The Miami University football team has no shot at a postseason berth. The RedHawks can't win the Mid-American Conference and can't go to a bowl game. But 'Hawks still have something left to play for in their final road trip of the season against Central Michigan University.
"For me, it's just about how you want to go out these last two games of your career, your college career, your career at Miami and potential your football career …" head coach Chuck Martin said. "We've talked about the two games and how do you want the season to end? We've had a pretty good year as far as taking a giant step forward. Last game was the worst game of the year and we want to stop that trend and get back to where we're very competitive in this league against anyone."
Unlike Miami (2-8, 2-4 MAC), CMU (6-4, 4-2 MAC) has a real shot at postseason play. The Chippewas are a half game back of the MAC West lead and boast the MAC's top defense. That presents a tough challenge for a RedHawk offense that has struggled the past two weeks.
"We're bound and determined and excited about the opportunity to play better than we played two weeks ago, although I think it is a similar challenge," Martin said. "Hopefully we're gonna paly a lot better."
Central also has one of the better running backs in the MAC in senior Thomas Rawls. The 5-foot-10, 217-pound tailback is second in the MAC with 1,011 yards and 10 touchdowns on 188 carries. Miami has struggled to stop the run all season and Rawls presents another challenge.
"There is no good plan," Martin said with a resigned chuckle. "We'll put as many guys down in the box as we can, but we do that already. We gotta play more physical. We gotta play physically and mentally tougher. We gotta tackle better."
The RedHawk offense will once again lean on fifth-year quarterback Andrew Hendrix. He said the practices since the 'Hawks last game have built confidence.
"They've been great," Hendrix said. "These have been the best two practices we've had. We're feeling fresh, we got the week off. Guys came back focused and ready to go. We really want to win these last two games and send the seniors out the right way."
It's Hendrix's and the rest of the Miami seniors' second-to-last game and final road trip. They want end their time at Miami with wins.
"It's been a long journey for me," Hendrix said. "This is my fifth year playing college football. It's been a great journey and I'd like to end it the right way. On the right side of the win column. For us and all the guys here."
Kickoff is set for 1 p.m. Saturday in Mt. Pleasant, Michigan. Fans can listen to the game live on redhawkradio.com.