Red and White prepare for MAC East leader Kent State University
If the Miami University football team (4-5) has any hope of making the Mid-American Conference (MAC) championship game, it must defeat a very good Kent State University (8-1) team that is 5-0 in the MAC and just shy of being ranked.
The RedHawks (3-2 MAC) could have won the MAC East by winning the rest of their games, but a loss to the University at Buffalo means they will need some help going forward.
For the Red and White to win the MAC, they must beat Kent State and then have Bowling Green, Kent and Ohio University all lose at least one more game.
"We've put the last game behind us," Treadwell said. "We've got a great group of resilient young men. We get ready for the next game. That's what you do in the game of life and the game of football."
"They're on a roll right now," Head Coach Don Treadwell said of Kent State. "They have proven this season that they are hard to beat. What stands out to me, when you look at them this year compared to last year, is that they are playing well on both sides of the ball. They've always had a pretty dominant defense. This year they've really turned it up on offense."
The Golden Flashes are carried by a dominant running game and defense. They rank 21st in the nation in rushing yards and first in the nation in turnover margin.
"That is a strength they have," Treadwell said of the turnover margin. "They have made enough plays at the right times. They've been very opportunistic."
Redshirt junior running back Dri Archer might be college football's most explosive player, despite being listed at 5-8, 175. Archer does it all and is currently second in the nation in all-purpose yards.
Archer has picked up 892 rushing yards on 97 carries and has scored 10 rushing touchdowns. He is also the team's leading receiver with 333 yards and three scores on 25 catches. Archer has three kickoff return scores on only 13 attempts and is averaging over 42 yards per return. He has even thrown a 24-yard touchdown pass.
"[Archer] is really gifted and can accelerate," Treadwell said. "He's so dynamic and explosive. All he needs is a seam."
While Archer is the big play threat for Kent, sophomore running back Trayion Durham is the grinder. Coming in at an imposing 6-0, 250 pounds, Durham is a load to bring down. He has picked up 887 yards on the ground with 11 touchdowns on 190 carries.
Treadwell described Durham as a "punishing back."
The defense is led by undersized junior nose guard Roosevelt Nix, who is only 5-11, 245 pounds. Despite his small stature, Nix has recorded 12.5 tackles for losses and 4.5 sacks.
Junior wide receiver Nick Harwell has always struggled against Kent State. He has recorded only four catches for five yards in his two career games against them.
"My first year, I came in caught a ball and got a concussion," Harwell said. "Last season, they had a good defense for me. Hopefully I bounce back this year and have a good game. Even if I don't have a good game, I just hope we have a good game. Trying to stay undefeated at home, that's what we're trying to do."
The RedHawks are undefeated at home, but have struggled on the road, going 1-5.
"Our motto is protect our house," Harwell said. "We always want to play for Miami, play for our team, play for family, and play for our fans. I feel like we play with a little extra enthusiasm when we're at home."
Freshman linebacker Josh Dooley will be in an odd-predicament against Kent State, as he will be playing against his brother Jake Dooley, a senior linebacker.
"It'll be exciting, going against my brother, because there will be a lot of people from my hometown, Mason, there and a lot of family," Dooley said. "It'll be a good football game as well."
Kickoff is set for 1 p.m. at Yager Stadium. The RedHawk seniors will also be celebrated before the game. Fans can listen to the game at www.redhawkradio.com.
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