2-0. That’s what the Miami RedHawks are in Mid-American Conference play. Although having a 3-3 record, the RedHawks are on top of the MAC East division through six weeks of the 2010 season. The RedHawks can now focus all of their attention on conference play the rest of the season, which will be good for a team that ended non-conference play with a disappointing 45-3 defeat last weekend at the hands of their in-state rivals Cincinnati. To stay on top of the conference, Miami will need to win a couple of road games since they only have two home games remaining on their schedule. Sounds easy enough, right? Tell that to the RedHawks, who haven’t won a contest away from home since the 2008 campaign. Their first road test in the MAC comes this weekend when the RedHawks visit defending MAC Champions Central Michigan on Saturday. It would be a great way to end the road-losing streak with a win in Mt. Pleasant for Miami. A win would keep the top spot in the MAC East division, a place that most people thought Miami would never reach this season.
Miami Will Win If: The defense can rebound from last week’s loss to Cincinnati. The RedHawk defense, which shut down a powerful Florida offense in week one, let up 28 first quarter points last weekend and 45 for the game. The good news for the defense is that Cincinnati scored all of their points in the first half last Saturday, and after some adjustments at halftime by the coaches, the defense improved greatly in the second half. The RedHawk faithful is still waiting to see that fast and swarming defense that kept Miami in the game for three quarters against the Gators in Gainesville. Central Michigan is not Florida or Cincinnati by any means on offense, but they have some playmakers that the RedHawks need to try and slow down Saturday. The offense for the Chippewas starts with sophomore quarterback Ryan Radcliff, who has thrown for 1,703 yards and 10 touchdowns so far this season. Radcliff has some big targets to throw to, including fellow classmate Cody Wilson , who has caught 27 passes for 484 yards and three scores. If Miami can slow down the Central Michigan passing attack, they will force the Chippewas to run. Miami’s strength on defense is stopping the run game, so if they can force Radcliff and the CMU offense to run more often, they will have a chance at winning this game.
For Miami to have a chance at winning this game, they will need to put up more points than they did last week against Cincinnati. Miami struggled against a faster and stronger defense from the Big East last week, but they have a chance to rebound against a Central Michigan defense that allows just over 22 points per game. Miami quarterback Zac Dysert needs to find his connection to junior wide out Armand Robinson that worked really well in the first few weeks of the season. Robinson’s numbers have gone down each game, so expect Dysert to look for Robinson a lot on Saturday. Miami will be able to move the ball just fine against the Chippewa defense if they can establish the running game. Miami is ranked 119th out of 120 FBS teams in rush yards per game, averaging just over 69 yards. Miami had a hard time running the ball against Cincinnati last weekend, but expect the RedHawks to use freshman back Tracy Woods a lot versus CMU.
Prediction: Miami has won all three of their games this season at home, and looking for a win on the road against Central Michigan will be tough. Central Michigan has lost three games in a row, and is looking to get back on track. Miami will play much better than they did against Cincinnati last weekend on Saturday in Mt. Pleasant, but I don’t think the Miami offense can put enough points up on the board for them to have a chance to win. Miami has struggled offensively lately, and until they find their running game, they will have a tough time winning games, especially on the road. 31-14 Central Michigan over Miami
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Written by Michael Solomon