The last player a team struggling to stop the run wants to see is a talented, workhorse tailback. But, that is exactly what Miami University faces Saturday when they take on Western Michigan University for homecoming.
Freshman Jarvion Franklin is the one of the best running backs in the nation. He leads the country with 213 carries and 19 touchdowns. He's fifth in the nation with 1,148.
The RedHawks (2-7, 2-3 MAC) are 95th in the nation in run defense and are giving up 192 yards per game on the ground.
"Anybody that's been able to run the ball has run the ball for 300 against us," head coach Chuck Martin said. "So I'm sure they're licking their chops. They've watched Buffalo, they've watched Northern Illinois. And they're thinking we run the ball better than Buffalo and we run the ball as good as Northern Illinois. And [Miami] can't defend the run at all. We've got a daunting task."
The Broncos' defense is also stout. WMU (5-3, 3-1 MAC) limited the "Falcon Fast" Bowling Green State offense to just 14 points, their lowest output all season.
"They absolutely beat the dog out of BG," Martin said. "They couldn't move the ball on them. BG is gonna score 80 points on everybody. Got the greatest thing or show on Earth and they can't move the ball on them."
Martin said WMU tends to load the box and plays press coverage, which means Miami's wide receivers will be counted on to win one-on-one matches.
"The tough thing against them, whether they are in quarters or man, they press you on the outside," Martin said. "You gotta be able to beat their corners and they've been lock-down guys. You gottta be able to win some one-on-one matchups, which no one's been able to do."
One of the players counted on is senior wide receiver David Frazier. He's developed into fifth-year quarterback Andrew Hendrix's favorite target. Frazier has 49 catches for 813 yards and four touchdowns.
"It's really gonna be a big week for receivers to step up and do what we gotta do …" Frazier said. "It's an opportunity."
Ultimately for Martin, WMU presents a challenge that Miami needs right now.
"We've got them at home and we're getting a little better," Martin said. "So, again, we need this challenge. We need to keep playing good teams and see what it looks like, feel what it looks like and feel what it feels like. Its' gonna be a great challenge, but they're pretty good."