Photo by Connor Moriarty
Playing in front of the biggest Yager Stadium crowd since No. 10 University of Cincinnati visited in 2009, Miami University picked up a 10-3 win over Kent State University in a game that didn't feature much offense.
The RedHawk (2-7, 2-3 Mid-American Conference) defense had one of its best efforts of the season, limiting the Golden Flashes (1-7, 0-4 MAC) to 285 yards of offense. Only 79 of those yards came on the ground.
"Defense, obviously a big step forward as far as aggressive nature, confident, making checks, edging the ball …" head coach Chuck Martin said. "Much better tackling. I'm not sure they have the skill guys of Northern [Illinois University], but we were still more aggressive, regardless of who we were playing."
Miami's defense struggled mightily against NIU in its last time out, and sophomore Heath Harding said the 'Hawks were motivated to play better.
"Coming from the Northern game, we know we didn't put up our best performance at all," Harding, who had big interception at the Kent State four-yard line, said. "Our whole mindset this week in practice was just be aggressive and show everyone what our defense is really capable of because last week was not a good showing at all on our part. We had a lot to prove this week. We played with a chip on our shoulder and I think that showed today."
Miami's offense didn't have its best performance, putting up a merger 287 yards of total offense.
"We were in a similar game against EKU, and it was an absolute debacle on our sideline of anxiety and panic and kids that looked scared to death," head coach Chuck Martin said. "Today we were calm. We were frustrated at times offensively, but our kids just kept plugging away."
The lone touchdown of the day came courtesy of a 19-yard quarterback draw by Andrew Hendrix.
The RedHawks' running game carried the team, as the 'Hawks put up 167 yards on the ground.
"The good news on offense was no turnovers," Martin said. "We out ran them again … I felt like we could have run for more … if we managed the run game better, we probably would have had 200."
Hendrix completed only 11 of 28 passes for 120 yards, but did have a game-high 104 rushing yards on 15 carries.
"Andrew kinda had a day of a really good pitcher with bad stuff," Martin said. "But he's a really good pitcher. So he just kinda muddled through seven innings and found a way to keep the lead. He'll tell you he didn't play his best football or sharpest football. But, he didn't turn the ball over, we didn't go backwards, we didn't have the sacks."
The win is the first wire-to-wire win for the RedHawks since 2012.
"We've won one 42-41 and we've won one 10-3," Martin said. "That's Division I football. I learned quickly when I got into Division I that even when you're the favorite, the team isn't that much worse than you and when you're the underdog you're not that much worse. We've seen that this year."
The 'Hawks' next game is Saturday, Nov. 1 against Western Michigan University at Yager Stadium.