We get the privilege of playing the Miami (not THAT Miami) Redhawks. This breed of bird lives in Oxford and has very good academics. We've strangely had a successful 4-0 record against MU since 2002, albeit three of those games were decided by 6 pts or less.
Looking at last years recap, the game the game squarely came down to special teams and running the ball. The former may be harder to get perfect considering how much we stunk last week kicking the ball. If we don't block for Salerno this week, it's over.
QB DeMarcus Grady started the game LY against Miami and will likely start again this year as we don't know about Chandler Harnish's status. Grady's stats from lats year: 7 of 12 for 63 yds and a TD to Landon Cox. Although he has improved as a pass, expect to see the same sort of deal. You don't want to have him give the ball away throwing interceptions.
Let's take a look at what Miami brings to the table:
What they've done
|9/05||Kentucky||0-1 (0-0)||L 42-0|
|9/12||@ No. 12 Boise State||0-2 (0-0)||L 48-0|
|9/19||@ Western Michigan||0-3 (0-1)||L 48-26|
|9/26||@ Kent State||0-4 (0-2)||L 29-19|
|10/03||No. 10 Cincinnati||0-5 (0-2)||L 37-13|
|10/10||@ Northwestern||0-6 (0-2)||L 16-6|
|10/17||@ Ohio||0-7 (0-3)||L 28-7|
Wow is that a hard schedule. The Redhawks will be prepared for us as they've gone through so many tough teams, including 5 of 7 on the road. Is that even legal? This is Miami's homecoming for real. Here's some highlights from the Northwestern game:
Rushing - 83 ypg, 113th (in the nation), 12th (in the MAC)
Passing - 230 ypg, 49th, 6th
Passing Eff - 99.25, 113th, 11th
Total - 313 ypg, 100th, 8th
Scoring - 10 ppg, 120th, 13th
Red Zone - 71%, 109th, 8th
Sacks Allowed - 4.43, 119th, 13th
Obviously, they like to the pass the ball more than run, but there's not too much going on here. They can move the ball OK, but punching it in has been a problem for them considering their low redzone percentage. They've been playing some of teh toughest teams in the nation though. If we can't get to Miami's QB in this game, then we can't get to any QB and pass rush is a serious problem. Consider it a litmus test.
Rushing- 174 ypg, 94th, 9th
Pass Eff - 133, 85th, 12th
Total - 386 ypg, 87th, 9th
Scoring - 35 ppg, 112th, 12th
Sacks - .86 pg, 113th, 12th
TFL - 5 pg, 88th, 9th
Not one aspect stands out as they don't do much of anything on defense. Of course these are inflated stats because of the SOS, so they are better than what is indicated.
Net Punting - 29, 119th, 13th
Punt Returns - 8.15, 70th, 7th
Kickoff Coverage -29.91, 120th, 13th
Kickoff Returns - 15 yp, 120th, 13th
Turnover Margin - -2.86, 120th, 13th
Here is where the game is won. Expect Tommy Davis to break one this game returning the ball. The only problem here is NIU's 113th ranked Net Punting. Our coverage teams really need to step their game up.
As always (except last week), Turnover Margin will be a huge factor. Just look at this spread:
NIU - 3rd, Miami 120th
- Run the ball
- Get to their quarterback
- Win the turnover margin
- Execute on all aspects of special teams
It's that simple, right? Consistency is key. It's us versus ourselves.