On Saturday night, the Miami RedHawks football team rounds out their non-conference schedule with a visit to Nippert Stadium, to take on their in state rivals the Cincinnati Bearcats. Miami comes into the game at 3-2 overall and with tons of confidence after edging MAC foe Kent State last weekend in Oxford. Miami has a chance to do something they haven’t done since 2008 on Saturday night, and that is…(drum roll please)….win a game away from home. Miami’s only win last season came in Oxford, and so have their three wins this year. A win on Saturday at UC would break that road-losing streak, and would give Miami their fourth win of the season, a mark that not many people predicted Miami would see this season.
Miami Will Win If: They can establish a running game and keep the turnovers to a minimum. Turnovers were a major problem for Miami in their first two away contests of the season at Florida and Missouri, and to have a chance to win at UC on Saturday, Miami will need to limit their amount of turnovers. Sophomore quarterback Zac Dysert and his wide receivers will put up numbers for the Miami offense in the passing attack, but the running game will be critical for the RedHawks on Saturday. The RedHawks have struggled with the run game all season long, averaging only 75 yards per game on the ground. Look for Miami to try and establish the running game early against the Bearcats on Saturday. If Miami’s two tailbacks, Thomas Merriweather and Tracy Woods, can have a productive game on the ground, it will open up some lanes in the passing game for Dysert to throw to his receivers.
The defense needs to be at their best Saturday to contain the Bearcats offense. Cincinnati has lost some of their offensive firepower from last year that earned them a berth in the Sugar Bowl (most notably Tony Pike and Mardy Gilyard), but they still have some playmakers on offense that can break a game open. Junior quarterback Zach Collaros has passed for 964 yards and 9 touchdowns through four games in 2010 for the Bearcats, and his number one target, wide out Dustin Woods, has caught 24 passes for 435 yards and 4 scores. Slowing down this duo will be key for the RedHawks on defense Saturday. Miami’s young defense has struggled at times this season, but they will keep the RedHawks in the game Saturday. If Zac Dysert, Armand Robinson, Jamal Rogers, and the Miami offense can put up some points early in the game, Miami will have a good chance to pull off the upset.
Prediction: Saturday will mark the 115th time that these two schools have met in the “Battle of the Victory Bell.” Miami leads the all time series 59-48-7, but finding a 60th win in the series Saturday on the road will be tough for the RedHawks. UC is 1-3 on the season, and is coming off a tough loss to Big 12 Powerhouse Oklahoma last weekend. They are hungry for a win over a FBS team (only win this season was against FCS school Indiana State). Miami will put up a good fight, but UC is too strong of a team overall to let this one get away from them at home. Cincinnati 38-24 over Miami
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Written by Michael Solomon