Resurging RedHawks next up for hungry Zips Print E-mail
Written by Evan Meyer   
Tag it:
Furl it!
When college football teams schedule a bye week, some do it early in the season to keep their team fresh after a grueling summer camp and at least one or two games into the regular season. Others schedule it later to make sure the players are fresh for the stretch run. A bye week also gives assistant coaches time to go recruiting

The Akron Zips went through a complete month of training camp and then ten consecutive weeks of action before getting an 11-day game break. While it comes on the heals of a heartbreaking 37-30 loss at Ball State in double overtime,  the break still allows UA to regroup.

It (gives) guys a chance to get bumps and bruises healed up. Head Coach Rob Ianello said. We are a little fresher than we normally would be if we had just a week between games.

Ianello and his staff also went back to some fundamentals in their practices. We got back to doing some things that you do during training camp. he said. I felt it was really good work, spirited work, and hopefully it will pay some dividends.

Practices also included a 25-minute scrimmage for freshmen who are being red-shirted and reserves who have not seen much playing time during the season so far.

When last they played on November 6th in Muncie, senior running back Alex Allen rushed for a season high 165 yards - part of a UA offense that amassed 358 total yards. Sophomore quarterback Patrick Nicely passed for a career-best four touchdowns, including a pair to Jeremy LaFrance ,who returned to the lineup after missing three games with a knee injury. The second came from 22-yard slant out on their first possession of overtime.

Ball State, however, got three touchdown passes from freshman quarterback Keith Wenning, the last a game-winner - coming in the second overtime,  The result left UAs record at 0-10, tying for the worst start in school history (2004). Akron remains the only team in the entire Football Bowl Subdivision without a victory.

As for the recruiting part of the bye, Ianello said he visited 10 high schools in Ohio during a two-day stretch while the assistants covered Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan, and other spots on their list. We branched out and covered a lot of ground. Our coaches did a good job in those days. he remarked.

Getting  back to work, the Zips made preparations to meet another MAC East team that struggled in recent years. The Miami RedHawks, however, appear to be bouncing back under second-year coach Mike Haywood.  Sporting a 6-4 overall mark and 5-1 conference record, MU entered the week tied with Temple and Ohio for first place in the East. The RedHawks last outing turnout out to be a thriller as Trevor Cook kicked a field goal as time expired to give Miami a 24-21 win on a foggy night in Bowling Green. In addition to keeping MU tied for first , the victory made the RedHawks bowl eligible for the first time since 2005.

Miamis turnaround is one of the best-ever in either the FBS or the old Division I-A. In fact, their seven-game improvement ties them for fifth all-time. If they should win their final two games they would eclipse the all-time mark set by Hawaii of 8 games (0-12 in 1998 to 9-4 in 1999) under then first year head coach June Jones.

The MU offense is usually led by quarterback Zac Dysert. The sophomore has completed 64.7 percent of his passes (222-of-343) for 2,406 yards and 13 touchdowns, but he also has thrown 12 interceptions. Dysert has registered at least one touchdown pass in the last four games and five in the last six. However, he suffered a rib injury against the Falcons and is a game-time decision according to Haywood. Redshirt freshman Austin Boucher, who briefly came into the BG game would likely get the call if Dysert in unavailable or limited. 

Dyserts  primary targets are senior receiver Armand Robinson  (65 catches for 296 yards and four touchdowns),  along with freshman Nick Harwell, who has 45 catches for 615 yards, and four scores. Both are among the top ten in MAC receiving. Harwell is the reigning MAC East Offensive Player of the Week after his 10 catch, 125 yard, one TD performance against the Falcons.

The MU defense is a base 4-3, led by junior middle linebacker Jerrell Wedge, who leads 70 total tackles (27 solo). He has three sacks, 12 tackles for losses, an interception, and a forced fumble.

Sophomore linebacker Evan Harris is second in tackles with 67 but is tied for the team lead with three interceptions, along with freshman cornerback Dayonne Nunley.

If the game should be close in the final moments, the Hawks have one of the best kickers in the MAC in Cook. The senior is 11-of-13 on field goals so far this season, including the game-winning 33-yarder at BG with no time remaining. He missed a couple of games with a knee injury but was solid against the Falcons.

There are some comparisons between Hawyood and Ianello. Both were both on Charlie Weis staff at Notre Dame from 2005-08, Haywood was the offensive coordinator and running backs coach. Ianello coached the wide receivers and was the recruiting coordinator. Last year at MU Haywood went 1-11 (0-7 in MAC play) while Ianello has gone 0-10 in his first season at UA.

The game will be the 20th lifetime meeting between the two programs, with Miami holding a 13-5-1 edge after winning six of the last seven encounters. The last meeting was in November, 2007, with the Hawks picking up a 7-0 victory on a Craig Mestor seven-yard run in the fourth quarter. The last time the two met in Akron was at the Rubber Bowl in 2006, with the Zips prevailing 24-13.

Both teams have a lot to play for with kickoff is set for 6:00PM, and being televised nationally on ESPNU.


< Prev   Next >

Football - Latest News


Boucher steps up as RedHawks hold off Zips

18.11.2010 | Football

AKRON, OHIO The Miami Redhawks are still alive in the Mid-American Conference Eastern Division racebarely!
Playing without starting quarterback Zac Dysert, the MU offense got a career best 141…     Read more

Basketball - Latest News


Too much Duke drops Miami to 1-1

17.11.2010 | Basketball

DURHAM, N.C. - Senior Nick Winbush scored 14 points and pulled in six rebounds for Miami University's men's basketball team in a 79-45 loss at No. 1 Duke Tuesday night at Cameron Indoor Stadium.
…     Read more