Central Michigan (1-4) at Miami-Ohio (0-4)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, October 5, 1 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Yager Stadium (24,286) -- Oxford, Ohio. Television: ESPN3. Home Record: CMU 0-2, Miami 0-1. Away Record: CMU 0-3, Miami 0-3. Neutral Record: CMU 0-0, Miami 0-0. Conference Record: CMU 0-1, Miami 0-0. Series Record: Miami-Ohio leads, 12-11-1.
GAME NOTES: The Miami-0hio RedHawks will attempt to end their eight-game losing streak as they host the Central Michigan Chippewas in a Mid-American Conference cross division showdown at Yager Stadium.
Central Michigan is also looking for a win entering Yager Stadium on a three- game losing streak. The Chippewas are 1-4 with the only victory being a narrow, 24-21 decision over FCS foe New Hampshire. Coach Dan Enos's team has been defeated by an average of 27.8 points in its losses to Michigan, UNLV, Toledo and NC State. CMU has lost 12 of its last 14 games dating back to last season.
Miami's difficult non-conference schedule ended last week with a 50-14 loss at Illinois. The RedHawks fell to 0-4 with the loss, which was not unexpected considering they played one of the favorites to win the Conference USA and three schools from BCS conferences. Coach Don Treadwell's team has not really been competitive this year, while being outscored by an average of 30.4 points per game. Miami is ranked 114th or worse nationally in nearly every major statistical category.
Miami possesses a 12-11-1 all-time record versus CMU. The Chippewas won the 2012 meeting in Mount Pleasant, 30-16, to pull within a single game in the rivalry's history.
Redshirt freshman Cooper Rush has taken the reins of the offense and started under center the last three games for CMU. He showed his inexperience last time out against NC State, finishing 16-of-37 passing for only 165 yards with three interceptions to one touchdown. Rush is netting 242.5 yards passing per game, while completing 51.8 percent of his attempts. CMU has a long way to go offensively as it ranks eighth in the MAC in total offense (330.8 ypg) and scored only 17 ppg. Saylor Lavallii is the lead back on the squad by far with 87 carries for 370 yards and three touchdowns.
Titus Davis found a way to be productive during the lopsided loss last week, tallying 80 yards and a touchdown on five catches. His touchdown catch marked the 20th of his career which moved him into third place on CMU's career leaderboard. Davis is ranked second in the nation among active players with a career 19.2 yards per reception average and seventh with a career 72.2 receiving yards per game average.
The offensive struggles are nothing compared to the Chippewas' defensive disarray. They are allowing a MAC-worst 39.4 points per game along with an average of 432 yards of total offense. CMU has hurt itself with turnovers and has four less takeaways (nine) than giveaways (13). Last week, the Wolfpack scored on offense, defense and special teams and also racked up 483 yards of total offense in the game to CMU's 259 total yards. Linebacker Justin Cherocci is pacing the MAC with 55 total stops.
Senior quarterback Austin Boucher had some upside coming into the season after leading Miami to four consecutive wins including victories in the MAC Championship Game and GoDaddy.com bowl in 2010. After serving as a backup to the school's all-time leading passer, Zac Dysert, for the past two seasons, Boucher has led the offense to an average of 8.8 points per game. He has thrown for 363 yards with two touchdowns and three interceptions, completing only 43.1 of his attempts.
None of the team's pass catchers have been very productive. Tight end Steve Marck leads the team in receptions with only seven and starting tailback Dawan Scott has tallied a team-high 91 receiving yards on five catches.
Miami's leading rusher is backup quarterback Austin Gearing, who has seen the field more than most backups this season and gained 140 yards on 36 carries. The RedHawks net only 83.3 yards on the ground per game and have rushed for only two touchdowns this season.
Kent Kern has recorded 38 total tackles to lead a RedHawks defense that allows 39.2 points per game. Miami managed to come up with a pair of interceptions for the second game in a row last week, but it didn't force Illinois to punt once. Rookie linebacker Nate Gerbus led all players with 10 tackles.
Miami has been overmatched on both sides of the ball each time it has taken the field this season. The RedHawks should fare much better in this one against a CMU squad that has been hindered by injuries to its starting quarterback and tailback. Miami may have to turn over the keys to the offense to Gearing if Boucher is shut down once again.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Miami-Ohio 24, Central Michigan 20
10/02 10:33:07 ET