FACTS & STATS: Site: InfoCision Stadium (30,000) — Akron, Ohio. Television:
ESPN3.com. Home Record: Miami-Ohio 1-2, Akron 2-1. Away Record: Miami-Ohio
0-3, Akron 1-1. Neutral Record: Miami-Ohio 0-0, Akron 0-0. Conference Record:
Miami-Ohio 1-1, Akron 1-0. Series Record: Miami-Ohio leads, 16-6-1.
GAME NOTES: Following the team’s first win since the 2012 football season, the
Miami-Ohio RedHawks will now travel in state to face the Akron Zips in a Mid-
American Conference clash at InfoCision Stadium on Saturday.
Miami-Ohio ended the nation’s longest losing streak at 21 games when the team
rallied from a fourth-quarter deficit to defeat the Massachusetts Minutemen,
42-41, in a battle of two then-winless MAC programs last weekend. The RedHawks
are now 1-5, and are hoping to turn their luck around.
Akron is on a bit of a roll, having won its last two games in a row, including
last Saturday’s 31-6 beatdown of MAC rival Eastern Michigan. The Zips will
take on the RedHawks this weekend at home, and then will hit the road for a
two-game away stint.
Miami-Ohio leads the all-time series over the Zips, 16-6-1, in an intrastate
rivalry that began in 1916. The two sides met a year ago in Oxford, where
Akron came away with a 24-17 victory, spoiling Miami’s Homecoming.
The RedHawks have been competitive in their last four games played, although
the final outcome in a Sept. 13 battle with Michigan doesn’t necessarily
reflect that. Still, the team’s two most recent losses were by a single score,
and a touchdown with 2:58 left on the clock in last Saturday’s win over UMass
propelled the team to victory. But the team didn’t get much help in the run
game outside of what transfer quarterback Andrew Hendrix could provide.
Spencer McInnis had nine carries for 25 yards, while Hendrix took 13 carries
for 91 yards and a touchdown – the game-winner.
The run game will have to be better against an Akron squad allowing 152.2
rushing ypg. But the success of Miami’s offense over the past few weeks,
plainly evidenced by last weekend’s win, lies with Hendrix under center. The
Notre Dame transfer completed 32-of-58 passing for 437 yards and four
touchdowns. He wasn’t picked off once, and the RedHawks offensive line gave up
one sack. That Hendrix is the one coach Chuck Martin was hoping for when he
named him the starter.
Five players had at least five receptions from Hendrix for Miami last weekend.
The RedHawks were led by Sam Martin’s eight receptions for 111 yards. The
freshman receiver from Boulder, Colorado, caught all four touchdown passes
Hendrix threw in the game. Rokeem Williams had six catches for a team-best 133
yards, and Jared Murphy hauled in six passes of his own for 63 yards. This is
the type of offense the RedHawks will look for going forward.
But while the offense was making strides forward, the comeback effort could
not have been completed had it not been for Miami’s strong defensive effort
that forced timely turnovers, allowing the team to regain possession. The
RedHawks baited UMass quarterback Blake Frohnapfel into throwing two
interceptions, and also recovered two Minutemen fumbles in the contest.
Frohnapfel was still able to complete 35 passes for 389 yards, so Miami will
have to put forth a greater effort into slowing teams down with the ball,
rather than waiting for turnover opportunities.
Linebacker Joe Donlan and defensive back Jarrell Jones led the team with 12
tackles apiece in the win over UMass. Jones and linebacker Kent Kern each have
52 tackles this season to pace the defense, while Kern adds six tackles for
loss and two sacks. The team will need to get to Akron quarterback Kyle Pohl
to help force turnovers.
Speaking of Pohl, the Zips quarterback dominated Eastern Michigan in the
team’s easy victory over the struggling MAC program. Akron’s offense
accumulated 552 total yards of offense in the game, and limited Eastern
Michigan to 279 in the contest. Pohl passed for 326 yards and a pair of
touchdowns in the win, and added a rushing score with 31 seconds to play in
the first quarter. This season, Pohl has 1,186 passing yards and seven
touchdowns against three interceptions.
The Zips are averaging 22.6 ppg and 285.4 passing ypg, so Pohl will be looking
for receivers like L.T. Smith (10 receptions, 117 yards, TD against EMU) and
Zach D’Orazio (team-best 28 receptions this season) to pump up the offense at
home against a porous Miami defense.
The team’s run game has been boosted by Conor Hundley, who has rushed for 252
yards and a touchdown in four games played. As a team, the Zips are
registering 128 rushing ypg, but had 197 on the ground last weekend. The team
will be feeding Hundley and Jawon Chisholm against the RedHawks.
It doesn’t bode well for Miami’s offense to know that the Akron defense is
allowing a mere 17 ppg and 359 total offensive ypg. In the team’s last two
outings, the Zips have surrendered a combined 16 points to ACC member
Pittsburgh (10 points) and conference foe Eastern Michigan (six points). In
the team’s season-opening win against FCS program Howard, the Zips shut out
the Bison offense in a 41-0 rout.
Linebacker Jatavis Brown leads the team this season with 44 tackles, six
tackles for loss and three sacks, adding a forced fumble and a pass breakup to
his resume. He and fellow linebackers C.J. Mizell and Dylan Evans are the top
three tacklers for the Zips this season, so the RedHawks and Hendrix will need
to be aware of the powerful group of positional players this weekend.
Miami may be riding high from the team’s first win in 22 tries, but it doesn’t
change the fact that Akron is riding a win streak and has the advantage of
playing at home. Hendrix should be able to take advantage of a relatively weak
secondary, but as a unit the Zips will clamp down and limit scoring, as they
have all season.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Akron 27, Miami-Ohio 17