There’s always room for Dysert

September 30, 2009


I’m guessing that with hockey season just around the corner most Miami fans have already lost their appetite for RedHawk football this season. Before you leave the table, I’d like to offer you some Dysert.

Zac Dysert made his first career collegiate start Saturday against Kent State, putting up a stat line that can only be described as tantalizing. Can I tempt you with 31 completed passes on 53 attempts for 337 yards and a touchdown? If throwing isn’t your fancy then maybe a little bit of ‘scramble-ability’ will do the trick. How does 107 yards on 17 carries sound?

Beyond the stats, however, the real treat was watching how they came to be. To end the first half, Dysert led a 78-yard two-minute drill ending in a 9-yard touchdown pass to Jamal Rodgers. Someone clearly forgot to tell this gunslinger that he is just a red-shirt freshman. He calmly and coolly directed the offense down the field, avoiding constant pressure and finding the open receiver. Here I saw Dysert do three things Raudabaugh could not: escape sacks, throw the ball deep and provide leadership in the clutch.

On Miami’s second touchdown drive of the game, Dysert dished out a second serving of sweetness. This time taking his team 81 yards for the score, Dysert completed 7 of nine passes before Thomas Merriweather punched it in from one yard out. Usually the run is used to set up the pass but on both of these drives Miami stuck almost strictly with the freshman’s arm, calling 20 passes on 23 plays.

Dysert’s third drive of note, however, provided a completely different flavor. This time he beat Kent with his legs. Midway through the fourth quarter and down by two scores, Miami’s play calling remained pass heavy. The Golden Flashes, learning from past mistakes, determined to put pressure on the freshman to avoid being picked apart once again. On three separate plays Kent defenders appeared to have Zac down for a sack. All three times those defenders either tackled each other or just fell to the ground as Dysert cut, spun or simply ran away.

Words cannot describe how impossible this guy is to catch. He is blessed with an eye-popping ability to both escape defenders in the backfield and run past them down field. Raudabaugh certainly showed occasional signs of brilliance as a short-route passer but Dysert’s mobility brings a completely new weapon to this RedHawk offense.

The Bearcats may be more than the RedHawks can chew Saturday, but they may find Miami's Dysert more than a mouthful as well

The Bearcats may be more than the RedHawks can chew Saturday, but they may find Miami's Dysert more than a mouthful as well

Miami plays its first true home game of the season Saturday. With the Cincinnati Bearcats entering the contest as the only Yager opponent to ever be ranked in the nation’s top 10, the odds of Miami winning or even keeping it close seem fairly long. You may not be too excited about trekking all the way down Weeb Ewbank Way just to watch UC ring the Victory Bell 114 times, but I’ll assert that every football fan on this campus needs to see this kid play.

Miami vs Cincinnati is the fifth oldest annual rivalry in the entire country. What’s more, Bearcat head coach Brain Kelly has said in years past that he wants to end it.

Hate for the ‘UC in suck’ is drilled into Miami players. Whether they are visiting a locker or a urinal they see signs that say ‘beat UC.’ To say this series is filled with tradition wouldn’t begin to do it justice.

This year, however, part of that tradition is broken. With Cincinnati ranked No. 10 in the AP poll, this game is no longer just a local battle between two southwest Ohio schools for a bell. All of sudden, this game takes on huge national significance. Sure Miami may be leagues away from playing in a national championship but Saturday it can deny another team (its arch rival none the less) of that privilege as well.

So before you make your way over to the Goggin to christen the 2009-08 hockey season, go check out the Dysert menu down at Yager. Considering the upgrade in competition Zac probably won’t put up another 444-all-purpose-yards performance. Even so, I’m willing to the Bearcats find him to be more than they can stomach.


KSU Recap: RedHawks rain turnovers, spoil Dysert’s delicious debut

September 28, 2009


On a night flooded by consistent downpour, it was the RedHawks and not the weather that made a sloppy mess on the field.

Despite dominating every offensive statistic in the game, the Miami University football team turned over a golden chance to win for the first time in 2009. The RedHawks gave the ball away five times Saturday night, bringing their turnover total to 10 in the last two games and 14 in the last three games.

“I feel like we earned a win because we didn’t turn the ball over,” Kent State University head coach Doug Martin said when asked if he felt like his team stole a win from Miami. “Turnover margin is the number one dictator of who wins and loses.”

The RedHawks out gained the Golden Flashes by 302 yards. The RedHawks doubled the Golden Flashes in total first downs. In the end, however, the RedHawks lost to the Golden Flashes 29-19 because they couldn’t hold onto the ball.

“We practice in the rain when we’re in Oxford. Rain has no effect (on turnovers),” Miami head coach Mike Haywood said. “All you have to do is protect the football with five pressure points, roll your shoulder over the top and you’ll protect it.”

Miami's pile of turnovers is piled high this season

Miami's pile of turnovers is piled high this season

With the win Kent State beat Miami in consecutive seasons for the first time in 21 years. The ’Hawks hold a 44-13 series record against the Golden Flashes but have now dropped three of their last four meetings.

With less than 10 minutes remaining on the game clock, the Miami offense faced a third and long from its own 26-yard line. Dropping back and rolling to his right, red-shirt freshman Zac Dysert, making his first collegiate career start, was caught. The sack would give Miami its first three and out since the opening drive of the half and leave the ’Hawks with a 10-point deficit as time ticked away.

But as two Kent State defenders converged onto the thrower, Dysert ran away. In a golden flash he was gone, cutting downfield for a 13-yard gain and another Miami… first down.

“That’s frustrating when we’ve got coverage and we miss tackles after we have him bottled up,” KSU linebacker Cobrani Mixon said. “I think we just under estimated him. He’s kind of quick.”

Three plays later Dysert kept the drive alive again, spinning away from a KSU linebacker who was left sprawling on the turf. Another double-digit gain; another Miami… first down.

Dysert wasn’t done either. Twice more, once with his arm and then again with his legs, the freshman converted for the RedHawks. Dysert’s sweet performance led to a Miami field goal to bring the ’Hawks within seven points and hungry for more.

“One of the most important things that we learned is that they don’t quit.” Haywood said. “Guys keep competing.”

Back within one score of the Flashes, the RedHawk defense failed to hold. Kent State sustained a nine-play, four-minute drive for three points to seal the game. Sophomore Jacquise Terry, a wide receiver converted to running back, carried the ball on every down except for the final two. Freshman kicker Freddy Cortez, who missed his only two field goal attempts prior to Saturday, booted the final score.

Dysert finished the night with 337 passing yards on 31 completions and 119 rushing yards on 17 carries. He closed the first half with a touchdown pass after leading a clutch two-minute drill covering 78 yards. While several of Dysert’s tantalizing runs came by design, he admitted most resulted from improv on broken plays.

“He’s a good quarterback,” Martin said. “They found something tonight. He adds an element to their offense that they didn’t have with Raudabaugh.

Kent State quarterbacks, on the other hand, only attempted 11 passes all night. Instead, the Golden Flashes generated points off of excellent field position resulting from turnovers and special teams. In addition to five Miami giveaways, Kent State blocked a punt and returned a kick off for a touchdown. Five KSU drives began in MU territory and two others began just short of mid-field.

After dropping to 0-4 on the season and 0-2 in MAC play, the RedHawks now prepare for the Battle for the Victory Bell Saturday against the University of Cincinnati. The Bearcats will enter Yager Stadium as the only top 10 opponent to ever play in Oxford. Saturday’s contest is Miami’s only game in Yager during its opening seven games.

KSU Blog: Live updates in a golden flash

September 26, 2009


I rolled into CANT last night and immediately gained a heightened appreciation for enrollment at Miami. Don’t be fooled by pop culture, Cleveland definitely does not rock. For starters, it rains here. Unbelievable, right? We were supposed to play disc golf and now we CANT. Also, everything here is not located within one single square mile. That’s right, you CANT walk from one side of town to the other in 15 minutes; for that tour you have to drive. Oh, and in case you want some delicious steamed sandwiches from Bagel & Deli, you CANT have those either. But alas, I digress.

Tonight may very well be the most important game Miami plays all season. It certainly is the most significant contest for the RedHawks thus far. Dropping 0-4 on the season and 0-2 in the MAC is hard enough to stomach. Doing so to a team withouts its starting QB or star RB is just downright demoralizing. If Miami loses, I find it hard to believe they win a game at all in 2009. However, if they can notch that first W tonight, I don’t think two or three more victories are out of the question. These projections are not based on the remaining schedule, but rather the mindset the ‘Hawks will take into it based on tonight’s outcome.

DK Kountry Keys to the Game:

  • Zac Dysert vs His first career start: Perhaps Haywood had this planned all along. Feed Raudabaugh to the wolves (i.e. UK, Boise, WMU) and then let Dysert get his wings in a game where he can succeed. Lets hope that plan plays out on the field and not just on paper.
  • Miami Turnover Bug vs The Weather: Miami has had a real difficulty in hanging onto the ball in recent games (by recent games I mean all of them). Tonight’s downpour won’t help with overcoming that trend.
  • KSU Offense vs MU Defense: As mentioned above, KSU is without its two most significant offensive players tonight. Lets hope this means Miami can keep them under 40 points.

Prediction: Finally, an offense Miami can (supposedly) stop. Perhaps this is also a defense (of first stringers) that Miami can score on. I know these are two novel ideas but I feel mildly confident that both are true. Miami 21, Cant 14.



Sorry for the late start everyone. I got to the game later than I hoped to. The rumors are true, Zac Dysert is indeed starting. He is on the field now after Miami stopped (yes, stopped) KSU on its opening drive. While punting, the flashes snapped the ball over the punter’s head resulting in a net punt of 5 yards. Miami, after a few stupid penalties is now driving (yes, driving) under Zac’s direction. His so called ‘scramble-ability’ is also real and not just a myth. His legs and arm have the Hawks inside the redzone (yes, the redzone).


Hold your horses. Miami’s drive just stalled on the 11 yard line. We now have a (supposedly) makeable field goal on the way.


POINTS! Against a real, live, first-string defense (yes, its CANT State but just humor me here). Sure an otherwise great drive stalled but… POINTS! Against a real, live “first-string” defense. MIAMI 3, CANT 0.

Side note: My outcome prediction looks good here but the points prediction will be tough to match now. Bullock’s!


What did I tell you about those horses? HOLD THEM! KSU just flashed past the Hawks on the kickoff for a really long (I didn’t hear the PA announcement) TD. Its the first KSU kickoff return TD since 2007 (yup, I did hear that one). Missed extra point. Now MIAMI 3, CANT 6.

Side note: Yup, my points prediction is totally screwed now. My outcome may be shot too.


O M G! This game is just straight up off the chain bro. Miami just completed a downfield pass. First the redzone, then points and now this!? What is going on out there!? More ‘scramble-ability’ from Dysert and Miami is back in the redzone. Crazy. I know.


Should I say it? I think its ok. Yeah lets just go ahead and get it out there. ZD looks good. Real good. I hope you don’t believe in jinxes. If you do and ZD immediately starts sucking, I am not, I repeat NOT up in the press box. Ok so yeah obviously I am, but just please don’t come and kill me. I mean this in all honesty; its just an observation: ZD looks good.


CANT ball. Merriweather fumbled. This is NOT my fault. I repeat, NOT my fault. Just because I mentioned turnovers and rain does not mean I caused this. I’m just as mad as you.


First quarter ends with a long pass by KSU. Still in their own territory by definitely not backed up against a wall either. Its raining harder now. I really hope this does not nullify Miami’s passing game.


Fumbleruski!? Really!? That play actually exists!? And works!? This is ridiculous. KSU just scored a 50+ yard TD on a freaking fumbleruski. MIAMI 3, CANT 13


Ok, maybe I should just stop typing, pack it up and go sit in the rain. Dysert just fumbled. I’m starting to think this IS my fault.


Fake field goal. Yawn. Everything is just boring and uncreative after a fumbleruski. Of course it didn’t work (although it almost did). Miami is now back with the ball where ZD fumbled in the first place.


Blocked punt. Are you surprised because I’m not. Right on schedule. CANT back in scoring position. Could this game be any sloppier?


So my thought with the 21-14 prediction was that no one would be able to kick field goals in the rain. Naturally the score is now 3-16 with two field goals made.


Miami is about to go for it on 4th and 1 on the 49. I like the call.


How many jinxes is that tonight? We are definitely getting close to double-digets. KSU ball after a run play from the super power I formation (three backs… I made up the term) failed miserably.


Why is the wildcat called the wildcat when both Arkansas and Mike Vick claim to have invented it, niether of whom are wildcats or played for a team whos mascot was a wildcat? Well regardless, it didn’t work. I hope the only KSU trick play that does is that fumbleruski. All else just not nearly as fun… and I want Miami to win. Another field goal. Number three for the night. Yup, I’m good at this prediction thing. Should fit in well at SI someday. MIAMI 3, CANT 19.


ZD is looking good again. WAIT! NO! I didn’t mean that. He looks terrible. Just don’t jinx him, please.

pssst… He just completed two passes down field to put Miami at the 27. How sexy is that. Told ya he’s looking good. Just don’t tell anyone or he might fumble.


TOUCHDOWN!!! AHHHHH!!! WHAT DO I DO!!! MIAMI SCORED A TOUCHDOWN (against a first string defense)!!!


Ok, don’t worry. I didn’t take a victory lap around the press box and thus didn’t get kicked out. I’m still here chief (ps name that movie reference and get a gold star).

Let’s recap what just happened. In two words: Zac Dysert. Yeah, ZD just happened. Deal with it. My boy just took the Hawks down the field in a classic two minute drill to end the half. Tom Brady and Peyton Manning take notes. Great pocket awareness by this freshman created two brilliant plays. First, a scramble-ability up the middle; it didn’t generate many yards (maybe 5) or even a first down; it did save a sac and keep the ball moving. Second, a ridiculous throw down field on the run; flushed out of the pocket, he didn’t throw a pick or throw it in the stands or run out of bounds. He kept focused and found an open WR. The Miami wide tried to ruin all of this. Reverting back to their 2008 form, two other great passes hit the turf after hitting RedHawk hands. But ZD didn’t freak. He just became one. He went back to one of those same ball droppers and hit em up for SIX. All as the clock was winding down.

Even with that score, the deficit is still a lot worse than Miami is actually playing. Really just a few key turnovers/blockedpunts/fumbleruskis are the only reason CANT is winning right now. I’m not saying Miami is out playing them. I’m saying Miami shouldn’t be losing by nine right now (oh yeah, the score is 19-10 right now… I tend to forget that part a lot). I realize this is the same old story from the first few games. Yes, this whole ‘play ok but get blownout because of turnovers’ routine is getting old. But seriously, this offense is completely different with ZD at the reigns. There is a golden flash of hope for the RedHawks here.


Miami starts with the ball this half. A poor return and stupid penalty puts them at their own 9. Way to keep that momentum rolling!


Three and out with lost yardage. Then a short punt to the 39… WOOP WOOP! All aboard the fail boat.


KSU CANT get do anything with the field position. Three and out. Punt into the endzone. Here’s the battle of attrition I was expecting.


ZD flushed out of the pocket. KSU broken ankles everywhere. Shoulda been a 10 yard loss. Miami first down instead.


Interception. The love/hate relationship continues.


My boy Jordan Gafford just flys into the backfield and sacks the KSU QB for a 18 yard loss. Knocks the flashes back so they CANT kick a field goal. Another punt into the endzone.


Seriously, someone should really pick up all those broken ankles off of the field. They’re starting to get in the way. ZD is nasty good. Love that scramble-ability.


Haha, Miami just ran a draw play and it worked perfectly. Proof that Haywood is a better coach than Monty.


They finally sacked ZD. I think that makes them 1 for like 26 on the night. Of course Zac lets em know whats good by ripping off a 13 yard run the next play.


Another failed 4th down near mid field for Miami. I still agree with the call. I completely disagree with the spot of the ball by the ref.

UGH! Big pass play when everyone is thinking run. KSU TD. MIAMI 10, CANT 26.


One of the best parts of ZDs scrambles is the lady in front of the press box screaming “COME ON! GET HIM!” in a high, whiny voice every time.


WOW! After two 4th and shorts failed you think Haywood might pack it up on 4th and long. NOPE! Zac zips it downfield (I know, Im still getting used to it too) for the first and more.


Dysert. Slicing and dysing on a bootleg to the two yard line. I will never get tired of watching him run.


The super power I is back. This time it works. TOUCHDOWN MIAMI! Down by 10 the Hawks go for two. Apparently the special teams units didn’t make the trip up. Another rare sack of Zac. MIAMI 16, CANT 26.


Ok, when I said the special teams units didn’t make it I meant just the punter and kick. Well I guess the entire unit stayed back with them because KSU just ripped off another huge run back, this time barely short of the 50.


Another nice stop (whats that?) by the Miami D. Great punt (whats that?) by KSU puts Miami at the 2 yard line.


Another draw, another big gain. This is weird and I don’t know what to say.


Holding nullifies a great play call. ZD keeper after play action. I’m telling you this kid looks so good. He’s sexy and he can freaking play some football.


What do ya know, the rain kicks up and Miami fumbles again ::slam forehead against desk… but covertly so no else notices and kicks me out::


Ok now I will say it. Miami is clearly out playing CANT. These turnovers and what not are just out of control.


I am so sorry for all of you reading this who are unable to watch this performance by ZD. I was just about to write how Miami’s drive didn’t go anywhere for the first time since the beginning of the half when he goes all Houdini on some CANT players and runs for another first down. Someone do a count: how many time have I written that tonight? Next play he does it again with this wicked sick spin move that makes the defender literally fall down. Oh hey, I look up from my computer and what do I see… ZD with the ball running wild. KSU just CANT stop him.


If this was a home game for my high school football team, we’d be doing the “HE’s A FRESH-MAN” cheer right now.


This is getting comical. KSU players just keep falling over themselves everywhere as they chase ZD. The drive ends with a long field goal (yup, another one) in the rain. MIAMI 19, CANT 26


Its raining cats and dogs. Literally. Ok not literally, but that would make a really cool sports story. Anyway, its raining really really super de duper do dah hard right now. KSU has the ball at mid field with their first real drive in a long while.


UGH again! Another long run play for CANT to put them inside the red zone. Why do I get the feeling that the rain gives them super powers. Seriously, they play horrible when it stops and awesome (actually, lucky) when it pours.


KSU field goal… in the pouring rain… very suspicious. Also, very crushing for Miami. HAWKS 19, CANT 29


Miami takes over at their 29 with 1:13 left in the game down by 10. Not looking good, especially since its still raining and KSU is thus super charged. Oh yup, and as I type that ZD throws a pick. Game over.


I want to retract an earlier statement. Even tho Miami lost to a pitiful CANT team, I no longer think it means they will go winless. If you hadn’t noticed, I developed a man-crush on ZD tonight. Despite defeat, Dysert was a tasty treat. This team can win games with him once it stops turning the ball.


Hey, Miami gets to go back to Miami and not stay in Kent forever… sounds like a win to me. Goodnight everybody. Stay dry. Stay classy. Oh, and keep reading, keep writing, because some people just KENT.

KSU Preview: A golden flash of hope for Miami

September 24, 2009


Change is on the way for the Miami University football team. After an 0-3 start to the season, head coach Mike Haywood decided to bench fifth-year senior quarterback Daniel Raudabaugh in favor of redshirt freshman Zac Dysert.

“We believe that we should be more effective on offense,” Haywood said of the team’s first three games. “The staff felt it was a great opportunity to put Dysert into the starting lineup so that we could do the things that we do best on offense. Zac’s quick passing game and his ability to run the football will help us succeed.”

With Raudabaugh starting under center, the RedHawks failed to score during the season’s initial 10 quarters. Only once Western Michigan University built a 35-0 second half lead and began giving playing time to its reserves did Miami find the endzone. In those first three games, Raudabaugh completed 59 of 111 passes for 569 yards with five interceptions and two touchdowns.

As he changes quarterbacks Haywood acknowledged that the offense must change as well. Dysert brings a different skill set to the position than Raudabaugh and the team must adjust accordingly. In Haywood’s opinion, Dysert is more athletic, more of a runner and the passing game will be quicker under his direction. Since Saturday will be the youngster’s first career start, Haywood plans to reduce the amount of reads he gives him.

Dysert appeared briefly in Miami’s two most recent contests. He made his first career start at the collegiate level against Boise State University. His first throw as a RedHawk went for an interception and gave the Broncos possession inside the redzone. He finished that game with completions on two of four passes with two interceptions and only one total yard.

The next week against Western Michigan Haywood gave Dysert another chance and the freshman demonstrated vast improvement. Playing a new set of Broncos Dysert completed three of seven passes for 74 yards, a touchdown and no interceptions. In two possessions, he guided the RedHawks on touchdown drives of 80 and 62 yards.

“He did a nice job when he went into the game (at Western Michigan),” Haywood said. “He showed awareness and scramble-ability, and he showed much more confidence that he did the week before at Boise. His eyes weren’t as big as saucers anymore.”

WIth injuries at QB and RB, Kent State is quickly losing its footing on offense.

WIth injuries at QB and RB, Kent State is quickly losing its footing on offense.

Both Miami and its Saturday opponent Kent State University (1-2) have endured season ending injuries to their respective best offensive players. The RedHawks lost their leading wide out Chris Givens to a shoulder tear while the Golden Flashes lost their star senior running back Eugene Jarvis to a Kidney injury. Sources told The Cleveland Plain Dealer that a physical exam revealed that Jarvis’ injured kidney is the only one he was born with.

Jarvis rushed for 798 yards as a red-shirt freshman, 1,699 yards as a sophomore and 801 yards during an injury-plagued junior season. He opened the 2009 campaign with 143 yards against Coastal Carolina before suffering the kidney injury at Boston College.

Haywood refused to acknowledge that Jarvis’ absence gives the RedHawks an advantage. His defensive game plan for Saturday remains highly focused on stopping the run.

“Their second team running back is as good as anyone we have,” Haywood said.

The Golden Flashes are likely to be without their starting quarterback as well. Sophomore gunslinger Giorgio Morgan, who took over quarterbacking duties in light of Julian Edelman’s departure to the NFL, played most of the season’s first two games with a badly sprained left ankle. He missed Kent State’s third game, however, and KSU head coach Doug Martin told ESPN that he is still really hampered, is not moving well and does not want to put him in a game until he can protect himself and play to his abilities.

Even without his starting quarterback and running back, Martin remains confident in his team’s ability to perform.

“I guarantee right now we’re going to have a winning season, and we’re going to a bowl game,” Martin told the Plain Dealer. “I’m burning the ships.”

If you can win, just start buring things, especially boats. That's KSUs strategy at least.

If you can't win, just start buring things, especially boats. That's KSUs strategy.

Miami’s defensive captain Jordan Gafford believes Kent State runs a unique style of offense. He said they routes run non-traditional routes and implement a unique protection scheme. Because the Golden Flashes’ offense is so different from anything the RedHawks have seen thus far, Gafford noted that preparation this week in practice becomes even more important.
The Miami D played more like an F in the first three games, giving up over 40 points in all three contests. Against Western Michigan, however, the score may have been inflated due to the offense’s frequent turnovers inside its own territory. Even so, Gafford refused to use this as an excuse. Instead, he looks at it as a challenge.

“We can’t look at the offense as a separate unit from us,” Gafford said. “The offense is like our brother, so when we get in tough spots like that we go out with the mindset of ‘hey, my brother needs me right now.’”

To turn the tide of defensive meltdowns, Gafford said they are focusing on playing fast and physical against Kent State.
“The first rule of defense is to get out of control,” Gafford said. “You want to knock someone back.”

While the defense gets out of control, the RedHawks will try to get their season under control as they look for their first win of the year. A victory against the Golden Flashes would even Miami’s conference record at 1-1. The contest marks Miami’s fourth consecutive game away from Oxford during a season in which the RedHawks make only one appearance at Yager Stadium during their first seven games.

Raudabaugh benched in favor of Dysert

September 22, 2009
Haywood sacked Raudabaugh this week and will start his quarterback of the future instead. Is it now officially a rebuilding year for the RedHawks?

Haywood sacked Raudabaugh this week and will start his quarterback of the future instead. Is it now officially a rebuilding year for the RedHawks?

Fifth-year senior Daniel Raudabaugh practiced with the second stringers today. Afterwards, head coach Mike Haywood confirmed that redshirt freshman Zac Dysert will start at quarterback for the RedHawks against Kent State University Saturday.

“We believe that we should be more effective on offense,” Haywood said. “The staff felt it was a great opportunity to put Dysert into the starting lineup so that we could do the things that we do best on offense. Zac’s quick passing game and his ability to run the football will help us succeed.”

Dysert has only attempted 11 passes during his collegiate career, five of which went for completions and two of which went for interceptions. The redshirt freshman threw his first touchdown for Miami Saturday against Westen Michigan University and has never started a game for the RedHawks. Comparatively, Raudabaugh has completed 59 of 111 passes this year with five interceptions and two touchdowns.

Haywood noted that the offense will look different against the Golden Flashes since Dysert brings a different skill set to the table than Raudabaugh and thus the team must adjust accordingly. He believes Dysert is more athletic, more of a runner and the passing game will be quicker under his direction. Since Saturday will be the youngster’s first career start, Haywood plans to reduce the amount of reads he gives him.

Overall, Haywood stated that this is an opportunity for the team to move forward and gives Dysert a chance to develop as a quarterback. Haywood noted vast improvement in Dysert’s performance and confidence from his first game action against Boise State University to his second appearance Saturday against WMU. In Boise he threw a pick on his first career pass and finished the night two of four with one yard and two interceptions. In Kalamazoo he went 3 of 7 with no interceptions and one touchdown. He also ran four times for 32 yards.

In addition to Dysert’s increase in stats from game to game, Haywood also noted a decrease in the size of his eyes.

“He did a nice job when he went into the game (at Western Michigan),” Haywood said. “He showed awareness and scramble-ability, and he showed much more confidence that he did the week before at Boise. His eyes weren’t as big as saucers anymore.”

Haywood hopes his team can rally around a redshirt freshman at quarterback

Haywood hopes his team can rally around a redshirt freshman at quarterback

WMU Recap: You can put it on the board… YES!

September 21, 2009
Don't be fooled by Miami's first score. The Broncos still trampled the RedHawks with ease.

Don't be fooled by Miami's first score. The Broncos still trampled the RedHawks with ease.

The RedHawks turned over a new leaf Saturday, scoring for the first time in 2009 after 10 pointless periods. Miami University also turned over the ball five times, leading to its third consecutive loss of the season, a 48-26 defeat to Western Michigan University.

On the first offensive play of the game, RedHawk running back Thomas Merriweather fumbled the football into the hands of a Bronco defender. Western Michigan made the most of the mistake by quickly securing six points on the return.

For a winless and then scoreless Miami team who’s only point of pride was strong starts, the early error proved devastating. The half ended with three more RedHawk turnovers and an insurmountable 28-0 Bronco lead.

“You can’t turn the football over and win games in the Mid-American Conference,” Miami head coach Mike Haywood said. “The Broncos did a really nice job of going down and scoring when we made our mistakes.”

WMU pushed its lead to 35 on its second drive of the second half. The script seemed frighteningly familiar to a team hoping to escape its scoreless blowout losses from the first two games when it commenced conference play. Adversity had come calling once again, a foe the RedHawks had not fared well with in the past.

Instead of folding up like a lawn chair, however, the Red and White came back to fight. Answering Western’s fifth touchdown of the game, Miami composed a scoring drive of its own. Senior quarterback Dan Raudabaugh led the RedHawks down the field, amassing 76 yards, five first downs and not a single handoff. Wide out Eugene Harris hung on to the final throw, a 14-yard touchdown pass marking Miami’s first points of the 2009 season. The team took an immediate liking to the new experience of scoring and went on to post three more touchdowns in the game.

“You could see it in the team’s eyes,” Harris said of his score. “(The first touchdown) really motivated us, and it gave us a lot of confidence.”

Although the Miami defense gave up more than 40 points for the third consecutive game, the RedHawks outgained the Broncos on the night by 51 total yards. WMU efficiently scored a large number of points on a relatively average number of yards by capitalizing on Miami turnovers. Four of the Bronco’s scoring drives covered 38 yards or less.

WMU denied Miami's bid for its first win, running away with the game from the very first play. Sure Miami scored, but it was against mostly Bronco backups.

WMU denied Miami's bid for its first win, running away with the game from the very first play. Sure Miami scored, but it was against mostly Bronco backups.

The Western Michigan rushing attack that gained only 60 total yards in two games prior to Saturday reeled off 152 yards against the RedHawks. In a game that provided playing time to many Bronco backups, WMU played three different quarterbacks and three different running backs while nine different players caught passes for Western.

Raudabaugh led the RedHawks in all passing categories but backup Zac Dysert once again saw limited playing time as well. With running back Andre Bratton ailing, freshman ball carrier Roman Lawson led the Miami ground game with 43 yards on seven carries; starting back Merriweather only managed 15 yards on nine carries. With Chris Givens out for the season, junior Armand Robinson led RedHawk receivers with 95 yards on nine receptions.

“They got a level of confidence in themselves, finally putting a touchdown on the board,” Haywood said. “They say, ‘Wow, we can really put a touchdown on the board,’ and then all of a sudden, the next thing we know we’re moving the ball with some consistency with good blocking inside and running better routes.”

The loss to Western drops Miami to 0-3 on the season and 0-1 in MAC play. In the last 53 games the RedHawks have posted 17 wins and 36 losses; this stretch of futility comes on the heels of a 37-16 stretch prior to that.

“I think 90 percent of this is a psychological deal that we have to overcome and we have to get better at it,” Haywood said. “It’s the coach’s responsibility and it starts with me, getting guys to have faith, trust and belief in themselves and they can believe in their teammates as well.”

Miami finishes a four game stretch away from Oxford Saturday at Kent State University. The Golden Flashes were picked to finish just above the RedHawks in the MAC preseason poll. Saturday’s contest under the lights pits two team’s looking for their first conference win of 2009. To turnover a win, Miami must first stop turning over the ball.

WMU Gameday Preview

September 19, 2009


Could the stakes be any higher for Miami this early in the season? Today’s game in Kalamazoo may stand as the last chance the RedHawks have to keep the already much evaporated support of their fans for 2009. Considering MU has yet to play a conference game, that’s a scary thought. The again, so is losing 90-0 to open a season.

The two most recent political cartoons in Miami’s campus newspaper completely discredited Mike Haywood as a legitimate coach… after only two career games! Miami took over the top spot on ESPN’s Bottom 10 poll and is getting attention from national media for all the wrong reasons. The buzz all over campus and on RedHawk discussion boards speaks only of the early end to football season and a hopeful look towards hockey.

As if matters couldn’t get any worse, fate lent a helping hand in the construction of the Miami football coffin this week as the RedHawks’ top wide receiver suffered a season ending injury. Now MU’s scoreless offense must win back fan support without it’s No. 1 threat.

Two embarrassing blowouts wasted this team’s first fresh start given upon the arrival of coach Haywood. Now ready to begin MAC play, Miami gets a second (and probably last) chance. A win proves the RedHawks can compete in conference this season, discredits its first two losses to aggressive scheduling and shows that change is coming. A loss sends a clear message that the issues on this team run much deeper than anyone ever thought.

DK Kountry Key Matchups:

  • Miami QBs vs WMU secondary: Haywood is on record saying that this is a quarterback driven offense. Raudabaugh and Dysert must be able to protect the football and complete passes down field for Miami to be successful. So far coach has not been happy with the decision making of his signal callers, wanting them to take what the defense gives rather than creat plays on their own. Without Givens on the field, all of this becomes much more difficult.
  • WMU offensive line vs MU defensive line: Haywood wants Tim Hiller on the ground or out of the pocket. This will only happen if Miami can penetrate into the backfield quickly. Hiller is known for a fast release with the football so the RedHawk defense must vary its pre-snap reads and put quick pressure on the QB.
  • RedHawks vs Adversity: I feel confident in predicting that the Broncos will score at some point in this game. So far, Miami has not responded well to such trying circumstances. The game will not go completely according to plan and this team needs to learn to overcome. This lesson, in my opinion, is the highest priority for MU this season. If the RedHawks can develop as a team from a psychological perspective, the points (and even wins) will come.

Prediction: I said if Miami loses it shows the issues on this team run deeper than anyone expected. I think that is the case. I also think, however, that the RedHawks will go a long way tonight in showing that those issues are being addressed head on. It’s not common that the absence of one player completely changes a team but the losses of Givens is going to prove devastating. Yes, Miami is deepest at wide receiver, but Givens appeared to be the only one with true report with DR. He made the tough catches that needed to be made. Ultimately I think the injury is a blessing in disguise for the long term, but that disguise may be extremely deceiving this season. I expect the MU offense to struggle early, which will result in a first half Bronco lead. I also expect to see Miami play well, both from behind and in the second half. Miami will overcome adversity. Miami will score. In the end, however, I think Miami will lose. Broncos 20, Miami 10