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Miami 35, MTSU 21: Denouement Without Explanation

You're well aware of the historic turnaround Miami just made in this bowl victory, because interim coach Lance Guidry just blew your mind:

They went from 10-plus losses to 10-plus wins. One win and eleven losses in 2009, followed by 10 wins and four losses in 2010-11.

It matters not in the slightest that on their 10th win, they finally scored 35 points in a game. (Their previous high, 31 against Colorado State.) So what if they got clobbered by AQ conference teams? So what if they're not considered a "great" team? They won their last six games, including two they shouldn't have, and despite their esteemed coach leaving the school (and with it, his esteem), they went the distance.

What also helped, of course, was Dwight Dasher interceptions — four of them.

The game was messy, messy, messy. When there wasn't a one-yard punt, there was a goofy fumble. Or a blocked kick. Or a failed gangtackle that went for a 50-yard touchdown. Or a runback littered with missed tackles. Or a sack. Or a penalty. Or two penalties on one play, which didn't offset each other.

Great plays were had, but they were either (a) at the expense of, or (b) set up because of key mistakes. Ergo, good on Austin Boucher for leading the offense, Thomas Merriweather for continuing his inspired end-of-the-season running, Dayonne Nunley with that beauteous interception return touchdown, and the offensive line for containing Jamari Lattimore and living with just the one sack allowed.

But, gang, this needs to be repeated — this was not how they won all year. If they were scoring 30 a night, had flashy running numbers and forced 4-5 turnovers routinely, then all of this sudden success would make sense. Instead we're going to step away from the computer with absolutely no understanding of how Miami RedHawks football won 10 games. Then again, the fans probably don't give a shit about "how" it happened. Just that it did.

This brings us to the end of the MAC football season, two days before MAC basketball begins conference games. It's the only redeeming placement of this game on January 6, although Guidry's speech coupled with a two-touchdown win by the conference champion helped. Our fair conference finished 2-2 against the country in bowls, the first time they brought home two bowl trophies in one swoop since 2004. Maybe this will all make more sense in the coming months as we have time to think and breathe and perhaps — if necessary — love.