The Miami University football team will travel north to take on the Bowling Green State University (BGSU) Falcons at 8 p.m. Nov. 10.
After a week and a half off, the RedHawks will have to reboot against a Falcon squad that is coming off of a big win at Central Michigan University Oct. 30.
Miami enters Wednesday’s matchup with a 5-4 record, including a 4-1 mark in conference play, needing just one more win to become bowl eligible for the first time since 2005. Meanwhile, BGSU is 2-7 overall and 1-4 in the Mid-American Conference (MAC), but the RedHawks are not concerned about the Falcons’ record.
“They are a deceiving team,” senior offensive lineman Bob Gulley said. “They are better than a two-win team.”
Miami enters the game ranked 32 in the nation in passing yards, while their rushing attack is 119 in the country, only ahead of BGSU.
The Red and White must protect the football against the Falcons, who enter the game with the fourth most takeaways in the nation.
On the other hand, the RedHawks will need another strong performance from their passing game this week, but expect them to try to establish a balanced attack early, especially against a Falcon team that struggles stopping the run.
One of the bright spots for the offense has been the emergence of freshman wide receiver Nick Harwell, who was named the MAC East Offensive Player of the Week after his two-touchdown performance against the University at Buffalo Oct. 30. He has 33 catches for 475 yards in his past four games, which has really boosted this offense.
“He gives us more of a deep ball threat, but at the same he runs intermediate and short routes just as well and he is getting better at it each and every day,” Head Coach Michael Haywood said. “He can make a guy miss and he can break a tackle because he is a strong young man.”
Defensively, the RedHawks will look to shut down a Falcon squad that has relied heavily on the passing game this year.
BGSU has the worst rushing offense in the nation, so expect them to throw the ball early and often against a Miami defense that has held its opponents to 359 yards passing in each of their last two games.
The Red and White will also try to get pressure on the Falcons’ redshirt freshman quarterback Matt Schilz, which they were able to do very effectively against Buffalo, racking up a season-high five sacks.
However, the biggest challenge the RedHawks will likely face against the Falcons will be remaining focused after an extended break leading up to their first weekday game of the season.
“Early in the season we were up and down,” Gulley said. “We need to stay focused and win the games at hand now because otherwise (our goals) will not be a reality later.”
Haywood said it is equally important that the ‘Hawks continue to improve rather than concerning themselves with the hype of a potential bowl bid as the season comes to a close.
“We have to fix ourselves so that we can do a much better job as coaches and as players against whatever schemes they are running,” Haywood said. “It has to be about us. The only thing that matters is Bowling Green.”
The game will be broadcast on ESPN2 and on the radio on Miami’s ISP Sports Network.