a hit since playmakers Chase Daniel and Jeremy Maclin left in 2008, but the Tigers have re-loaded with players such as junior quarterback Blaine Gabbert and sophomore wide receiver T.J. Moe. The Tigers so far this season are 3-0, but close wins against Illinois and San Diego State have shown that Missouri is susceptible to the upset. And boy what an upset it would be if Miami can steal a win in Columbia this weekend.
Miami Will Win If: They can keep the Missouri offense off of the field. Long offensive possessions that eat up a lot of yards and a lot of time will be key for Miami on Saturday. The pass-happy Tiger offense can be dangerous, and keeping them off of the field will make Gabbert struggle to find a rhythm with this wide receivers.
For Miami to have a chance on Saturday, they need to establish the running game on offense. Whether Coach Mike Haywood starts senior running back Thomas Merriweather or freshman Tracy Woods (Miami’s rushing leader in yards), the ball carriers for Miami need to have strong games on the ground for the RedHawks, who average only 84.3 yards per game on the ground. If Miami can establish the running game early, the passing lanes will open up for sophomore quarterback Zac Dysert. Look for Dysert to throw many passes toward junior wide receiver Armand Robinson, who has 22 receptions for 283 yards and two touchdowns in three games.
Prediction: I really think Miami will give Missouri a good test in this game. Miami will run into problems if Missouri can shut down Armand Robinson because he is the RedHawks leading receiver by over 200 yards. The RedHawks don’t have another target for Dysert to throw to consistently. The defense will keep Miami in the game like it did in the Florida contest in Week one, but I think Missouri has too many offensive weapons to be shut down for four quarters. Missouri Over Miami 31-21.
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Written by Michael Solomon