The last time Miami won a football game was a thriller over then No. 23 Ohio back on October 27, 2012. That’s 97 weeks since the RedHawks have tasted victory. And it will be, at the very least, one more week until they get a chance to end the dry spell, because the Red and White snatched defeat from the jaws of victory against the Colonels of Eastern Kentucky Saturday afternoon in a 17-10 heartbreaker.
Miami wasted no time finding the end zone to start the game - senior quarterback Andrew Hendrix and sophomore wide out Jared Murphy got together on a 40-yard touchdown pass just 59 seconds into the game. The RedHawks led at half 7-3 and dominated the stats sheet, posting big passing numbers; 248, to be exact. But as time wasted away in the second half, the Colonels hung around and kept the pressure on Miami. Six turnovers and two botched kick returns gave EKU enough chances to claw back into the game, and a 43-yard trick pass from junior wide receiver Jeff Glover with just 4:43 remaining was the difference. Chants of "FCS" that were liberally hurled at the Eastern Kentucky sideline by the Miami student section for the duration of the game were quickly embraced and sent back by the winning visitors, who claimed their first win against a Mid-American Conference member since the 2000 season.
"We’re disappointed in the outcome," Miami head coach Chuck Martin explained in the post-game press conference. "[Eastern Kentucky] created their own destiny, but they took advantage of some things that we did ... I’m very disappointed in myself. As the head coach and offensive coordinator, you don’t have to look much further. I didn’t have it today."
Miami’s defense was more than competent throughout, as it held EKU to 12 first downs, 280 yards of total offense, and a mere 82 rushing yards on 32 attempts. A pick-six from junior cornerback Stanley Absanon was one of the team’s two touchdowns, and other than the circus play that put Eastern ahead for the first time all game, Miami’s defensive squad looked in fine form.
Junior linebacker Kent Kern finished with 10 tackles, and senior defensive back Quinten Rollins came up with a Sportscenter-worthy interception. But the three interceptions and three fumbles that were committed by the ‘Hawks will surely be the focus of game film on Monday morning. As Martin put it, bluntly:
"We didn’t do diddly in the fourth quarter."
It’s soul-searching times for Miami. After a winless 2013, things were looking up after winning the second half in a close contest against Marshall. But after the giveaway of what was perhaps the easiest game on their schedule, the RedHawks and their fans are left scratching their heads, asking what could have been.
It looks like the RedHawks will have to wait at least one more week for that long-elusive victory.