Miami University extended its NCAA-worst 16-game losing streak to 17 in a 42-27 loss to Marshall University, but put up more points and yards than it did in any game last season.
New head coach Chuck Martin’s squad didn’t look anything like they did last season, which was the goal. But looking better than last season isn’t good enough for Martin.
“They are excited about losing by ,” Martin said of his team. “That scares the hell out of me. Our guys are excited. That’s mindboggling to me. Why be excited? You lost by  at home. Our fans are excited. We’re getting cheered off the field. Like, I’ve been throwing things.”
The RedHawks had more points, first downs, passing yards, passing attempts, passing touchdowns, total yards and a higher time of possession against Marshall than they did in any game last season.
“Obviously our offense stats last year were anemic,” Martin said. “So we haven’t even talked about if that’s the measuring stick. We could still be pretty horrendous and surpass some of the things we did on offense a year ago.”
Miami’s offense was led by fifth-year senior quarterback Andrew Hendrix, who made his first college start after transferring from Notre Dame. Hendrix was 24 of 49 for 318 yards and three touchdowns. He threw one pick and also picked up 46 yards on the gound. Excluding negative yards from the four sacks Hendrix took, he had nearly 400 yards of total offense.
“It was four years overdue for me,” Hendrix said. “It was really exciting to get out there. Obviously, I did not come here to lose games in any fashion. This one is gonna sting because it’s one where we look back and we had a lot of mistakes and we could have taken this game.”
Redshirt junior tailback Spencer Treadwell was the team’s leading rusher, picking up 47 yards on 10 carries.
Eight different players caught passes for the RedHawks. Senior wide out David Frazier led the way with 109 yards on six catches. Senior wide receiver Dawan Scott picked up 42 yards and a score on five catches, while redshirt sophomore WR Rokeem Williams had 99 yards and a touchdown on just three catches.
“I think Dawan Scott had a tremendous football game,” Martin said. “Not that he hasn’t had good he hasn’t been one of the most productive guys, but a couple of Marshall coaches made mention to me right after the game about Dawan.”
Fellow Notre Dame transfer and tight end Alex Welch caught four passes for 28 yards and a TD. The touchdown catch was the first of Welch’s career and it fittingly came from his former Fighting Irish teammate Hendrix.
“It was great, honestly,” Hendrix said. “That was something we talked about four years ago coming out of high school when I would throw with him on Elder’s campus, at The Pit … It was great for that to finally happen.”
Miami fell behind early in the game and entered halftime trailing 28-3. The ’Hawks had their chances, but came away empty too many times.
“They are capable of more than what they believe they are capable of,” Martin said. “At some point they gotta see it.”
Martin went for it on fourth down a few times early in the game, something that he doesn’t normally do. Miami was just one for five on fourth down attempts.
“Did I make all the best decisions for winning games? No I didn’t,” Martin said. “Did I have some struggles in my mind of what I know I should do and what I need to do for this football team right now? Yeah, there were times. Going for it on the 45 in the first quarter. If anyone has ever followed my career, it’s never ever happened. But we weren’t playing. These kids need someone to push them out in the middle of rush hour traffic. And I’m the guy to do that.”
The Red and White came out firing in the second half though, and cut the lead down to 28-20 at the end of the third quarter.
“Do we have the most talented team in the country, obviously not, but do we have enough talent to play with a team that everyone thinks is pretty talented, talking about going to a BCS Bowl game,” Martin said. “If you weren’t at the game you won’t know, but if you were at the game, you’re thinking maybe they’re not as good as everyone says they are or maybe Miami isn’t as bad as everyone says they are. And hopefully it’s the latter not the former, because I think Marshall has a pretty talented team and I think they’re gonna have a pretty good season.”
However, Marshall held on to the win, in large part thanks to junior running back Devon Johnson. He rushed for 151 yards and one touchdown on 19 carries.
Senior quarterback Rakeem Cato was effective in the short passing game, including throwing three touchdown passes within 15 yards, but looked inconsistent beyond that. Even with the interception, Hendrix outplayed Cato.
Miami did struggle with penalties, accumulating 12 penalties for 107 yards. Martin was responsible for two of those, both for 15 yards. He drew a pair of flags before a kickoff with 2:01 to go in the game following a Marshall touchdown. Martin was engaged in a heated conversation with one of the officials when he drew the flags. In his post-game press conference, he declined to say what he did or said to draw the flags.
“Losing is never a good feeling, but there is obviously a lot more hope coming out this game than a lot of games last year,” Kern said. “We know what we’re capable of. We’re gonna be ready to go next week. We’re not gonna come out slow like that first half.”
Miami’s next opponent is Eastern Kentucky University, an FCS school. The Colonels defeated Robert Morris University 29-10 in their season opener. Kickoff is set for 3:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 6 at Yager Stadium.