After a 31-0 loss in South Bend, I doubt many teams would want to face the Michigan Wolverines in Week 3. I also seriously doubt that Miami is at a point in its development as a football team to be facing a team of that caliber this early in the season, but it's not like the RedHawks have much of a say in the matter. As head coach Chuck Martin has explained the previous two weeks, his team will keep building and worrying about their own play.
Depending on your point of view, there could be quite a few fires to be put out. Six turnovers (four of which came in the second half) and a loss to FCS opponent Eastern Kentucky last Saturday is at the forefront of this concern for the Red and White, and a
9-game 13-game 18-game winless streak (really, that many?) is far and away the worst such drought in college football. The next closest? Austin Peay of the FCS has lost its last 13.
That being said, it's not all doom and gloom in Oxford. Andrew Hendrix's 677 passing yards are good for 11th in the nation, and his four TD's through the air in two games look Hall of Fame-worthy when compared to the 1491 yard, eight TD season that the committee of RedHawk quarterbacks compiled in 2013. Two receivers, Rokeem Williams and David Frazier, are averaging over 100 yards per game at the moment, a stat line that I would have trouble believing to be real had I not witnessed each catch with my own eyes.
So the moral of the story is that things could be worse so far this season, and while this cynic would like to point out that Miami is 0-2, the cautious optimist in me knows that Miami is slowly working out the kinks, sewing together a patchwork identity and attempting to forge an identity from bitter disappointments past. The upcoming game versus Michigan will likely be an exercise in futility as far as the win/loss column is concerned, but that is of little concern to the RedHawks, and Martin is excited about the opportunity to lead a team into a hostile work environment to let it all hang out. And if Miami is excited, you can bet Michigan is ecstatic;on paper, the Wolverines could not have picked a better opponent against which to bounce back. Devin Gardner isn't likely to replicate his 189-yard, three-interception passing performance from last week and an angry pack of Wolverines awaits in the Big House this Saturday, where Michigan holds a 5-0 all-time record over the 'Hawks.
I could throw out some more stats about how Miami's defense looked strong last week and how Michigan's secondary suffered, or how U of M has sustained a few injuries, but it likely won't matter. The Maize and Blue are too strong and too embarrassed from last week's shutout (the first they've suffered since 1984) to come out unprepared against the Miami. This will be a nice contest to dip back into a competitive rhythm for the Wolverines, but it will also be a quality measuring stick for the RedHawks as they continue to try chipping away at the point differential of competitive opponents each week.
"I'm very disappointed for the kids, not in the kids," Martin explained in a press conference Monday. "They played their tails off [against Eastern Kentucky] and they're getting better, but we've got a ways to go."