The Miami RedHawks (2-1) were in desperate need of a win after their 42-10 shellacking at the hands of Buffalo, and they most certainly got one as they overpowered the Akron Zips 38-7 on the road. It was the ‘Hawks fourth consecutive win over Akron and they have a chance to finish the season with one loss, which would be an accomplishment considering what all was working against them this season. There’s certainly a lot to talk about as it relates to the rest of the season, so let’s get started.
Big Game Brett
Brett Gabbert finally returned to the starting lineup since Week 1, and he responded in a big way as he went 18/27 for 308 yards and four touchdowns. Gabbert led the nation this week with a QBR of 97.6, which is awfully impressive for a true sophomore in his second start of the season. AJ Mayer is a fine QB and did what he could, but Gabbert elevates the play of everybody in the offense and has injected some life into Miami with two games left on the schedule.
Return of the Receivers
The wide-outs for the RedHawks did not have a strong showing against Buffalo, but they showed up big-time against Akron as Jack Sorenson hauled in eight passes for 177 yard and four scores while Mac Hippenhammer made his Miami debut with five receptions for 77 yards. Sorenson has battled through a lot of ailments during his college career, so it’s nice to see him have a monster game with Miami’s back against the wall.
Nowhere to Run
The only disappointment from the offensive side of the ball was the inability to be explosive in the running game. Against a team that’s rebuilding like Akron, you’d like to see more than 108 yards at a 4.0 yards-per-carry clip. There’s going to a be a time where you need to be able to run the ball, and Miami needs to be able to win those types of games with the players that they do have.
The Red Wave
Miami’s defense was as close to dominant as you could get in modern college football on Saturday as the ‘Hawks recorded seven sacks, completely shut down Teon Dollard, and held the Zips to 3/11 on third down. Granted, Akron doesn’t quite have the offensive firepower that Ball State and Buffalo has, but the defense needed to show some progress ahead of their matchup with Kent State and it certainly showed that against Akron.
With the Ohio game cancelled, Miami’s probably not going to repeat as East Division champions (barring a catastrophic meltdown from Buffalo). With that in mind, the RedHawks can still manage to have a successful season if they’re able to put it all together as a team this Saturday against a Kent State team that presents a challenge for Miami. If the Red and White are able to finish the season at 4-1 with all the injuries on the offensive side of the ball, it would really speak volumes about where Miami is at as a sustainable program.