With 19 seconds remaining in a 20-20 game Saturday afternoon in Mt. Pleasant, Michigan, Zac Dysert and the Miami RedHawks showed why this year is different, why this year, the Miami RedHawks are for real. With overtime looming, Dysert took the snap with just under 20 seconds left in the game and rolled to his right. Dysert launched a pass down the field to a wide, and I mean wide open Andy Cruse that went for 71 yards and the game-winning touchdown. The score secured the 27-20 win for Miami, and stunned the defending MAC Champion Chippewas, who looked to overtime to earn their comeback win against the RedHawks. The win gives Miami a 4-3 record overall, but more importantly a 3-0 record in the MAC. The last time Miami went 3-0 to start the MAC season was in 2007. The win also secured Miami’s first road win since 2008. If there were any doubts about Miami being a legitimate contender in the MAC this season, this win surely puts those doubts away.
Miami suffered a very tough loss two weeks ago at Cincinnati in the “Battle for the Victory Bell,” but they came back with one of the marquee wins in head coach Mike Haywood’s time at Miami. Not many people have had success at Central Michigan in the past couple of seasons, and no one expected a Miami team that went 1-11 in 2009 to have a chance at winning Saturday. The difference for Miami on Saturday was the play of sophomore quarterback Zac Dysert, who had his best game of the season against the Chippewas, going 27-for-49 for 399 yards and three touchdowns. The 399 yards is the second-highest number of yards Dysert has thrown for in his young career at Miami. Dysert found another go-to-receiver on Saturday against Central Michigan in sophomore wide out Andy Cruse, who caught 9 passes for 180 yards, including the game-winning touchdown. The Miami defense also impressed on Saturday, holding the Central Michigan offense to 20 points, after allowing 45 the previous weekend to Cincinnati.
Miami remains on top of the MAC East division with a 3-0 record. This road win should give them the confidence they need to play well in their homecoming game against Ohio University this upcoming weekend. While Miami still struggles to find consistency in their running game, their passing attack is powerful enough to put up points game in and game out. Dysert has now found another breakout receiver in Andy Cruse, which can be dangerous for teams trying to slow down the Miami offense. The win against Central Michigan shows that Miami has turned around their performance from last year, and shows that the RedHawks will be around all fall battling for the MAC East title.
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Written by Michael Solomon