The Miami RedHawks (0-1) are one of two MAC teams to take on an SEC team this weekend. They head to Lexington, Ky, for a noon matchup with the Kentucky Wildcats (0-1).
The RedHawks are 17-point underdogs against a team that went 2-10 this past season, and one of those victories came against an FCS school. So why on Earth isn't Miami favored in this matchup? Well, besides the fact that Marshall stomped the 'Hawks 52-14 a week ago, this is the same Kentucky team that beat Kent State 47-14 last season. Yes, the same Kent State team that went on to win the MAC East.
Now granted, teams change from year to year, and Miami certainly has. There's no Zac Dysert, which was made painfully obvious in Miami's Week 1 loss to Marshall. Austin Boucher, completed less than 50 percent of his passes for 165 yards.
Miami's defense, which was arguably their strong suit heading into last week, was torched by Marshall to the tune of 591 yards. This week Dayonne Nunley and the crew get a test from a Wildcats offense that put up 419 on Western Kentucky in Week 1. The Wildcats lost that game, but put up stellar rushing numbers.
Running backs Raymond Sanders and Jalen Whitlow combined for 173 yards on the ground on 21 carries. On the opposite end of things Miami's top three running backs Austin Geary, Spencer Treadwell and Dawan Scott week combined for 63 total rushing yards. That was against a defense that finished near the bottom in total defense last year. Now the RedHawks will try and improve on those numbers against an SEC defense, that even at the bottom half of the SEC is still better than a lot of other D's. It's a tall task for a team still searching for an identity in the post-Dysert era.
The game kickoffs at noon, and can be seen on Fox Sports Net, or streamed live on ESPN3.