Turnovers and penalties doom Miami as losing streak reaches 18 games
Turnovers and penalties cost Miami University a win in a 17-10 loss to Eastern Kentucky University. Miami committed six turnovers in the game and had nine penalties, six of which were false starts.
Miami also had a field goal blocked and missed another one wide left.
"That is a game we should have won as a football team, but we didn't," head coach Chuck Martin said. "Very disappointed in myself. I'm the head coach and the offensive coordinator, so you don't have to look much farther than me to ask why we didn't win the game. I didn't get it done for the kids today. I didn't have them prepared for what Eastern Kentucky decided to throw at us. We didn't handle it up front. They were loading the box and blitzing us and trying not to let us run."
The RedHawks jumped out to a quick start, scoring just 59 seconds into the game thanks a 40-yard touchdown pass from fifth-year senior quarterback Andrew Hendrix to redshirt freshman wide receiver Jared Murphy.
However, Miami failed to get into the end zone for the rest of the game.
The defense was strong for much of the game, but the offense shot itself in the foot too often. Despite 419 yards of total offense, 256 of which came in the first half, Miami could muster up just 10 points.
EKU's first ten points came courtesy of turnovers. The Colonels were gifted a field goal thanks to muffed punt by redshirt sophomore Fred McRae at his own 15 yard line.
After a Miami field goal in the third quarter, EKU junior corner back Stanley Absanon picked off Hendrix and returned it back 55 yards for the score to tie the game. The pick was one of two for Absanon, who also broke up three passes.
"The pick-six, that's one that's gonna haunt me," Hendrix said. "And it should haunt me for awhile. We're up in the ball game, you can't put the ball in danger like that."
The Colonels took the lead for good with 4:43 left in the game thanks to a trick play. Redshirt junior wide receiver Deno Montgomery took a reverse handoff and then completed a 43-yard pass to junior wide out Jeff Glover to give EKU the win.
Miami tried to muster one last scoring drive after EKU took the lead, getting out to midfield. However, the RedHawks were done in by back-to-back false starts on third and 12, with Hendrix getting picked off on fourth and 15 after he heaved up a desperation pass.
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"Good teams don't jump offside, bad teams do," Martin said. "As my wife will tell me when I get home, you did all the things you tell me that bad teams do. Amen. That's how you lose games: you turn the ball over, you have penalties … We gotta find a way to get them prepared to where we don't do those things."
Hendrix threw the ball 52 times, completing 25 for 359 yards and a score. He threw three interceptions, was sacked five times and lost a fumble. However, on the play he fumbled, Hendrix chased down EKU junior defensive lineman Marquise Piton and forced a fumble that was recovered by fifth-year senior tight end Alex Welch.
Senior wide out David Frazier was the leading receiver for Miami, catching seven passes for 106 yards. Redshirt sophomore wide out Rokeem Williams had 105 yards on six grabs.
Junior linebacker Kent Kern had a game-high 10 tackles. The defense gave up 280 yards of total offense and allowed the Colonels to convert just one third down.
"Hats off to our defense, they played one hell of a ball game," Hendrix said. "It's tough going into the locker room and looking at Kent Kern today because you feel like you let them down.'
Senior Quinten Rollins recorded his first career interception. He deflected a pass in the end zone and managed to catch it on his back for improbable pick.
The RedHawks' losing streak stands at 18 now, with their next game on the road against the University of Michigan.
"I think we're gonna dig ourselves out this hole," Martin said. "I think we're going to do it this year. I really believe that. Does it look like it right now? Hell no, it doesn't look it. Anybody that doubts us, I would doubt us too. But I really believe our kids have the makings to dig us out of this hole and win more than few games this year before the season is over."