In a primetime nationally televised game, the Miami RedHawks impressed on Friday night with a 37-17 win over the Central Michigan Chippewas. It was a team win for the RedHawks, with 436 yards on offense, two turnovers forced on defense, and their only punt was downed inside the 20-yard line. On the other hand, the Chips were unable to get going on the ground and Cooper Rush had to carry the team again, although he did have some success. What were the five takeaways from this game, you ask? Let’s dig in together.
1. The quarterback job is Ragland’s to lose. The redshirt sophomore quarterback has gotten better and better in each of his starts in 2016, culminating with his performance against CMU where he had 218 passing yards, four passing touchdowns, and 60 rushing yards. He also did an excellent job of keeping the offense on the field as the team converted nine of 13 third downs. The winning streak has been impressive, and Big Game Gus has been a big reason for that.
2. The running game is peaking at the right time. You have to run the ball to win games in November, and Miami did that to great effectiveness against the Chippewas with 218 yards on 41 rushes. With that kind of commitment to the run, it makes everything easier for your team as you’re winning time of possession as well as setting up manageable downs for your quarterback. Five players got multiple carries Friday night, and splitting the workload like that is necessary if you expect to make a run and expect to play games after the regular season is over.
3. The ‘Hawks defense made CMU one dimensional. Central Michigan could not get much of anything on the ground, going for 50 yards on 21 rushes. Rush had to then take more risks in the passing game, which played into Miami’s hands with three sacks, four passes deflected, and an interception. The defense imposed its will, which is an awesome thing to see as young as the unit is.
4. The road ahead is now brutal for the Chips. As beat-up as they are, the Chippewas now have two huge match-ups to close the season that have MAC and bowl implications. The team hosts the MAC East leading Ohio Bobcats on Nov. 15 that could keep Miami alive for a trip to Detroit with a CMU win and has to head to Ypsilanti to take on the Eastern Michigan Eagles, who are also fighting for their bowling lives.
5. Miami still has an outside chance of making the MAC title game. Man, that’s a wierd sentence to type. Ohio has to lose to CMU and Akron, while the Red and White have to win out against a pair of up-and-down teams in Buffalo and Ball State. While the RedHawks should win the next two games, CMU and the Zips are in shambles right now and its hard to see the Bobcats losing to both of those teams. But bowl eligibility is nothing to turn your nose up at, especially when you consider the depths from whence this program came.