Editor’s note: This is the second in a series of previews of Marshall and West Virginia football opponents.
Date with Marshall: Saturday, Aug. 30, time, TV TBA
Site: Yager Stadium (24,286, FieldTurf), Oxford, Ohio
Series: Miami leads 30-11-1
Last meeting: Marshall 52, Miami 14, Aug. 31, 2013 at Huntington
Coach: Chuck Martin (first year at Miami; seventh year overall, 74-7)
Checking them out
How in the name of Ben Roethlisberger has this program gone so horribly wrong? The RedHawks didn’t just finish without a win, they were outscored 178-44 in the first five games and 210-46 in the final five. The losing streak has reached 16, and football season at the “Cradle of Coaches” has become a bridge to hockey season. No lie.
Coach Don Treadwell didn’t even make it to the second conference game. Mike Bath finished out the season, and Notre Dame offensive coordinator and former Grand Valley State head coach Chuck Martin has taken over.
There isn’t an area in which the RedHawks don’t need major improvement. Statistically, Miami was ranked 122nd in the FBS in total offense, scoring offense passing efficiency and third-down conversion and 114th in rushing. Defensively, they were “better” — 120th on third down, 113th in total defense and 111th against the run.
But let’s give credit where it’s due: The Redhawks were 12th in fewest penalty yards, 34.17 per game.
The team’s MVP last season had to be punter Zac Murphy, who averaged 46.6 yards on 79 leg swings, including a nine-punt, 50.2-average game against Marshall. Alas, Murphy graduated.
Linebacker Kent Kern (98 tackles) and lineman Bryson Albright (55 tackles, 11.5 for loss) lead the defense, with Fred McRae a good punt returner (9.2 avg) if he gets the chance. Naming an offensive player is a hazardous exercise, but here goes: QB Andrew Hendrix and receiver Alex Welsch are graduate transfers from Notre Dame.
Not that they did much in South Bend. Hendrix was 25 of 58 for 360 yards, and Welsch caught one pass for 8 yards. Dawan Scott (28-455, 2 TDs) is still the best receiving threat.
Offense: WR Dawan Scott
Defense: DL Bryson Albright, LB Kent Kern
Special teams: PR Fred McRae IV
Martin is the 32nd head coach in the program’s history. In his 10 years as assistant or head coach at Grand Valley, he oversaw four Division II national champions and two more national finalists. … His new staff includes Autry Denson, who finished his Notre Dame career as the school’s all-time leading rusher (4,318 yards, 43 TDs). Of the rest of the staff, five have been Martin associates at Grand Valley. … Baltimore Ravens coach John Harbaugh, a 1984 Miami grad, was honored with a full-body statue at Yager Stadium’s Cradle of Coaches Plaza in April. This fall, Travis Prentice’s No. 41 jersey will be retired, the fourth Redskin/RedHawks to be so honored. … In a trend that may drive recruitniks to drink, all Miami signees were not designated by position, but by “skill” and “power.”
Date Opponent 2013
Aug. 30 Marshall L 14-52
Sept. 6 Eastern Kentucky DNP
Sept. 13 at Michigan DNP
Sept. 20 at Cincinnati L 0-14
Sept. 27 at Buffalo* L 7-44
Oct. 4 Massachusetts* L 10-17
Oct. 11 at Akron* L 17-24
Oct. 18 at Northern Illinois* DNP
Oct. 25 Kent State* L 6-24
Nov. 1 Western Michigan* DNP
Nov. 15 at Central Michigan* L 9-21
Nov. 25 Ohio L 16-41
* Mid-American Conference games
2013 record: 0-12, 0-8 MAC (7th place, East Division)
Dropped: Kentucky (L 14-52), Illinois (L 14-50), Bowling Green (L 3-45), Ball State (L 14-55)