MACtion and the B1G clash this weekend on a few fronts, one of which will take place at noon on Saturday, September 12th in Madison, Wisconsin. The Badgers welcome a Miami team coming off a win with FCS Presbyterian last week. Wisconsin is currently a 33-point favorite predicted to put up 53 on the 'Hawks defense.
The key to this game, from Miami's standpoint, will be to bring back those impressive defensive drives we saw last week. Granted, the Presbyterian offense is no comparison to what the Badgers will bring, but Miami showed flashes of outstanding run defense and impressive pass defense. This is in part because of an experienced defense that returns eight starters. Quinten Rollins will prove tough to replace, but guys like junior Heath Harding and sophomore Tony Reid. The huge question mark going into the season involved the quarterback position, as well as the offense as a whole. Redshirt senior Drew Kummer was ultimately named the starter just before the game. In his first career start, Kummer completed 14 of 19 passes (73.7%) for 255 yards. He tossed two TDs without an interception. Kummer had all day in the pocket. The offensive line did not allow a sack, or much pressure at all for that matter. Last year's fans were used to seeing former QB Andrew Hendrix have to improvise and scramble, but it was something that Hendrix was good at an used to his advantage. Kummer, whose two scores were double what he has in his career, showed great poise in the pocket and his passes were right on the money all night.
This young RedHawks team had plenty of young players impact the game. In fact, 62 of the 110 players on the Miami roster are freshmen or redshirt freshmen. The running back contingent of Alonzo Smith and Kenny Young -- both seeing their first action -- contributed heavily to the improved Miami run game. Smith had an especially impressive debut, as he ran for 86 yards and two touchdowns. Jared Murphy received for 101 yards and redshirt freshman Chris Hudson looked good as well.
Wisconsin's game against Alabama did not go as well as they would have hoped, as they were handily beaten 35-17. Senior Joel Stave continues at quarterback, and threw for 228 yards and two touchdowns with only one pick against an exceptional (as always) Crimson Tide defense. While Stave looked good, the run game was stuffed by Alabama. The Badgers rushed for a measly 40 yards last weekend. Junior Corey Clement had eight carries for a simple 16 yards. If Miami is to keep this game close, they will need to bring that impressive rush defense back and then some.
One of the keys to this game for Miami will be keeping their cool when things get tough. Kummer had has first career start against an FCS opponent last weekend, and his second career start will come in front of over 80,000 people at Camp Randall this weekend. This game is predicted to be a blowout, which is no surprise. The RedHawks do, however, have a great chance to show what their new squad is made of.