Heading into Week 8, Miami and Kent State will be vying for their second wins of the season. The Golden Flashes (1-6, 0-3) are looking to win their second game in a row following a 39-17 trouncing of Army. The RedHawks (1-7, 1-3), on the other hand, are coming off of a tough 51-41 loss at Northern Illinois. Here's what you need to know before tuning in.
After playing five of their last six games on the road, the RedHawks get to play three of their final four games at home, beginning with this Saturday's contest versus Kent State. The last time Miami played at Yeager Stadium, they won a thriller against UMass to break the longest losing streak in the nation at 21 games.
Coach Chuck Martin's squad is led by 5th year senior quarterback Andrew Hendrix, who has continued to throw all over his opponents. He has amassed at least 230 yards in the air in every game this season except Week 3's loss at Michigan. In addition, Hendrix has topped 340 yards in each of the past three games. His 2,477 passing yards place him at 7th in the country. The receiver most targeted by Hendrix is senior David Frazier, who has racked up 794 yards on the season and is 9th in the nation for that mark. Miami's air raid offense has tallied 309.6 yards per game this year.
The Notre Dame transfer has also been a force on the ground, looking good on scrambles and designed runs alike. He was Miami's leading rusher again last week, accumulating 78 yards and 3 touchdowns by way of his legs. Kent State's rushing defense is dead last in the MAC, so look for Hendrix to exploit their inability to contain opposing runners.
With a weak rushing defense, Kent State's tough pass defense is going to need to step up and challenge the RedHawks' go-to approach. The Golden Flashes are 3rd in the MAC in passing defense, allowing an average of 221.7 passing yards per game. They are certainly capable of bringing a halt to Miami's aerial attack. Anchoring the defense is sophomore safety Nate Holley. Holley has been a beast in the defensive secondary, racking up 91 total tackles so far, good for 3rd in the country.
Another notable performer to mention is Nick Cuthbert, also a sophomore safety. Cuthbert, a transfer from Georgia Tech, made his first career start last week against Army and had 16 tackles. He was named MAC East Defensive Player of the Week for the effort.
On the other side of the ball, Kent State is led by quarterback Colin Reardon. The sophomore has completed 145 of his 256 passes (56.6%) for 1587 yards. Reardon has 9 TDs and 9 INTs. A majority of the interceptions, however, have come from tough non-conference opponents - three at Ohio State and three at Virginia. Reardon threw for 360 yards and 3 touchdowns last week versus Army. Miami's defense is backed by senior defensive back Jarrell Jones, who leads the team in tackles with 66.
Quinten Rollins, the former RedHawk basketball star, will also be a threat for Reardon. Rollins has been a great defender in his first year of college football; he has 4 interceptions and has defended 12 passes. There has even been talk of the possibility of Rollins playing on Sundays in the future.
Believe it or not, this is likely to be the best matchup between two one-win teams you'll see all season.