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What Miami (OH)’s start tells us about their matchup with Cincinnati

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SPOILER: The Redhawks are bad.

NCAA Football: Western Kentucky at Miami (Ohio) Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

After dropping a tough game to Houston last week, Cincinnati fans have good news. Their next opponent is not nearly as good as Houston.

The Miami-Ohio Redhawks (0-3), Cincinnati’s opponent this Saturday, are 0-3 on the season. They lost tight games to Western Kentucky and Eastern Illinois. The Redhawks also got blown out by Iowa in Week 1.

Even though their record is bad, there are still some bright spots on this team. However, the bad outweighs the good. Let’s take a closer look.

Miami vs Iowa

The Redhawks lost 45-21 in their matchup against Iowa in Week 1. The team struggled as a whole. On offense, Billy Bahl threw for 266 yards and two touchdowns, but the rushing attack struggled to gain traction. As a team, Miami rushed for 158 yards on 41 carries and only averaged 3.85 yards per carry.

The team did not have many explosive runs in this game. However, they were able to move the ball to pick up first downs and keep drives alive. In fact, Miami outgained Iowa 424-404 in total yards. The team also committed three turnovers that led to points for Iowa.

The first fumble occurred midway through the first quarter. Bahl completed a pass to running back Maurice Thomas, but Iowa’s Jack Hockaday forced the fumble and returned it to Miami’s 12-yard line for 28 yards. That fumble recovery led to an 11-yard touchdown run by Akrum Wadley.

Bahl committed the second turnover when he got sacked by Iowa’s Anthony Nelson and fumbled the ball, which was returned to Iowa’s 19-yard line. A couple of plays later, Iowa’s LeShun Daniels Jr ran for a 43-yard touchdown to give Iowa a commanding 21-0 lead. Turnovers led to gimmie points.

The defense did not have a stellar game, especially when defending Iowa’s rushing attack. Wadley and Daniels Jr combined for 204 rushing yards and four touchdowns. Wadley rushed for 121 of those 204 yards.

Miami vs. Eastern Illinois

That next week, Miami lost to FCS Eastern Illinois 21-17. Once again, Miami struggled on the ground, rushing for only 3.5 yards per carry. Bahl threw for 250 yards to go along with two touchdowns and one interception.

It’s evident that Miami wants to run the ball, but the running backs are not producing at a high level, and the offensive linemen are not opening up rushing lanes. On the team’s first three drives on offense, they only rushed for 40 yards on 13 carries. However, the offense still probably did enough to win.

Miami’s defense did a bad job of closing out this game. In the third quarter, Miami was leading 17-7. Eastern Illinois’ quarterback Mitch Kimble threw two touchdown passes in the final four minutes of action in this comeback victory.

Kimble threw a three-yard touchdown pass to receiver Dennis Turner to cut the lead to 17-14. With 2:45 seconds left in the game, Eastern Illinois got the ball back on their own 49-yard line. Kimble drove the offense down the field and threw a seven-yard game-winning touchdown pass to running back Devin Church.

Miami vs Western Kentucky

In its matchup against the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers, Miami lost 31-24. Bahl threw for 339 yards and two touchdowns, but this offense was plagued by its inability to run the football.

The team ran the ball 38 times for 85 yards and a touchdown, a horrible 2.2 yards a carry. Receiver James Gardner caught five passes for 136 yards and one touchdown.

Other than forcing three turnovers and defending the run a little better, Miami’s defense did not play well. Hilltoppers’ quarterback Mike White threw for 268 yards and two touchdowns. Receiver Nicholas Norris stole the show by catching 11 passes for 187 yards and one touchdown. He had a huge 53-yard touchdown catch in the third quarter.

Takeaway points

Throughout the first three games, Miami has struggled to score points and run the ball effectively. The defense cannot stop the run as well.

The Bearcats have beaten the Redhawks ten times in a row now. There’s nothing in these first few games that indicates they should have a ton of trouble making it 11.