It’s hard to comprehend, but Miami has lost to an FCS opponent three of the last four seasons, with this season’s 21-17 loss to Eastern Illinois being the worst of the bunch when you consider the kind of progress the program has made and the way the team performed last week at Iowa. Is there any positives that can come from this game? Well...
- Too many undisciplined penalties. The RedHawks’ penalty woes came back with a vengeance this week to the tune of 12 infractions for 89 yards, including a targeting call late in the game that gave the Panthers life on their way to the go-ahead score. It doesn’t matter how young the team is; you can’t win football games when you give teams that much yardage.
- Miami lost the game in the red zone. The defense for the ‘Hawks continued to struggle as the Panthers converted four trips inside the 20-yard line while the offense scored a touchdown in the red zone only once in three trips. The Red and White have to be more efficient in those situations, or it’ll be another long year in Oxford.
- Third downs did them no favors either. EIU converted nine of 15 third downs on offense, while Miami went 5/12 in that situation. Eastern Illinois was able to make plays when it mattered on offense and got off the field on defense; it’s hard to beat any team like that.
- The end-of-game clock management was horrific. When the Panthers kicked off after scoring to make it just a 17-14 Miami lead, the RedHawks had an opportunity to run off some clock and make things difficult for an offense that didn’t throw the ball well at all. After holding and personal foul calls put the ball on their own 4-yard line, MU ran the ball on first down but consecutive incompletions and a put gave the Panthers the ball at midfield with 2:35 left as well as timeouts. Miami would have been better off with three straight runs, or even taking a safety and making EIU sustain a drive for the win.
- Billy Bahl needs to figure out that short competions are okay. Going for 250 yards and two scores is nice, but doing it on 13 of 22 when your team needs to sustain drives is really a double-edged sword. It’s nice to get the 51-yard touchdown to Rokeem Williams, but you have to consistently manage the offense to put your team in good position, which is hard with as few attempts as Bahl will get in this offense since Chuck Martin is never going to want him to throw 40+ times a game, for better or worse.