This Week’s Matchup
Miami University and Bowling Green State University will square-off this Saturday at 2:30 p.m. at Miami’s annual Family Weekend game in Oxford, Ohio. Opening kick is set for 2:30 p.m.
The matchup with the Falcons will be carried live on ESPN3. Jim Barber will handle play-by-play duties, with Doug Graber serving as the color analyst.
In its 11th year of its partnership with IMG College, the Miami Sports Network continues its coverage of Miami Football with a group of affiliates blanketing most of Southwest Ohio and Southeast Indiana. “The Voice of the RedHawks” Steve Baker will deliver the play-by-play coverage, while Terry Bridge will provide color commentary. Randy Hollowell will be the network’s sideline reporter. Tune-in to one of Miami’s gameday affiliates:
WMOH-AM 1450 (Hamilton, Ohio)
WFMG-FM 101.3 (Richmond, Ind.)
WDBZ-AM 1230 (Cincinnati, Ohio)
WONE-AM 980 (Dayton, Ohio)
WKBV-AM 1490 and 100.9 FM (Richmond, Ind.)
Live stats for the contest can be found at www.miamiredhawks.com
Need To Know
• Miami football ranks first all-time in the Mid-American Conference in wins (681), MAC Championships (15) and bowl wins (7).
• In 127 years of Miami football, the RedHawks have had just 33 losing seasons. Since joining the MAC in 1948 (67 years), Miami has had just 16 losing seasons.
About Chuck Martin
• Head coach Chuck Martin, who earned that title on Dec. 3, 2013, brings an impressive resume to Oxford, Ohio.
• Not only was he 74-7 in six years at Grand Valley State (2004-09), he has coached in seven national championship games in the past 16 seasons. Martin has an all-time head coaching record of 87-35.
• He has twice been named the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) National Coach of the Year and has been a coordinator on both sides of the ball.
• Martin was inducted into the Hall of Fame at Grand Valley State University on Oct. 23, 2015.
About Bowling Green
Bowling Green enters Saturday’s contest with an 0-5 record, which includes a 34-23 loss at home last weekend to Akron to begin MAC play. James Morgan is one of three quarterbacks to play for BGSU this season and leads the Falcons with 785 yards passing and four touchdowns. Defensively, Bowling Green allows 35.4 points and 511.4 yards per game, but have forced 12 takeaways this season (10 fumble recoveries).
Series vs. Bowling Green
Miami is 43-23-5 all time versus Bowling Green, including a 21-13-1 record in contests in Oxford, Ohio. After not seeing each other in 2014 or 2015, Miami traveled to Bowling Green last season and walked away with a 40-26 victory, but the last time these two teams played in Oxford, the Falcons won 45-3, back in 2013.
Notre Dame Recap
Notre Dame scored two touchdowns in the first four minutes of the game and racked up 503 yards of offense en route to a 52-17 win last Saturday. In the loss, Gus Ragland threw for 262 yards and two scores. His top target was James Gardner, who came away with five catches for 115 yards and two scores versus the Irish.
Over the past four years, Miami had not received much attention in preseason honors. That has changed in a big way this year. Heath Harding was named to three different watch lists (Bronco Nagurski, Jim Thorpe and Bednarik), Danny Godlevske was honored by the Rimington Trophy, James Gardner earned two awards (Wuerffel and Biletnikoff) and Ryan Smith was named to the John Mackey Watch List.
While Miami’s roster is finally starting to trend toward upper-classmen, the youth of this roster is still shocking. Coming into the 2017 season Miami has 124 players on its roster and just 12 seniors. Roster breakdown includes: Sixth-year seniors (1), fifth-year seniors (5), seniors (6), red-shirt juniors (19), juniors (13), red-shirt sophomores (16), sophomores (9), red-shirt freshmen (22) and freshmen (33).
Saturday’s contest will begin a seven-game stretch of games versus MAC opponents, something that has been right in Miami’s wheelhouse. Dating back to Oct. 14, 2016, Miami has won seven straight MAC games, including the final six last year and a 31-14 win over Central Michigan on Sept. 23.
Close to 4-1?
You are what your record says you are, but the RedHawks could easily be 4-1 this season. In the loss to Marshall Miami surrendered two kickoffs for touchdowns and a pick-6, yet still had a chance to come away with the win, but failed to convert on a 41-yard Hail Mary as time expired. In the loss to Cincinnati, Miami was up 17-6 with just under four minutes to play, but fell 21-17.
Taking Its Time
Through five games this season Miami ranks 20th in the country in time of possession, holding onto the ball for an average of 33:17 per game. In the opener versus Marshall Miami had the ball for 35:44 and followed that up a week later with a time of possession of 35:31 versus Austin Peay. Against UC, Miami had the ball for just 29:40 and recorded a time of possession of 29:59 in the win over CMU. Last week at Notre Dame, Miami possessed the ball for 35:33.
Miami’s defense currently ranks 48th in the nation in total defense (349.2) and 64th in scoring (25.6), but even that doesn’t tell the entire story. Versus Marshall, the Thundering Herd had two special teams TD’s and a pick-six and the Bearcats added a pick-6 in that contest as well. If you were to remove those 28 points, the Miami defense would rank 32nd in the country, allowing just 20.0 points per game. All of these numbers include allowing 52 points and 503 yards last week at Notre Dame. If you were to remove the Notre Dame contest, this Miami defensive numbers are startling.
Mostly Tweetable Defensive Notes
• Overall, the Miami defense has allowed just 100 points in five games.
• Miami has six interceptions and three forced fumbles this year, which ranks 29th in the nation in turnovers forced.
• The opponent has reached the Miami red zone just 13 times this season, coming away with five touchdowns (38.5%) and four field goals (30.8%). Overall, the Miami red zone defense ranks 16th in the nation (68%).
• Miami has also forced three turnovers in the red zone.
Gardner Coming Out Strong
James Gardner entered 2017 with high expectations after finishing as a third-team All-MAC player a year ago, with 45 catches for 750 yards and six touchdowns. This season he has 21 catches for 409 yards and four scores, while averaging 19.5 yards per catch.
Meet Luke Mayock
Filling in for an injured James Gardner versus UC was redshirt sophomore Luke Mayock. Mayock had not seen much time the first two games, but that may now change. Versus the Bearcats, Mayock had career highs in catches (4), yards (74) and his first career touchdown.
Nothing But The Best
Seeing his first extended action of his career, freshman Jaylon Bester showed he belonged last week at Notre Dame. Bester recorded 189 total yards, including 163 yards on seven kick returns. He added 26 rushing yards on five carries versus the No. 22 team in the country.
In Gus We Trust
After beginning last season 0-6, head coach Chuck Martin turned to quarterback Gus Ragland. Ragland led Miami to six straight wins over Kent State, Bowling Green, Eastern Michigan, Central Michigan, Buffalo and Ball State. The now junior quarterback finished last season, throwing for 1,537 yards, 17 touchdowns and just one interception.
Nice Way to Start a Career
Ragland began his career by throwing 203 consecutive passes before throwing an interception late in the contest versus Mississippi State in the 2016 St. Petersburg Bowl. In all, the Cincinnati, Ohio native has thrown just four interceptions in 362 career pass attempts (1 INT every 90.5 pass attempts). In fact, Miami is 8-0 in games in which Ragland does not throw and interception and 0-4 when he throws it to the other team.
→ Verbally commits to Miami on Dec. 13, 2013
→ Redshirted the 2014 season and played 86 snaps in 2015.
→ Suffered an ACL injury in April of 2016 during a spring football practice.
→ Came back to start versus Kent State on Oct. 15, 2016 and won six straight games and helped Miami reach a bowl game.
Ragland Versus The MAC
Junior quarterback Gus Ragland is 7-0 in his career versus teams from the Mid-American Conference. In those seven games Ragland has completed 104-168 passes (61.9%) for 1,491 yards, 17 touchdowns and zero interceptions.