The Miami RedHawks football team returns home on Saturday, looking to rebound after a blowout loss to Missouri last weekend. Standing in their way Saturday will be in-state rival and conference foe Kent State, who defeated Miami last year 29-19. The RedHawks have won both contests at Yager Stadium so far this year against Eastern Michigan and Colorado State, and are confident that they can make it a three-game home winning streak to start the season. A win against the Golden Flashes would give Miami their third win of the season, which would equal their win total from the last two season combined. More importantly, it would put Miami atop the MAC East division standings with a record of 2-0 in conference play.
Miami Will Win If: They can have a balanced offense, with solid performances in the running and passing game. Miami continues to struggle in the running game, totaling only 70 yards on the ground against Missouri last weekend. Through four games, Miami has averaged just over 80 yards running per game, ranking 110th out of 120 teams in the FBS. If Miami can get a strong performance on the ground from backs Thomas Merriweather and Tracy Woods, look for the passing game to open up for sophomore quarterback Zac Dysert. Dysert will have to look for other targets besides junior wide out Armand Robinson, who will most likely be dealing with double coverage from the Golden Flashes secondary all game. Robinson, who has caught 32 passes for 382 yards and two touchdowns so far this season, will still see plenty of passes come his way on Saturday. Look for Dysert to try and get other RedHawk receivers like Chris Givens and Jamal Rogers involved in the passing game on Saturday. If Dysert can spread the ball around through the air, the RedHawks will put up enough points to earn the win.
The defense for the RedHawks will need to be better than good on Saturday to keep the Golden Flashes off of the board. Kent State struggled against Big Ten powerhouse Penn State last week, but they have playmakers on offense that the RedHawk defense needs to keep an eye on. Sophomore quarterback Spencer Keith has been a nice surprise for the Golden Flashes through three games, throwing for 646 yards and four touchdowns. Keith has his own target on the outside in junior wide out Sam Kirkland, who figures to see a lot of balls thrown his way against the RedHawks. Kent State, like Miami has struggled with the run game this season, not having one of their backs hit 100 yards yet. While they have been unsuccessful in the ground game so far, the backs in the Golden Flashes offense can be dangerous coming out of the backfield to catch passes. If the RedHawk defense can shut down Kirkland and slow down the Kent State passing game, they will give the team a great chance to earn their third win of the season.
Prediction: Kent State will come into the game with plenty of energy after getting shutout by Penn State last weekend, and because it is their first conference game of the young season. Kent State will be tough for RedHawks, but the Miami home atmosphere and the combination of Dysert-Robinson in the passing game will be tough to overcome. Miami has a chance to be in control of the MAC East division with a win at home on Saturday over the Golden Flashes, and I don’t think they let that opportunity get away. Miami over Kent State 27-21.
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Written by Michael Solomon