Turnovers and missed opportunities once again proved to be the kiss of death Sept. 25 as the Miami University football team lost to Missouri 51-13, which was their worst lost since falling to then No. 11 Boise State 48-0 last season.
The loss dropped the team’s record to 2-2 on the season, while the Tigers improved to 4-0.
The RedHawks turned the ball over three times in the game and had three fumbles in the first eight plays, although only one was lost. Before Saturday, the Red and White only had two fumbles, both of which were recovered. Head Coach Michael Haywood stressed the importance of taking care of the football in his weekly press conference Sept. 27.
“Ball security is a major issue for us,” Haywood said. “We are fumbling the football and that is not acceptable. Practice will (consist of) a lot of ball control drills.”
Missouri outgained Miami 469-316 in total offense and held a 21-0 lead after the first quarter. The RedHawks did not get on the scoreboard until the 6:28 mark in the second quarter, when senior kicker Trevor Cook hit a 23-yard field goal, his sixth straight of the season.
The Red and White failed to exploit a Missouri defense that gave up 250 yards on the ground the previous week to San Diego State, only racking up 70 total rushing yards. Meanwhile, the Tigers gained 236 yards on the ground against a Miami defense that came into Saturday’s matchup ranked fifth in rushing defense.
After leading 28-3 at the half, Missouri put the game away with 16 unanswered points to start off the third quarter, and Miami did not score a touchdown until the 1:40 mark in the fourth quarter, when redshirt sophomore quarterback Austin Boucher hit senior wide receiver Jamal Rogers for a 12-yard touchdown pass.
The RedHawks suffered a few injuries Saturday that will set them back as the season continues, especially on defense. Senior safety Jordan Gafford suffered the third concussion of his career on Saturday and is expected to miss two weeks. Meanwhile, redshirt junior linebacker Ryan Kennedy suffered a grade three MCL injury against Missouri and is expected to miss two weeks as well.
Redshirt sophomore linebacker Luke Kelly is expected to be back in the defense against Kent State University, which will help to fortify what has been a very strong defense thus far.
“(Gafford and Kennedy) are two leaders on our defense,” Haywood said. “Gafford is a leader in the secondary and Kennedy is a leader at the line, (but) it is good to have (Kelly) back. Before he went out, he was playing well.”
Redshirt sophomore quarterback Zac Dysert left the game in the third quarter with a mild concussion after a blow to the head personal foul penalty on Missouri. He is expected to play this week against Kent State.
Senior wide receiver Armand Robinson had yet another solid performance, catching 10 balls for 99 yards. This was his second double-digit receiving game this year and the fourth of his career. Despite a few bright spots on Miami’s offense against Missouri, Offensive Coordinator Morris Watts stressed the importance of continuing to improve each week.
“There is room for improvement on the whole offense,” Watts said. “A big key for us is to turn the switch up and to play with more emotion and consistency. There were times when we moved the ball well but we lacked consistency. We just need to have a great week in practice and to have a good mindset.”