In what was nearly a monumental upset, the Miami University football team fell just short, allowing only two touchdowns in the last five minutes of the game en route to a 14-0 shutout loss at the hands of the University of Cincinnati.
The RedHawks (0-3) entered Saturday’s rivalry matchup allowing 46.5 points per game, which ranked in the bottom 10 nationally. But it was their defense, as well as special teams, that gave the ‘Hawks a chance to steal their first win out from under the Bearcats’ noses in the 118th Battle for the Victory Bell.
“The defense did an outstanding job, obviously keeping them off the scoreboard,” Miami head coach Don Treadwell said in the post-game press conference. “Offensively, we had some opportunities and at the end of the day, we’ve got to be able to make the big catches, and when we have those opportunities we’ve got to be able to make the throws and protect the quarterback, and be balanced and run the football.”
The RedHawks offense gained just 84 total yards on 45 plays. They managed only four first downs, and seven total rushing yards on 27 attempts, landing them at 0.2 yards per carry. Miami ranks last in the FBS in yards per game.
“You can’t ask a defense and a special teams to play any better than they did and give you a chance to win,” redshirt senior co-captain and quarterback Austin Boucher, who was visibly frustrated after the game said. “That’s the offense’s job to put up points and we didn’t do that. That one hurts. I didn’t make enough plays, we didn’t make enough plays, and we didn’t execute.”
In the special teams department, redshirt senior punter Zac Murphy was a bright spot for the RedHawks. Murphy averaged 52.4 yards per punt on eight attempts, including an 84-yard boot that set a new school record. He currently leads the nation with a punting average of 49.8, and garnered Mid-American Conference (MAC) Sepcial Teams Player of the Week honors. Senior defensive back Dayonne Nunley also received kudos as he was named MAC East Defensive Player of the Week for his 10 tackles, interception and three pass breakups.
Treadwell said the loss hurts, but expects his team will move forward and focus on the rest of the season.
“We’ve got three games behind us, certainly all disappointing,” Treadwell said. “This one always hurts a little more as you know it’s the rivalry game. We’ll learn from what we’ve done and what we continue to do, because there’s a lot of football left in front of us, and our team knows that. We’ll be able to bounce back and move forward.”