RedHawks Travel to Nashville to Clash With Commodores on October 27
Oct. 22, 2007
IF MIAMI WINS ...: It would improve Miami's 2007 season record to 5-4 ... it would be Miami's second straight win in the series against Vanderbilt and make Miami's series record against the Commodores 2-1 ... it would be the RedHawks' second consecutive non-conference win and make Miami 2-3 in non-conference action this season.
THIRD MEETING BETWEEN REDHAWKS AND COMMODORES: Saturday's game marks only the third meeting in the all-time series between Miami and Vanderbilt, with all three meetings taking place at Vanderbilt. On Sept. 2, 2000 at Vanderbilt Stadium, Miami staged a dramatic come-from-behind win, scoring with 20 seconds remaining to pull out a 33-30 triumph. The first game in the series also took place at Vanderbilt with the Commodores posting a 12-0 win on Oct. 13, 1899.
VANDERBILT HEAD COACH Bobby Johnson (Clemson, `73) is in his sixth season guiding the Vanderbilt Commodores and owns a 79-82 record at the helm of the program ... prior to assuming his present post, Johnson was the head coach at Furman where he was named the Division 1-AA National Coach of the Year in 2001 ... in the past two weeks, Johnson's Commodores recorded a near upset of No. 24 Georgia (17-20) and stunned No. 6 South Carolina (17-6).
The series is tied, 1-1. Scoring 20 points in the fourth quarter, including a fourth-down scoring strike with 20 seconds remaining, Miami pulled out a dramatic 33-30 come-from-behind win in the last meeting between the teams on Sept. 2, 2002.
The first series meeting came on Oct. 13, 1899, with Vanderbilt recording a 12-0 win.
The last time the two teams met, Miami assistant coach Mike Bath was a senior at Miami and the RedHawks' starting quarterback, wide receiver coach Brian Von Bergen was in his second season as an assistant coach on the Miami staff, and Miami Athletics Director Brad Bates was a senior associate athletics director at Vanderbilt. Bath threw the game-winning touchdown pass to Cal Murray with 20 seconds remaining to lift Miami to a 33-30 win in the season opener for both teams.
BEST MIAMI PERFORMANCES VS. VANDERBILT: In Miami's previous game at Vanderbilt, here are the RedHawks' top individual efforts:
INDIVIDUAL RUSHING: Cal Murray, 65 yards (18-65-0) ... 9/2/00 INDIVIDUAL PASSING: Mike Bath, 358 yards (24-48-1-358, 4 TD) ... 9/2/00 INDIVIDUAL RECEIVING: Ty Buxton, 134 yards (8-134, 0 TD) ... 9/2/00 Sly Johnson, 134 yards (6-134, 1 TD) ... 9/2/00
TAKE ME HOME TO TENNESSEE: Several members of the Miami coaching staff along with members of the athletics staff have ties to the state of Tennessee and to Vanderbilt and its coaching staff. Head Coach Shane Montgomery coached at Tennessee-Chattanooga from 1993-01. He and Miami defensive line coach Rusty Wright coached with Vanderbilt defensive line coach Rick Logo at Chattanooga as Wright is a `96 graduate of Chattanooga and was an assistant from 1996-03 and Logo was an assistant from 1999-02. During the trio's time there, Miami defensive ends coach/co-special teams coordinator Jimmy Lindsey was an all-conference selection for the Mocs and earned his degree in 2001. Lindsey was an assistant coach on the Mocs' staff in 2002 and spent the previous two years as a restricted earnings coach with the program. Both Montgomery and Logo earned degrees from North Carolina State, and Logo was a freshman for the Wolfpack football team during Montgomery's senior campaign. The duo was coached by current Vanderbilt assistants Robbie Caldwell (then an offensive line coach at NC State), Ted Cain (then the offensive coordinator at NC State) and Jimmy Kiser (then a receivers coach at NC State). Miami Athletics Director BRAD BATES earned his doctorate from Vanderbilt and spent 17 years on the Commodore athletics staff before being named director of athletics at Miami in 2002. Bates finished his stint at Vanderbilt as a senior associate athletics director. Miami Director of Marketing ANTHONY AZAMA was a three-year letterwinner and three-time Academic All-SEC honoree at Vanderbilt from 1994-97. Miami Assistant Director of Development JAY LOWE also spent time on the Vanderbilt Athletics Staff as a director of operations and facilities. Additionally, junior wide receiver Jared Elliott hails from the state of Tennessee. A native of Franklin, Tenn., Elliott prepped at Page High School.
7, 40, 42: There are three special numbers in Miami football history, and the men who once wore those jerseys all were in attendance at last Saturday's game. Number seven, once the property of standout quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, is the latest to be retired by Miami. Thanks to an off-week for the Pittsburgh Steelers, "Big Ben" was able to come back to Oxford on Oct. 13 for the jersey retirement ceremony. Roethlisberger was joined by former Miami player and coach JOHN PONT (#42, retired in 1951), and former MU running back BOB HITCHENS (#40, retired in 1973).
MIAMI AMONG COLLEGE FOOTBALL'S ELITE TEAMS: In college football history, Miami ranks 20th in terms of all-time victories with 645. MU is the only non-BCS-affiliated school in this rarefied air. Among all-time collegiate teams with the best winning percentage, Miami ranks 16th at .6328 (645-366-44). 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.
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 offensive lineman LYLE LOVAS (Westerville) was the game captain for the Temple contest. The captain for the Vanderbilt game will be named later this week.
REDHAWKS' INJURY REPORT: Ryan Kennedy (injured knee at Temple), out for Vanderbilt game ... Mickey Mann (injured knee vs. Syracuse), out for season ... Andre Bratton (injured knee vs. Cincinnati), out for season... Brandon Murphy (injured knee at Minnesota), out for season ... Matt McKeown (injured shoulder at Ball State), out for season ... Mike Kokal (injured knee at Kent State), doubtful for Vanderbilt game ... Ben Huddle (injured knee at Kent State), out for Vanderbilt game.
IN TWO WEEKS: The RedHawks return to league action on Nov. 3 (3 p.m.) with a home game vs. Buffalo in what looks to be a battle for top billing the MAC East Division. Eleven days later the RedHawks host Akron at 7:35 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 14 in a nationally-televised game on ESPN2.
KROGER BECOME 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.
MIAMI'S OFFENSE TAKING TURNS: Senior running back Austin Sykes (Coraopolis, PA) rushed for a career-high 124 yards vs. Bowling Green and has rushed for 378 yards this season. 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 MU'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 two games. He returned to action at Temple and has rushed for 173 yards this season. Three other young players--redshirt freshman Jamel Miller (Tallmadge) and true freshmen Thomas Merriweather (Florissant, MO) and T.J. Lattimore (Maple Heights)--also are seeing a portion of the playing time. Against Bowling Green this trio combined for 118 yards on 27 carries. For the season, Miller has 78 net rushing yards (20 carries), Merriweather has 45 yards (16 carries) and Lattimore has 27 yards (5 carries). Not including the quarterbacks' rushing statistics, MU's backs are averaging 133.3 yards per game and 4.8 yards per attempt.
THINGS GO BETTER WITH KOKAL: As a starter this season, Mike Kokal (Sr., Warren) is 3-2 (victories over Ball State, Syracuse and Kent State, and losses to Minnesota and Cincinnati). He moved into eighth place on passing yardage list, now totaling 3,173 yards. Only nine other RedHawk quarterbacks have reached 3,000 passing yards during their careers. Kokal will probably not play against Vanderbilt, but coaches are hopeful that he could return before the end of the regular season.
RAUDABAUGH CONTINUES: Quarterback Daniel Raudabaugh (Coppell, TX) has been particularly effective in his last three appearances, averaging 7.9 yards per pass. Against Kent State (Oct. 6), he averaged 12.1 yards for each of his 15 offensive plays (182 total yards), the best single-game effort among all MAC players in 2007. At Temple, Raudabaugh set a career-high with 314 passing yards, the top single-game performance by a RedHawk this season. He completed 33-of-57 passes, both also top numbers for a Miami QB this season.
QUARTERBACK DUO: As a pair, Daniel Raudabaugh and Mike Kokal have combined for 1,909 yards and eight TD passes in 2007. More than 22 percent of their total yardage came at Minnesota when they totaled 418 passing yards, the fourth-best, all-time, single-game mark in Miami history. The only three performances exceeding that effort were by former RedHawk great Ben Roethlisberger (525 yards vs. Northern Illinois in 2002, 452 yards vs. Hawai'i 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: For the third week in a row, true freshman quarterback Clay Belton (Dayton, OH) is listed No. 2 on Miami's depth chart. Belton was a first-team all-Ohio signal-caller at Dayton's Northmont High School. He has not yet appeared in any of Miami's games.
FOURTH-DOWN FRENZY: Sophomore quarterback Daniel Raudabaugh (Coppell, TX) and redshirt freshman receiver Eugene Harris (Atlanta, GA) connected on three of Miami's four fourth-down conversions at Temple. The first completion came on an 8-yard pass in the first quarter, which led to a Miami scoring drive. The second was on a 9-yard pass near the end of the third quarter. The third was on a 7-yard pass late in the fourth quarter to help set up a Miami field goal. As a team, Miami was 4-of-6 on fourth-down conversions against the Owls. Miami ranks second in the MAC in fourth-down conversions with a 64.3 percent efficiency on fourth down.
MIAMI'S RECEIVERS: Eighteen different RedHawks have caught passes through the first eight games of 2007. Ten of those 18 players have recorded their first collegiate receptions this season. Over the past three games, Miami receivers have caught 65 passes, including 33 receptions at Temple last week, and averaged 13.2 yards per grab. Among the 65 catches have been eight receptions of 20 yards or more, including gains of 73, 54, 49, 43 and 40 yards. Dustin Woods (So., Cincinnati) has 24 catches for a team-leading 357 yards and one TD. The team's next most frequent receivers are Eugene Harris (R-Fr., Atlanta, GA) with 27 catches for 336 yards and Armand Robinson (R-Fr., Reynoldsburg) with 21 receptions for 320 yards. True freshman Chris Givens (Chillicothe) averages 18.8 yards for each of his 14 catches.
GIVENS TOPS TEAM IN YARDS PER CATCH: Chris Givens (Fr., Chillicothe) has had receptions of 55 yards (vs. Minnesota), 39 yards (vs. Cincinnati) and 34 yards (vs. Kent State). Earlier this season 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-ever collegiate catch. That single gain comprised 25.1% of Miami's total offensive yardage (139) against the Buffaloes.
TIGHT END TOTALS: Among Miami's receivers, three junior tight ends have accounted for 20 receptions. Junior Tom Crabtree (Carroll), Jake O'Connell (Naples, FL) and Pat Shepard (Pittsburgh, PA) average 11.0 yards per catch.
MORE THAN 60-40: Of Miami's 3,051 total offensive yards in eight games, 1,909 yards (62.6 percent) have come via the passing game.
WINNING-GAME STATS: In Miami's four victories, the team rushing yardage (827) and team passing yardage (815) are virtually even. Conversely, in the RedHawks' four losses, the team's passing yardage (1,094) far exceeds the team's rushing yardage (315).
577-YARD PERFORMANCE SIXTH-BEST: Miami's 577 yards of total offense vs. Minnesota ranks sixth-best in school history. 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 MU 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 Hawaii (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).
FRONT-LINE WARRIORS: Three postseason award candidates--left tackle Charlie Norden (Sr., Dublin), left guard Dave DiFranco (Jr., LaGrange) and center Steve Meister (Sr., Allison Park, PA)--have been stalwarts in Miami's offensive effort. DiFranco split time between right and left tackle a year ago, and Meister played the last two seasons at left guard. MU's offensive line was decimated by injuries a year ago, but has remained healthy and intact throughout the 2007 campaign.
MIAMI'S DEFENSE: DEFENDING THE RUN: One of the key factors in Miami's recent success has been its effectiveness in defending the run. MU's last four opponents--Syracuse, Kent State, Bowling Green and Temple--have just over 100 yards per game (404 total rushing yards) and have averaged just 3.1 yards per carry. Miami's four MAC opponents have averaged just 119.5 rushing yards per game and only 3.4 yards per attempt.
14 POINTS OR LESS EQUALS 4-0: It has been a very simple equation, really. In all four Miami victories, the RedHawks have allowed 14 points or less (13.5 ppg). In the RedHawks' four losses, opponents have averaged 38.5 points per contest.
DEFENSIVE LINE TURNS UP THE HEAT: Miami defenders recorded a season-high 10 tackles for loss and a season-best six quarterback sacks vs. Bowling Green. Fifteen of Miami's 19 QB sacks have been registered in the last three games.
MIAMI LEADS MAC SCORING DEFENSE: Miami ranks first in the MAC in scoring defense, allowing 26.0 points per game. After its first four games, Miami was near the bottom of the list in this category.
TOP REDHAWK TACKLER: Clayton Mullins (Fairborn) is tied for 33rd place on the NCAA tackles list with 9.88 tackles per game. He leads the RedHawks with 79 tackles, including a team-best 40 solo stops this season.
MAC TACKLERS: Junior outside linebacker Clayton Mullins (Fairborn) ranks fifth among all MAC defensive players with 9.9 tackles per game (79 total). Sophomore outside linebacker Caleb Bostic (Galloway) is the MAC's 11th-leading tackler with 68 stops through eight games.
CAUSTIC BOSTIC: Caleb Bostic ranks second among Miami players with 69 tackles. In his first collegiate start, he registered a season-high 17 tackles in the season opener at Ball State game. Bostic's nine TFLs through eight games are seventh best in the MAC.
WILSON AND GAFFORD AMONG TOP DB TACKLERS: Sophomore free safety Jordan Gafford (Columbus) junior apache (strong safety) Robbie Wilson (Cincinnati) each have 56 total tackles through eight games, tying for tops among the team's defensive backs. Gafford led all Miami defenders with 13 tackles (including 10 solo tackles) vs. Minnesota. Wilson had a season-high 13 stops at Colorado, including seven solo tackles.
DON'T CROSS THE HUDSON: Junior middle linebacker and tri-captain Joey Hudson (Piqua) continued his amazing comeback, leading the RedHawks in tackles (10) at Temple and (8) vs. Bowling Green. Against the Falcons, he also recorded an interception (37-yard return), a tackle for loss, a forced fumble, a quarterback hurry and a pass break-up. He has twice been named the MAC East Division Player of the Week. 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 57 tackles for the year and shares the team lead with two interceptions.
SUPER-SUB SHULA: Junior middle linebacker Chris Shula (Cooper City, FL) had five tackles and a quarterback sack vs. Bowling Green at Kent State. He subbed for the injured Joey Hudson in game two at Minnesota and racked up a career-best 11 tackles (10 solos). Shula, the grandson of NFL Hall of Fame coach Don Shula, has 31 tackles through eight games. He had 25 total tackles for the entire 2006 season.
THOMPSON TOUGH IN THE CLUTCH: Sophomore cornerback Jeff Thompson (Worthington) continues to be one of Miami's best defensive backs, and is the RedHawks' co-leader 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.
MIAMI'S SPECIAL TEAMS: RICHARDSON FIFTH IN NCAA STATS: Junior punter JAKE RICHARDSON (Oxford) averaged 44.7 yards per punt at Temple, including kicks of 56 and 51 yards. He ranks fifth in the latest NCAA statistics with an average of 46.25 yards per punt (44 attempts). Just ahead of him are Ball State's Chris Miller (47.18), Cincinnati's Kevin Huber (46.69) Virginia's Ryan Weigand (46.60) and Western Michigan's Jim Laney (46.31). Richardson's average is just over a yard better than Miami's single-season record of 45.0 ypp by Gary Layton in 1994. Over the last five games, Richardson's punting average is 47.8 yards per kick. Nineteen of Richardson 44 punts have traveled 50 yards or more, including boomers of 64 yards and 62 yards. Richardson's career punting average at Miami after 143 punts is 41.8 yards, slightly better than Layton's school-record 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 12.8 yards. Eugene Harris (R-Fr., Atlanta, GA) ranks second among MAC players with an average of 13.2 yards per punt return (16 for 212 yards). He ranks 20th in the NCAA punt return statistics.
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 21.5 yards per return (23 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 also was the starter vs. Bowling Green and at Temple. Over the past three games, "Par" has connected on four of his five field goal attempts and also has been successful on nine consecutive PAT attempts. He is Miami's second-leading scorer with 21 points. Nate is the great grandnephew of college coaching luminary and Miami graduate Ara Parseghian.
COOK A GROZA CANDIDATE: Trevor Cook (So., Sioux Falls, SD) has made five of his 10 field-goal attempts this season and has converted eight of nine PAT tries. He leads the RedHawks in scoring with 23 points.
SPECIAL TEAMS GIVE REDHAWKS CHANCE IN THRILLING COMEBACK: Miami's special teams put the RedHawks in a position to forge a dramatic comeback at Temple. After a late touchdown strike with just over a minute to play, sophomore kicker Trevor Cook had a picture perfect on-side kick, which the RedHawks recovered on the Miami 43-yard line and resulted in a junior kicker Nathan Parseghian 33-yard field goal with nine seconds to play. Cook again delivered with an on-side kick that went 11 yards and was recovered by Miami. A penalty forced the RedHawks to re-kick, but Cook continued to assault the Owl special team's unit as he had another on-side kick of 10 yards recovered by RedHawk on the Miami 33-yard line with four seconds remaining. Miami had one last chance to potentially tie the game, which fell short on a hail mary pass that was intercepted to end the game.