The Miami RedHawks downed the Buffalo Bulls 35-24 on the strength of its defense as it held UB to six of 16 on third down while De’Andre Montgomery recorded a pair of defensive touchdowns on the day. Miami was outplayed on offense, but it managed the game well enough to win and that’s all you need to do. What were the big takeaways? Let’s dive in!
1. Buffalo is on the cusp of being a major player in the MAC. The defense made it hard for one of the hottest teams in the league to move the ball and have some interesting pieces on offense with Tyree Jackson and Jordan Johnson. The program needs another year or so to shore up their other deficiencies, but you have to be impressed with the progress that the program is making if you’re a Bulls fan.
2. The running game continues to be key for Miami. Gus Ragland didn’t have an amazing passing day, but the ‘Hawks ground game picked him up with 204 rushing yards with 5.2 yards per carry as Alonzo Smith led the way with 91 yards on seven carries. When you get into November and are playing in must-win games, you need to be able to run the ball and find a way to win, which is what Miami is finally capable of doing.
3. The loss of Smieciak hurt the team on Saturday. The suspension of Zach Smierciak needed to happen based on what we know about what he did, but the drop-off was apparent against Buffalo as back-up Austin Gearing started in Smierciak’s stead a only had one tackle in the game. With Smierciak likely to be away from the program for at least the duration of the season, the team needs to find an answer at that spot or getting to six wins could be highly problematic with Ball State’s running game.
4. A trip to Detroit is still in play for the ‘Hawks. With a win against the Cardinals, Miami would need Ohio to lose at Central Michigan (which is possible) and against Akron (which is less possible) in order to win the MAC East. While it may be hard to see the RedHawks representing the division against Western Michigan, there is plenty of #MACtion left in the season and nothing is off the table yet.
5. Ragland played well enough to win. He wasn’t quite #BigGameGus, but he accounted for 150 total yards, three touchdowns, and still hasn’t thrown an interception this season. The fumble returned for a touchdown wasn’t ideal, but his defense took care of him with a couple of scores of their own and he managed the rest of the game well.