In a game where total offensive yards held almost no relation to points on the scoreboard, Miami took care of business in their home and season opener by taking down FCS Presbyterian 26-7.
Presbyterian came out strong, quickly forcing a Miami punt before driving inside the RedHawk 10 yard-line. Before the Blue Hose could take an early lead, however, Miami forced a fumble in the end zone that was recovered by sophomore safety Tony Reid. The RedHawks then put together an 80-yard drive and scored on a touchdown pass to 6-foot-6, 226 pound redshirt freshman Chris Hudson, his first career reception.
Again, Presbyterian had a solid drive but came up empty. Blue Hose quarterback Tamyn Garrick led an eight play, 69-yard campaign only to be picked off by Reid in the end zone. After that threat, the RedHawks defense buckled down, allowing just 48 yards on the next four Presbyterian drives. The one drive Presbyterian didn't give up the ball, they missed a 27-yard field goal. The RedHawks would add another touchdown after a 38-yard pass to Hudson followed by a 1-yard plunge by redshirt freshman running back Alonzo Smith.
What happened next was interesting. On the extra point attempt, a misplayed hold forced kicker Kaleb Patterson to stutter-step before eventually still trying to get the kick off. With no momentum, his kick went right into the hands of the Presbyterian line. The score would remain 13-0 going into half.
During the 3rd quarter, lightning forced yet another game to delay. When play resumed, Presbyterian came out and drove down to spoil the shutout attempt. Assisted by a pass interference call in the end zone, sophomore Darrell Bridges ran two yards around the right end to make the score 13-7.
After the Blue Hose touchdown, the RedHawks defense showed life again, allowing only 17 yards on the next Presbyterian drive. Miami got the ball back on their own 22 yard line and scored in just 18 seconds on a 26-yard rush by redshirt freshman Kenny Young followed by a 52-yard pass to redshirt junior Rokeem Williams. A failed 2-point conversion kept score 19-7. Smith would find the end zone again following a measly 7-yard drive by Presbyterian, making it 26-7.
Miami came into the season with a loosely defined starting quarterback, but fifth year senior Drew Kummer was listed as the number one. Kummer took his first career start and ran with it, completing 14 of 19 for 255 yards and 2 touchdowns. The offensive line provided excellent protection, but in the rare cases it did allow gaps, Kummer was able to scramble and save plays. He finished with 6 rushes for 35 yards.
Gus Ragland, coming off his redshirt year, was 2 of 3 for 7 yards. Billy Bahl, the true freshman who held offers from most of the B1G, got two plays; one being a bad snap that he had to jump on and the other a failed screen play that lost a yard.
His favorite target on the night was the redshirt sophomore Jared Murphy, who hauled in five passes for 101 yards. Williams and Hudson caught for 51 and 48 yards, respectively. The RedHawk contingent of redshirt freshmen running backs made the run game look promising, as Alonzo Smith had 89 yards and 2 scores while Kenny Young finished with 59 yards. Smith averaged seven yards per carry.
For Presbyterian, Garrick was 14 of 27 for 163 yards and an interception. Bridges had a solid performance rushing, as he totaled 126 yards and one score. Garrick favored junior Daryl Wilson, hitting him five times for 86 yards.
The RedHawks looked solid on offense, as the run game opened up and Kummer kept making great passes through the air. The defense was impressive at times, but Presbyterian's first two drives (one for 58 yards and the other for 69) saw the Blue Hose picking apart the Miami secondary.
They did, however, step up and force stops when they had their backs against the wall -- something that was not seen last season. While the turnovers made for an ugly first half of football on both sides, the RedHawks especially looked much better on both sides of the ball coming out of halftime.
Miami travels to Wisconsin next Saturday, September 12th at noon and will be back at home on September 19th against rival Cincinnati at 3:30 p.m.