A Battle of MAC Undefeateds as RedHawks Host Falcons in Homecoming Clash
Oct. 9, 2007
MIAMI HOSTS 91ST HOMECOMING GAME: Miami University celebrates its 91st annual Homecoming on Saturday, Oct. 13, with festivities including the RedHawks' football game against Bowling Green at 3 p.m. The Homecoming tradition began at Miami in 1914. Miami's football teams have an all-time record of 58-28-4 in Homecoming games. Homecoming Weekend begins with a parade at 6 p.m. on Friday. The parade route starts at the intersection of College Avenue and High Street, proceeds east on High Street to Tallawanda Road, then continues south, ending at the Millett Hall lawn. There will be a pep rally at Millett starting at 7 p.m.
IF MIAMI WINS ...: It would improve Miami's 2007 season record to 4-3, extending its winning streak to three ... it would improve MU's overall Mid-American Conference record to 3-0 and its MAC Divisional record to 2-0 ... it would be the RedHawks' second consecutive win at Yager Stadium.
64TH MEETING BETWEEN REDHAWKS AND FALCONS: A 9-7 Miami victory at Bowling Green last season (Nov. 15, 2006) gave the RedHawks their seventh series win in the last eight games. Since their very first meeting in 1941, Miami leads Bowling Green with 39 victories, 19 losses and five ties.
MAC SUPREMACY ON THE LINE SATURDAY: A pair of undefeated Mid-American Conference East Division teams take the field Saturday at Yager Stadium when unbeaten Miami (1-0) hosts Bowling Green (1-0). RedHawk defenders will face the nation's sixth-best passing team in the Falcons, led by quarterback Tyler Sheehan (315.8 passing yards per game). The winner will be tied at 2-0 with Buffalo in East Division play.
BOWLING GREEN HEAD COACH GREGG BRANDON (Northern Coloraco, `78) is in his fifth season guiding the Bowling Green Falcons and owns a 33-21 record at the helm of the program ... in his first two seasons as head coach, Brandon guided the Falcons to back-to-back bowl wins for just the second time in school history. Bowling Green defeated Northwestern in the 2003 Motor City Bowl and downed Memphis in the 2004 GMAC Bowl.
The RedHawks own a 39-19-5 series advantage and have won seven of the last eight meetings with the Falcons.
Although Miami lost its last meeting with Bowling Green in Yager Stadium, a 42-14 loss in 2005, the Red and White holds a 20-10-1 lead in the series when playing in Oxford.
Miami's last home win in the series was a 33-10 triumph in 2003. The teams met again that season in the MAC title game, which was held at Bowling Green.
Last season on a miserable night in which wind, rain, cold temperatures and poor field conditions often dictated the game, Miami scored twice in the second half to overcome a halftime deficit and down Bowling Green, 9-7, ending a three-game losing skid.
BEST MIAMI PERFORMANCES VS. BOWLING GREEN: In Miami's previous 63 games against Bowling Green, here are its top individual efforts:
INDIVIDUAL RUSHING: Chris Alexander, 210 yards (27-210, 1 TD) ... 10/28/89 INDIVIDUAL PASSING: Ben Roethlisberger, 440 yards (26-35-0-440, 4 TD) ... 12/4/03 INDIVIDUAL RECEIVING: Tom Murphy, 181 yards (9-181, 1 TD) ... 9/24/83
BIG BEN: In a pregame ceremony Saturday, Miami University will retire jersey number 7 in honor of one of its greatest athletes, football superstar Ben Roethlisberger. He becomes only the third athlete in Miami football history to have his number retired. The former RedHawk quarterback, now a star with the NFL's Pittsburgh Steelers, led Coach Terry Hoeppner's 2003 club to 13 consecutive victories, a Mid-American Conference Championship, and a victory in the GMAC Bowl. Roethlisberger earned Third-Team All-America honors during his record-breaking junior season. A three-time MVP at Miami, "Big Ben" smashed the school's passing records from 2001-03, achieving nearly unreachable career records of 10,829 passing yards and 84 touchdown passes. Among the special guests who are attending Saturday's ceremony will be his parents, Ken and Brenda Roethlisberger, and Jane Hoeppner, the wife of the late Terry Hoeppner. Also expected in attendance are the only other two Miami football players who have had their jersey numbers retired: Bob Hitchens (#40), a legendary running back who played from 1971-73, and John Pont (#42), who not only played for MU (1949-51) but also served as the school's head coach (1956-62). NOTE: THE PUBLIC IS URGED TO BE IN THEIR SEATS NO LATER THAN 2:40 P.M. TO WITNESS THE CEREMONY.
HOEPPNER PLAQUE: Terry Hoeppner, the beloved Miami coach who died this past summer, will be honored by the University on Saturday with a special commemorative plaque that will hang in the Cradle of Coaches Plaza. Hoeppner, who compiled a record of 48 wins and 25 losses from 1999-2004, will be represented by his wife, Jane.
SWITCHING SIDELINES: As a tribute to the support Miami University students have shown through the first two home games of 2007, Coach Shane Montgomery has announced that the RedHawk football team is switching sidelines for its final three games at Yager Stadium. Starting this Saturday, Miami will be stationed on the east sideline, opposite the press box.
ULTIMATE PRE-GAME PARTY: Tailgate Town's "Ultimate Pre-Game Party" will begin at 1 p.m. Saturday in the grassy area just north of Yager Stadium. Fans, young and old, can enjoy a free pre-game concert, great food, and free games, including a mechanical bull.
REDHAWK "RED-OUT": Miami University's athletic marketing staff is promoting Saturday's game at Yager Stadium as a "RedHawk Red-Out", and MU fans are being asked to wear red. Free t-shirts will be given out to the first 1,000 MU students who arrive.
KROGER BECOMES TICKET SOURCE FOR REDHAWK SPORTS: Miami University football fans can now purchase reserved-seating tickets to RedHawk football games at all 110 southwest-Ohio Kroger supermarkets. A $2 discount per-ticket is given to patrons who purchase their Miami University football tickets at Kroger. Customers can ask to purchase the tickets at the checkout lanes with the amount added to their grocery bill and the vouchers printed out on site. Miami football tickets purchased at Kroger are non-refundable and each ticket purchased is valid for one reserved seat to any 2007 RedHawk home game. The tickets, issued in voucher form at any checkout lane, will be exchanged for tickets at Yager Stadium ticket windows--located at the south and west sides of the stadium--on game day. Reserved Miami football tickets purchased at Kroger are for all west sideline sections at Yager Stadium with the exceptions of sections 3, 4 and 5.
BEST MAC START SINCE 2003: Miami's 20-13 victory at Kent State gave the RedHawks their first 2-0 start in MAC play since the 2003 club posted a perfect 8-0 record.
MATCHING FEAT OF 1957 TEAM: During Miami's 60 years as a member of the MAC, the school has played its first two conference games away from home only six times. Including the 2007 season (at Ball State and at Kent State), the RedHawks have been undefeated only twice in those situations. The only other time Miami was 2-0 in league play following two road games was in 1957 when Coach John Pont's Miami squad opened that championship season with victories at Western Michigan and at Kent State.
BEST OF THE MAC: With its 20-13 win at Kent State, Miami improved its record to 2-0 in MAC play. The RedHawks are one of four undefeated MAC teams in overall conference games, joining Central Michigan (3-0), Akron (2-0) and Bowling Green (1-0) atop the standings. Miami has won more MAC games than any other (255), and its all-time MAC winning percentage of .675 (255-120-11) also ranks first. MU has won or shared 14 MAC titles, more than any other program.
MIAMI AMONG COLLEGE FOOTBALL'S ELITE TEAMS: In college football history, Miami ranks 20th in terms of all-time victories with 644. MU is the only non-BCS-affiliated school in this rarified air. Among all-time collegiate teams with the best winning percentage, Miami ranks 16th at .6325 (644-365-44). MU ranks 13th in winning percentage among schools that have played 100 or more seasons, trailing only Michigan, Notre Dame, Texas, Oklahoma, Penn State, Ohio State, Alabama, Nebraska, Southern California, Tennessee, Georgia and LSU.
REDHAWKS' INJURY REPORT: Mickey Mann (injured knee vs. Syracuse), out for Bowling Green game ... Andre Bratton (injured knee vs. Cincinnati), out for season ... Brandon Murphy (injured knee vs. Minnesota), out for season ... Matt McKeown (injured shoulder vs. Ball State), out for season ... Mike Kokal (injured knee vs. Kent State), our for Bowling Green game ... Ben Huddle (injured knee vs. Kent State), our for Bowling Green game ... Cory Jones (injured knee vs. Syracuse), probable for Bowling Green game ... DUSTIN WOOD (injured shoulder vs. Kent State), questionable for Bowling Green game ... Jerrid Gaines (injured leg vs. Syracuse), probable for Bowling Green game.
REDHAWK CAPTAINS: Miami has three captains in 2007, and will name a fourth player each week to be a game captain. The three players who were elected by their teammates include quarterback Mike Kokal (Sr., Warren), running back Brandon Murphy (Sr., Strongsville) and linebacker Joey Hudson (Jr., Piqua). Senior receiver Pat LaMonica (Dublin) was the game captain for the Kent State contest. The captain for the Bowling Green game will be named later this week.
IN TWO WEEKS: Miami continues Mid-American Conference play on Oct. 20 with a game at Philadelphia's Lincoln Financial Field vs. Temple at noon.
MIAMI'S OFFENSE TAKING TURNS: Senior running back Austin Sykes (Coraopolis, PA) rushed for a team-high 74 yards at Kent State, increasing his season numbers to 245 yards. Sykes entered the 2007 campaign as Miami's No. 3 running back. Brandon Murphy began the season as the starter and paced Miami in rushing vs. Ball State (123 yards) and Minnesota (78 yards). He injured his knee in the game against the Gophers and had season-ending surgery on Oct. 5. Andre Bratton (Woodbridge, VA) took over for Murphy, but he was injured early in game three vs. Cincinnati. Sykes subbed in for Bratton and was Miami's top rusher the next two weeks (76 yards vs. Cincinnati and 29 yards vs. Colorado). Cory Jones (Florence, MS) gained a team-leading 125 yards vs. Syracuse, but was injured on his last carry against the Orange and was forced to sit out last week's game vs. Kent State. Jones is expected to return to practice this week, so he and Sykes will likely share the load against Bowling Green. As a unit, MU's backs are averaging 137.3 yards per game.
THINGS GO BETTER WITH KOKAL: Though he was injured at Kent State, senior tri-captain Mike Kokal (Sr., Warren) helped the RedHawks defeat the Golden Flashes, 20-13. He completed eight of his 10 pass attempts for 124 yards. As a starter this season, Kokal is 3-2 (victories over Ball State, Syracuse and Kent State, and losses to Minnesota and Cincinnati). He moved into eighth place on Miami's career passing yardage list, now totaling 3,173 yards. Only nine other RedHawk quarterbacks have reached 3,000 passing yards during their careers. Kokal is listed as out for the Bowling Green game.
RAUGHDABAUGH'S BIG DAY: Quarterback Daniel Raudabaugh (Coppell, TX) averaged 12.1 yards for each of his 15 offensive plays (182 total yards) versus Kent State. That per-play average ranks as the best among all MAC players in 2007.
QUARTERBACK DUO: As a pair, Daniel Raudabaugh and Mike Kokal have combined for 1,358 yards and five TD passes in 2007. The twosome accounted for 310 yards of 16 of 22 passing. Nearly 40 percent of their total yardage came five weeks ago at Minnesota, they totaled 418 passing yards, the fourth-best all-time single-game mark in Miami history. The only three performances that exceeded that effort were all by former RedHawk great Ben Roethlisberger (525 yards vs. Northern Illinois in 2002, 452 yards vs. Hawaii in 2001, and 440 yards vs. Bowling Green in 2003). As either the head coach or the offensive coordinator, Miami's Shane Montgomery has had a direct hand in the school's top 13 single-game passing efforts.
BELTON READY FOR DUTY: With Mike Kokal likely to miss Saturday's game against Bowling Green, true freshman quarterback Clay Belton (Dayton, OH) has risen to No. 2 on Miami's depth chart. Belton was a first-team all-Ohio signal-caller at Dayton's Northmont High School.
MIAMI'S RECEIVERS: Seventeen different RedHawk receivers have caught passes through the first six games of 2007. Nine of those 17 players have recorded their first collegiate receptions this season. Last week at Kent State, Miami receivers caught 16 passes and averaged an impressive 19.4 yards per grab. Among the 16 catches were six receptions of 20 yards or more, including gains of 54, 49 and 34 yards. Dustin Woods (So., Cincinnati), who injured his shoulder after a 54-yard catch vs. Kent State, has a team-leading 20 catches for 282 yards and one TD. Eugene Harris (Atlanta, GA) with 18 catches for 184 yards and Armand Robinson (R-Fr., Reynoldsburg) with 17 receptions for 239 yards are the team's next most frequent receivers. True freshman Chris Givens (Chillicothe) averages 19.8 yards for each of his 12 catches.
GIVENS TOPS TEAM IN YARDS PER CATCH: Chris Givens (Fr., Chillicothe) had one catch for 34 yards vs. Kent State. His 55-yard catch vs. Minnesota, his 39-yarder vs. Cincinnati and the 34-yarder at KSU rate as three of the RedHawks' five longest grabs in 2007. Against Minnesota, Givens became only the second true freshman receiver in Miami football history to crack the century mark for yardage (five catches for 112 yards).
JARED'S BIG JAUNT: Quarterback turned receiver Jared Elliott (Jr., Franklin, TN) had a 35-yard pass reception vs. Colorado, his first collegiate catch. That single gain comprised 25.1 percent of Miami's total offensive yardage (139) against the Buffaloes.
O'CONNELL'S TD GRAB: Junior tight end Jake O'Connell (Naples, FL) caught an 11-yard touchdown pass from DANIEL RAUGHDABAUGH in the third quarter of the Kent State game. For his Miami career, three of O'Connell's 11 receptions have resulted in TDs.
TWO-THIRDS PASSING, ONE-THIRD RUSHING: Of Miami's 2,182 total offensive yards, 1,358 yards (62.2 percent) have come via the passing game.
577-YARD PERFORMANCE SIXTH-BEST: Miami's 577 yards of total offense vs. Minnesota ranks sixth-best in the school's record book. The all-time record offensive explosion came in 2003 vs. Kent State when Miami piled up 648 yards. Five of the top six single-game total offensive efforts have come with Shane Montgomery as either the head coach or offensive coordinator. The 1,154 cumulative yards of total offense by Miami (577 yards) and Minnesota (577 yards) rank as the second-most in Miami single-game history. It was just seven yards shy of the all-time mark of 1,161 yards piled up by Miami (616 yards) and Hawai'i (545 yards) in 2001. The 1,154 total yards by Miami and Minnesota is sixth-best in the MAC record books. The all-time Mid-American Conference single-game record for total offense by two teams is 1,245 yards by Bowling Green (618) and Northwestern (624).
MIAMI'S DEFENSE: MIAMI DEFENSE TURNS OFF THE FLASHES: Kent State came into last Saturday's game versus Miami averaging nearly 27 points per game. The RedHawks held the Golden Flashes to a season-low 13 points in their seven-point victory. Miami also limited the nation's leading rusher, Eugene Jarvis, to just 82 yards, far below his 154-yards-per-game average.
NEGATIVE YARDAGE: Miami defenders recorded a season-high seven tackles for loss and five quarterback sacks at Kent State.
ONLY MIAMI: Miami is the only school in college football that can boast of two players who are ranked among the nation's top 25 tacklers. Clayton Mullins (Fairborn) is tied for 10th with 11.0 tackles per game, and Caleb Bostic (Galloway) is tied for 25th with 10.2 tpg.
MULLINS CLIMBS IN TACKLES RANKINGS: Junior outside linebacker Clayton Mullins (Fairborn) ranks second among all MAC defensive players with 11.0 tackles per game. He had nine stops at Kent State last Saturday in the RedHawks' 20-13 victory. Mullins also had a quarterback sack and broke up two KSU passes, including a certain TD pass. He compiled a career-best 15 tackles against Ball State, including a game-best seven solo stops. Over the last two seasons, Miami's "Will" linebacker has averaged nearly nine tackles per game. Mullins is tied for 10th place among the nation's top tacklers.
CAUSTIC BOSTIC: Sophomore outside linebacker Caleb Bostic (Galloway) registered nine tackles vs. Kent State last Saturday and ranks as the MAC's fourth-leading tackler with 61 stops through six games. Bostic is tied for 25th place on the NCAA's tackles list with an average of 10.2 per contest. He led all RedHawk defenders with 17 tackles in the season opener at Ball State game, his very first start. Among MAC defensive players, Bostic's seven TFLs through six games are tied for sixth best.
GAFFORD 13th AMONG DB TACKLERS: Sophomore free safety Jordan Gafford (Columbus) had 11 tackles in Miami's win over Kent State, continuing his impressive effort. Gafford has 52 total tackles through six games. He is 10th among all MAC tacklers with an average of 8.7 per game and ranks third among the league's defensive backs. Nationally, Gafford ranks 13th among DBs in average tackles per game. He led all Miami defenders with 13 tackles (including 10 solo tackles) vs. Minnesota a month ago.
DON'T CROSS THE HUDSON: With his game-high 12 tackles at Kent State last Saturday, junior middle linebacker and tri-captain Joey Hudson (Piqua) continued his amazing comeback. A week ago, his performance against Syracuse helped him earn MAC Defensive Player of the Week honors. Hudson, who suffered a knee injury at Minnesota and whose availability for the balance of the season was very much in question, got back in the starting lineup against Colorado. A member of the Butkus Award's "Watch List" and the Rotary Lombardi Award's "Watch List", Hudson now has 39 tackles for the year.
MR. WILSON: Junior apache (strong safety) Robbie Wilson (Cincinnati) had one of his best individual efforts last week at Kent State, collecting eight tackles and his first interception of the season. He has 47 total tackles through the first six games of 2007, ranking fourth on the team behind Clayton Mullins (66), Caleb Bostic (61) and Jordan Gafford (52). Wilson is tied for 18th in tackles per game among all MAC defensive players with 7.8 per game. He now totals 115 career tackles.
SUPER-SUB SHULA: Junior middle linebacker Chris Shula (Cooper City, FL) had four tackles at Kent State, including one tackle for loss. He subbed for the injured Joey Hudson a month ago at Minnesota and racked up a career-best 11 tackles (10 solos). Shula, the grandson of NFL Hall of Fame coach Don Shula, has 22 tackles through six games. He had 25 total tackles for the entire 2006 season.
NO PAIN, NO GAINES: Senior cornerback Jerrid Gaines (Springfield) sat out last week's game at Kent State with a leg injury. He is listed as probable for this Saturday's home game versus Bowling Green. Gaines had a career-high nine tackles, broke up two passes and recovered a fumble at Colorado. He has 104 career tackles.
THOMPSON TOUGH IN THE CLUTCH: Sophomore cornerback Jeff Thompson (Worthington) continues to be one of Miami's best defensive backs, leading the RedHawks with two interceptions. Thompson's best game came at Colorado where he had a career-best five solo tackles. Four of his five stops came on third-down plays by the Buffaloes.
REDHAWK STEW: Redshirt freshman Alex Stewart (Westerville) had a career-best six tackles in Miami's 20-13 victory at Kent State. The 19-year-old nose tackle registered five tackles at Colorado in his first start.
MIAMI'S SPECIAL TEAMS: RICHARDSON FOURTH IN NCAA STATS: Junior punter JAKE RICHARDSON (Oxford) averaged 50.5 yards per punt last Saturday at Kent State, including kicks of 56 and 55 yards. He ranks fourth in the latest NCAA stats with an average of 46.49 yards per punt (35 attempts). Just ahead of him are Ball State's Chris Miller (47.88), Toledo's Brett Kern (46.97) and Virginia's Ryan Weigand (46.67). Richardson's average is nearly a yard-and-a-half better than Miami's single-season record of 45.0 ypp by Gary Layton in 1994. Over the course of the last three games, Richardson's punting average is 48.9 yards. Fifteen of Richardson's 35 punts have traveled 50 yards or more, including boomers of 64 yards and 62 yards. Richardson's career punting average at Miami after 134 punts is 41.6 yards, just one-tenth of one yard behind Layton's 41.7 career average (1991-94).
THE LATEST RETURNS: Miami punt returners rank second among all Mid-American Conference teams with an average run-back of 14.9 yards. Eugene Harris (R-Fr., Atlanta, GA) ranks second among all MAC players with an average of 15.4 yards per punt return (11 for 169 yards). He ranks 16th in the NCAA statistics among punt returners.
TRUE FRESHMAN PAIR HANDLES KICK RETURNS: True freshmen Jamal Rogers (Fort Myers, FL) and Chris Givens (Chillicothe) make up Miami's kick return tandem. Rogers is averaging 20.3 yards per return (16 attempts) while Givens has returned three kicks an average of 17.0 yards.
PARSEGHIAN GETS NOD AS REDHAWK PLACEKICKER: Junior placekicker NATE PARSEGHIAN (Sylvania) got a chance to play at Kent State and made the most of his opportunity. "Par" connected on both of his field goal attempts (21 yards in the first quarter and 27 yards in the fourth quarter) and also hit both of his PATs. Nate is the great grandnephew of college coaching luminary and Miami graduate Ara Parseghian.
COOK A GROZA CANDIDATE: Trevor Cook (So., Sioux Falls, SD) did not participate in the Kent State game. Cook has made five of his 10 field-goal attempts this season and has converted seven of eight PAT tries. He leads the RedHawks in scoring with 22 points.