In a matchup of two 4-6 Mid-American Conference (MAC) teams trying to keep their bowl eligibility hopes alive, the Miami University RedHawks (3-3 MAC) will play their final road game against the Central Michigan University (CMU) Chippewas (2-4 MAC).
“We’ve got nothing to lose right now,” senior linebacker Pat Hinkel said. “It’s been a tough two weeks with the two losses. But we’ve still got a chance.”
It will be a reunion of sorts for Head Coach Don Treadwell, who served on Michigan State University’s coaching staff with CMU’s Head Coach Dan Ennos.
“I’ve known him for a quite a long time,” Treadwell said. “Coach Dan Ennos and I have been [at] a couple stops together. I’ve told people many times, when we were at Michigan State that it was no surprise Central Michigan came calling. He is just a tremendous leader.”
The RedHawks will once again likely rely on the redshirt quarterback Zac Dysert to carry the team’s offense. Dysert has completed 63 percent of his passes for 2,922 yards and 22 passing touchdowns on the season while leading the Red and White to the nation’s 22nd ranked passing offense. He has also picked up 224 yards and a touchdown on the ground.
Central Michigan’s rushing attack is led by redshirt junior running back Zurlon Tipton, who has rushed for 1,093 yards and 13 touchdowns on 180 attempts.
“On offense, they are truly a balanced team,” Treadwell said of CMU. “They’re not only a run team or only a pass team… They’re very dangerous that way because you can’t just lock in and say I’m only going to stop this. It makes you kind of matchup across the board.”
The passing offense is carried by redshirt senior quarterback Ryan Radcliff, who has thrown for 2,621 yards and 18 touchdowns against seven interceptions.
One of Radcliff’s favorite targets is sophomore wide receiver Titus Davis, who has caught eight touchdown passes for 835 yards on only 41 catches.
“[On] defense, the thing that has impressed me, especially as of late is that they have really picked up the momentum in creating turnovers,” Treadwell said. “That’s huge.”
CMU’s defense has forced 12 turnovers on the year, including seven in the last four games.
The last time the two teams played was back in 2010, when the RedHawks won in a thriller. Dysert found then-sophomore wide receiver Andy Cruse for a 71-yard touchdown pass with just 19 seconds remaining to lift the ‘Hawks past the Chippewas 27-20.
“For us at the time it was a tremendous win,” Cruse, who is now a senior, said. “It was a turning point in our season.”
Cruse had one of his best games of his career, catching eight balls for 179 yards and two touchdowns.
Junior linebacker Chris Wade has been one of the few bright spots on a RedHawk defense that has struggled this season. Wade is tied for second in the MAC with 107 tackles on the season.
Kickoff is set for 1:05 p.m. Saturday at Kelly/Shorts Stadium.