The legend of the RedHawks continues to grow. #GoGusGo
We can deny it no longer (I, Kaleb, was the only one denying it anyway). Miami is good y'all. At least, as far as the MAC is concerned. There are plenty of lunchables to unpack about Miami this week.
While yes, Central Michigan is falling apart at the seams, Miami is mowing through the competition in the MAC like 0-6 is nothing more than an afterthought.
I guess we can start with the question: Why the hell is Miami winning?
Kaleb: No but really, it's unarguably impressive what the RedHawks have done the past four weeks. When I saw Miami at Kinnick Stadium in the Hawkeyes' home opener, I was impressed by what I saw from that team in terms of immeasurables like guts and glory. As far as actual substance? A competitive defense that was just outgunned, plenty of play-makers at each position group on defense and an offense with plenty of tools that has only gotten better under the leadership of the immaculate Gus Ragland.
Suffice to say, we are ALL surprised that the RedHawks still have a chance to win the MAC East, even knowing that is just bucket full of silly putty, but there are plenty of things to point to.
Justin, what about this team has stuck out to you most?
Justin: So here's the thing with Miami, they might actually just be a good football team that was hiding in plain sight.
They had close losses to WKU and Cincinnati (and yes, I understand they were brutally outgained in the latter) and outside of Iowa and Akron, they've never really been blown out of any games. Seems to me they were always one piece away from being a good football team and even a bowl eligible team, and Gus Ragland ended up being that piece.
And what has Ragland brought to the table?
He's taking care of the football.
In this four-game winning streak, the RedHawks have turned the football over just three times, and have zero multi-turnover games
The four games prior to that, obviously all losses, the Hawks gave the other team the football 12 TIMES. A bold strategy, cotton, and it did NOT pay off for them.
You combine more efficient football with the talent they have on defense, you basically have a mirror image of Ohio.
Kaleb: With more talent in the secondary but not so much along the front seven. Don't get me wrong, Miami has plenty of that, but not so much as the leading run defenders in the conference.
But let's just take a look back at the last few games shall we?
Kaleb: Akron was the last time we can say that Miami looked bad, and even in that game they were competitive early.
Justin: Turnovers killed them. Couldn't turn Akron over, but gave it away three times in the second half alone. That's a good way to get beat.
Kaleb: Right. Then the 'Hawks go into Kent and pull out an 18-14 lead that sort of just left us like "alright let's move on here, nothing to see but #HolleyTime" But the Hawks picked off Holley twice. You could brush that aside if you wanted to, but it paved the way to consistently winning the turnover battle which reminds us of, as you noted, Ohio's formula for victory
Justin:I'm glad you brought up Holley Time.
Becauase there's a hint of that here in what's going on with Ragland. Part of Kent State's improved play of late is owed in part to the fact that they're simply running more plays through their quarterback. Ragland hasn't been gashing anybody on the ground, but the increased role of the quarterback seems to be contributing to the limited turnovers.
Simply, Ragland isn't throwing interceptions, which his predecessors Noah Wezensky and Billy Bahl couldn't seem to avoid.
Kaleb: So then the 'Hawks go into Bowling Green against another team that is admittedly horrible.
And they run for over 200 yards as Kenny Young begins to demonstrate his prowess for the big play. Something that has happened a few times recently
James Gardner is heightening his game big-time at this point, and the RedHawks force three INT's.
Justin: This is all so surreal to me. This is a six-win football team and, look, I know everyone's on the P.J. Fleck and Chris Creighton hype train right now, but should we have some consideration for Chuck Martin as coach of the year, or is that giving too much credit to a guy that started 0-6 in the first place?
Kaleb: Can we have a latter-half COTY? Because Martin picks up that shiny half-hardware without competition. What Fleck is doing is being respected by all of us across the board because we know how much has gone into making that program great.
You probably have more thoughts than I on the Miami victory over EMU.
Justin: You mean CMU??
Kaleb: No we'll get to that.
Justin: EMU was, to that point, the best game played by Miami all year. They gained 405 yards on one of the MAC's better defenses, and held the football for over 34 minutes
They even average over five yards per carry on a defense that just a few weeks ago was only allowing just over three per carry on the ground.
Oh, and they only had two penalties! You have a well coached team that isn't turning the ball over with some young talent and voila, road win!
Kaleb: It would be easy to say something to the extent of "EMU showed its true colors" but I believe you would be incorrect in your assessment in such a case.
Miami is showing that the direction of its program is undoubtedly going up, and has thrown a metaphorical spear through the face of the doubters (Like the imagery?) A win over an upward trending EMU is nothing short of impressive. Miami jumped on top and showed on the road that the EMU offense wasn't fit to compete against the flying high Miami defense.
Justin: You know what they say about assumptions, and operating under the one that treats Miami like a bad football team is a dumb one. This isn't a bad football team anymore, and hell, they may not have ever been all that bad (FCS losses aside).
So it should come as no surprise - and this is my favorite part of this conversation - that they completely dismantled Central Michigan on Friday. It was pure domination
I mean, Central didn't score in the second half
And Kenny Young. My lord what a jolt of energy he's been.
Kaleb: Seriously though
ALL HE DOES IS RIP OFF A BIG ONE AT LEAST ONE A GAME
Ragland was so incredibly efficient in this game. 13-21 for four touchdowns, no interceptions. he ran for 75 yards too.
Justin: Doesn't get much better than that. Buffalo and Ball State await. Pack your bags, RedHawks fans, you're going bowling.
Kaleb: They better at this point.
Justin: Regardless, got to be feeling great if you're a Miami fan. Future looks real bright.