After a 26-3 drubbing against the Minnesota Golden Gophers for their third consecutive loss to open the season, the Miami RedHawks are in dire straights as they begin MAC play next week against the Bowling Green Falcons. There aren’t a lot of positives to take away from yesterday’s contest and the season would go off the rails with a loss to BG at home.
‘Hawks literally can’t get out of their own way
So, this was a thing that happened in Saturday’s game.
That's a @GopherFootball safety dance! pic.twitter.com/ignBett9Ct— Minnesota on BTN (@MinnesotaOnBTN) September 15, 2018
The game was still fairly competitive at this point, but this simple mistake tilted things into Minnesota’s favor. On top of getting the safety, the Gophers would add a touchdown before the end of the first half and put Miami in a hole that it couldn’t recover from. The team is going to have trouble beating any team if it can’t fix these simple mistakes.
Offense ineffective again
After a week where the team got shut out in a rivalry game, Miami didn’t do much better this week as it only saw one trip to the red zone and went 5-14 on third down. The running game earned an abysmal 91 yards (despite 50 of those yards coming from Davion Johnson), while Gus Ragland went 11-23 for 108 yards and an interception.
Gardner a non-factor
James Gardner was almost invisible on Saturday as he only recorded one catch for 15 yards. After the game against the Marshall Thundering Herd where he had some success, he hasn’t done much over the past two weeks and that has affected the offense. Miami needs him or another receiver to step up in the passing game or the offense will continue to struggle.
Defense was solid
Despite the offense’s ineptitude, the defense did its best to keep the team in the game. The unit limited Minnesota to 2.7 yards per carry, 177 yards passing, and recorded three sacks. DeAndre Montgomery had himself a career day with 15 tackles and a sack, and the RedHawks will need that kind of production in MAC play.
Another special teams battle lost
Part of the loss came down to Miami losing the field position battle. Minnesota’s punter pinned the ‘Hawks inside the 20-yard line four times as the Gophers had a pair of explosive returns (31 yards on punt, 29 yards on kickoff). Miami needs to find a way to win the field position battle next week if it wants to get its offense back on track.