It’s hard to learn a lot from a blowout, but there’s some things that we should probably consider after the Miami RedHawks pummeled the Kent State Golden Flashes 31-6 on Saturday. With that in mind, let’s look at whether Miami can sustain this productivity for the rest of the season and whether Kent State can find some positives to build on from this game to possibly salvage the season.
The offensive line for Miami controlled the line of scrimmage for most of the game as the offense rushed for 295 yards and three scores on a staggering 51 carries. The rushing attack was a nice answer to the up-tempo offense of Kent State and the ‘Hawks nearly had a ten-minute advantage in the game. The five backs for MU each made an impact, headlined by Kenny Young and his 137 total yards and rushing score. The RB stable for the RedHawks might be the best in the MAC, and league defenses may be in trouble if Miami can establish the ground game early.
The Barrett Barrage
Not a lot went right for Kent State on Saturday, but Woody Barrett carried the offense as he accounted for 224 total yards and a rushing TD in garbage time. He had little protection as he suffered five sacks and his interception was the result of a tipped ball in the red zone. If Sean Lewis can figure out how to keep Barrett from taking shots and put him into position to read the defense, he can be a top-flight quarterback in this league.
The Great Wall of Miami
Miami’s defense has been a strength for the most part since entering MAC play and the trend continued on Saturday against the Flashes. MU’s five sacks were all generated by defensive linemen, which is big because you don’t have rely on the blitz to create pressure (particularly when you’re facing a dynamic quarterback like Barrett). Zedrick Raymond is established himself on the back end with two timely pass breakups which led to stops. If the defense continues to play well together as a unit, there’s not a lot of MAC offenses that are going to have much success against it.
Kicking and Screaming
Despite all of the success that Miami had on Saturday, the field goal unit has to be an area of concern going forward. Sam Sloman missed a 40-yard field goal on the last play of the third quarter after drilling a 42-yarder earlier in the game. After the problems with the kicking game against Western Michigan, there may become a scenario where the ‘Hawks are more aggressive in terms of going for it on fourth down in a tight game because of the doubt in the kicking game.
Garbage Time with the Flashes
The game Saturday got really interesting to me in the last drive of the game for KSU. After getting forced into a three-and-out by Miami’s second teamers, the Flashes made the decision to leave their starters in with barely over a minute to play to avoid the shutout and they would up scoring thanks to a slew of Miami penalties. As a fan, there’s no reason to leave your starters in the game at that point because it’s not like your guys are getting quality game reps; you’re going against guys who have no business playing snaps in a meaningful game (that’s why they’re out there in garbage time). I understand not wanting to get shutout, but you had your opportunities against the starting defense and you failed to score on all of them. This is not how you build a program; this is as bush league as bush league gets in college football. Lose with dignity, keep your guys healthy, and play the next game.