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2007 Miami University RedHawks

CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Jan 21, 2008


2007 Miami University RedHawks Season Game-By-Game Recaps and More

Miami University RedHawks

Recap: Although the RedHawks enjoyed a nice recovery by tripling their two-win total in 2006, they failed to complete the journey, losing badly to Central Michigan in the MAC title game and slipping under .500.  After nipping Ball State in the opener, Miami was a victim of streaky behavior, losing three straight, winning three straight, dropping two in-a-row, winning two-in-a-row, and finally, losing its last two games to finish 6-7.  The RedHawks never quite overcame season-ending injuries to their top two backs, Andre Bratton and Brandon Murphy, relying almost exclusively on one of the league’s stingiest defenses.      

Offensive Player of the Year: G Dave DiFranco

Defensive Player of the Year: LB Clayton Mullins

Biggest Surprise: In a game of evenly-matched programs, Miami destroyed Bowling Green, 47-14, to take control of the East Division.  The RedHawks played their most complete game of the season, outgaining the Falcons 499-232, and sacking Tyler Sheehan six times.      

Biggest Disappointment: The RedHawks went stride-for-stride with the Big Ten’s Minnesota in Week 2, but fell, 41-35, in three exhausting overtimes.  Miami rallied for 16 points in the final 6:35 of regulation to send the game into extra sessions, making the final outcome that much harder to digest.           

Looking Ahead: Provided Miami can shake off last year’s sluggish finish, it’ll be right back in the hunt for a league championship in 2008.  Only three of last year’s starters were seniors, and the linebacker trio of Mullins, Joey Hudson, and Caleb Bostic will be one of the best in the country among non-BCS schools.

- 2007 Miami Preview
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2006 Miami Season

2007 Schedule
CFN Prediction: 6-6
2007 Record: 6-7

8/30 at Ball State W 14-13
9/8 at Minn. L 41-35 3OT
9/15 Cincinnati L 47-10
9/22 at Colorado L 42-0
9/29 Syracuse W 17-14
10/6 at Kent State W 20-13
10/13 Bo. Green W 47-14
10/20 at Temple L 24-17
10/27 at Vandy L 24-13
11/3 Buffalo W 31-28
11/14 Akron W 7-0
11/24 at Ohio L 38-29
MAC Championship
Dec. 1 Central Michigan L 35-10

Dec. 1
MAC Championship
Central Michigan 35 ... Miami University 10

Dan LeFevour ran for 170 yards and touchdowns from 21 and 29 yards out, and threw for 185 yards with scoring passes from three yards away to Kito Poblah on the way to a second straight MAC championship. Miami got a 38-yard Nathan Parseghian field goal in the third quarter and a 12-yard
Armand Robinson touchdown catch in the fourth, but CMU had control of the game throughout. Ontario Sneed ran for two fourth quarter scores for the Chippewas.
Player of the game: Central Michigan QB Dan LeFevour completed 24 of 34 passes for 185 yards and a touchdown with two interceptions, and ran 20 times for 170 yards and two scores.
Stat Leaders: Miami University - Passing: Daniel Raudabaugh, 29-50, 254 yds, 1 TD, 2 INT
Rushing: Daniel Raudabaugh, 4-21. Receiving: Eugene Harris, 6-41
Central Michigan - Passing: Dan LeFevour, 24-34, 185 yds, 1 TD, 2 INT
Rushing:
Dan LeFevour, 20-170, 2 TD. Receiving:
Antonio Brown, 6-30
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... Miami had a strong bounceback season from the 2006 disaster, but with the loss to Ohio before getting run over in the MAC Championship, the bowl dream is now gone. CMU's Dan LeFevour proved to be too much to handle, while the MU running game never got going with the offense revolving all around QB Daniel Raudabaugh. MU had to come up with a defensive gem to pull off the upset, and couldn't.

Nov. 24
Ohio 38 ... Miami University 29
Ohio only gained 199 yards of total offense, but got help from two key interceptions to finish the year 6-6. Kalvin McRae ran for a one-yard score and Andrew Mooney caught touchdown passes from two and 17 yards out after Miami started off the scoring with a one-yard Thomas Merriweather touchdown run and a three-yard Chris Givens catch for a 14-7 lead. And then the Ohio defense stepped up with two interceptions leading to the McRae run and Mooney's second score. The Redhawks were held time and again over the final 31 minutes with Nathan Parseghian hitting five field goals for the team's final 15 points, but Joshua Abrams returned a kickoff for a score midway through the fourth to stay comfortably ahead.
Player of the game: Ohio safeties Steven Jackson and Todd Koenig combined for 24 tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss and three broken up passes
Stat Leaders: Miami University - Passing: Daniel Raudabaugh, 21-44, 223 yds, 1 TD, 2 INT
Rushing: Cory Jones, 25-103. Receiving: Dustin Woods, 6-75
Ohio - Passing: Brad Bower, 4-10, 77 yds, 1 TD
Rushing:
Kalvin McRae, 24-112, 1 TD. Receiving: Andrew Mooney, 3-47, 2 TD

Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ...
Did Miami actually need to beat Ohio? Maybe. Of course the RedHawks are already in the MAC title game and can achieve their ultimate goal with a win next week, but if they lose to Central Michigan, they'll be 6-7 and possibly out of the bowl picture. The MAC is still waiting on a ruling on whether or not a team with a losing record can play in a bowl this year. The defense came up with its second straight strong game, but the offense failed to close out drives with touchdowns in the second half. Yards won't be a problem against the Chippewas, so it'll be all about closing.

Nov. 14
Miami University 7 ... Akron 0
Craig Meester took a fumble seven yards for a touchdown midway through the fourth quarter. That was it for the scoring. The two teams combined for seven turnovers and 18 punts with Miami coming up with 320 yards of total offense and Akron cranking out just 216. MU LB Clayton Mullins forced the fumble that turned into a score and finished with 11 tackles.
Player of the game: Miami LB Clayton Mullins made 11 tackles, a sack, forced a fumble and made five tackles for loss
Stat Leaders: Akron - Passing: Chris Jacquemain, 12-33, 116 yds, 2 INT
Rushing: Alex Allen, 13-73. Receiving: Jabari Arthur, 6-73
Miami University - Passing: Daniel Raudabaugh, 16-31, 189 yds, 3 INT
Rushing:
Cory Jones, 18-66. Receiving: Chris Givens, 5-78

Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... Miami pulled off the game it had to have, with the ugly win over Akron, to be in a position for an East title. The defense was tremendous, but the offense did its best to screw everything up with four turnovers and way too many overall misfired. Survive and move on is all that matters at this point, and now with a win over Ohio, or a Buffalo loss, the RedHawks will be playing Central Michigan for the MAC title.

Nov. 3
Miami University 31 ... Buffalo 28
Miami got two touchdown passes from Daniel Raudabaugh, including a six-yard play late in the third quarter for a 31-20 lead, but Buffalo would make it interesting with Naaman Roosevelt's second touchdown of the day on a three-yard catch with 2:54 to play. The Bulls had one last shot, but QB Drew Willy was sacked, lost a fumble and MU held on. The RedHawks answered a 92-yard James Starks touchdown run in the first five minutes with 17 straight points, but needed a long drive and a one-yard Thomas Merriweather touchdown run to take the lead for good. MU came up with six sacks, with Joe Coniglio cranking out two of them.
Player of the game: Miami QB Daniel Raudabaugh completed 20 of 26 passes for 259 yards and two touchdowns, and ran three times for 17 yards.
Stat Leaders: Buffalo - Passing: Drew Willy, 33-45, 217 yds, 2 TD
Rushing: James Starks, 19-148, 1 TD. Receiving: Brett Hamlin, 9-100
Miami University - Passing: Daniel Raudabaugh, 20-26, 269 yds, 2 TD
Rushing:
Cory Jones, 19-124. Receiving: Eugene Harris, 5-70, 1 TD

Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... All the RedHawks have to do is beat either Akron or Ohio and it's in the MAC title game. While it took a while to finally put away Buffalo, an efficient day from Daniel Raudabaugh, and good offensive balance, overcame UB's rally. In the end, the defense came through when it had to, especially with the pass rush cranking out six sacks. As crazy as it sounds considering it cam against Buffalo, this might have been the program's biggest win in three years.

Oct. 27
Vanderbilt 24 ... Miami University 13
On a day when Earl Bennett became the SEC's all-time leader in receptions, it was the Vandy running game that beat Miami with 290 yards to 26. The RedHawks held a first half 10-7 lead on a 40-yard Jamal Rogers catch, but the Commodore defense controlled things the rest of the way, while Chris Nickson and Cassen Jackson-Garrison each ran for scores. Vandy outgained MU 411 yards to 238.
Player of the game: Vanderbilt LB Jonathan Goff made 11 tackles with two tackles for loss and a sack
Stat Leaders: Miami University - Passing: Daniel Raudabaugh, 18-37, 212 yds, 1 TD
Rushing: Austin Sykes, 10-49. Receiving: Eugene Harris, 4-54
Vanderbilt - Passing: Mackenzi Adams, 9-14, 108 yds
Rushing:
Cassen Jackson-Garrison, 14-75, 1 TD. Receiving: Earl Bennett, 8-85

Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... The RedHawk defense wasn't awful against Vanderbilt, and it did a good job of forcing turnovers, but the offense couldn't take advantage. Never in a groove, Austin Sykes and the ground game never established anything, while Daniel Raudabaugh struggled outside of one big touchdown pass. Getting a non-conference win over an SEC team would've been nice, but now the real work begins with home games against Buffalo and Akron. Win those, and a MAC title is within the sights.

Oct. 13
Miami University 47 ... Bowling Green 14
Miami got first quarter touchdown runs from Austin Sykes and Eugene Harris, got a blocked punt for a safety, and a one-yard Jamel Miller scoring run on the way to a 23-0 first half lead before Bowling Green finally got on the board with a nine-yard Dan Macon touchdown run. MU answered two plays later with a 73-yard Eugene Harris touchdown catch to spark a run of 24 points in the blow out. The RedHawks outrushed the Falcons 262 yards to 25.
Player of the game: Miami University RB Austin Sykes ran 17 times for 124 yards and two touchdowns, and caught two passes for 23 yards.
Stat Leaders: Miami - Passing: Daniel Raudabaugh, 16-24, 237 yds, 1 TD
Rushing: Austin Sykes, 17-124, 2 TD. Receiving: Jamal Rogers, 3-23
Bowling Green - Passing: Tyler Sheehan, 16-27, 140 yds
Rushing:
Anthony Turner, 6-33 . Receiving: Willie Geter, 5-51

Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... Where did the offensive explosion come from? All of a sudden, the running game was unstoppable against Bowling Green, and Eugene Harris came up with two scoring plays that all but put the game away. Meanwhile, the defense has come up with its third straight good game, and now the RedHawks are the lead dog in the MAC race. With Temple, Buffalo, Akron and Ohio ahead, winning out in the conference is more than just a hope.

Oct. 6
Miami University 20 ... Kent State 13

Miami got a 27-yard Nathan Parseghian field goal with 5:27 to play, and then got a goal line stop with just under two minutes left, as Julian Edelman scrambled on fourth and goal from the 13 and was stopped at the one.
Eugene Jarvis ran for a three-yard score to start off the scoring for the Golden Flashes, but Miami answered with a one-yard Austin Sykes run. The Golden Flashes outgained the RedHawks 463 yards to 411, but lost three turnovers and got killed by penalties.
Player of the game: Miami S Jordan Gafford made 11 tackles and forced a fumble, and came up with the game-saving stop.
Stat Leaders: Miami Univ. - Passing: Daniel Raudabaugh, 8-12, 186 yds, 1 TD
Rushing: Austin Sykes, 18-74, 1 TD. Receiving: Eugene Harris, 4-44
Kent State - Passing: Julian Edelman, 19-33, 260 yds, 2 INTs
Rushing:
Julian Edelman, 22-93. Receiving: Derek McBryde, 7-124

Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ...
Miami might not always be pretty, and it might be three plays away from being 0-6, but it's 2-0 in the MAC and getting the big plays it absolutely has to have in the final minutes. Daniel Radabaugh wasn't asked to do much, but he threw well when he had to. Getting more from the running game would be nice, but Austin Sykes ran well against Kent State. Now the real test begins, having to deal with the passing game of Bowling Green. Does MU have the firepower to keep up?

Sept. 29
Miami University 17 ... Syracuse 14
Cory Jones ran for two touchdowns, and Trevor Cook hit a 19-yard field goal, after Syracuse came up with a goal line stand late in the fourth, to come up with a shocking win. The Orange fought back late, stuffing MU three times on the one line to force the Cook field goal, and then answering with a 28-yard Taj Smith touchdown catch with just over four minutes to play. SU had one last shot, but couldn't get further than its own 13.
Player of the game: Miami RB Cory Jones ran for 125 yards and two touchdowns on 12 carries, and had three receptions for 21 yards.
Stat Leaders: Syracuse - Passing: Andrew Robinson, 17-36, 236 yds, 2 TDs
Rushing: Curtis Brinkley, 12-36. Receiving: Taj Smith, 6-81, 1 TD
Miami - Passing: Mike Kokal, 13-26, 150 yds, 3 INTs
Rushing:
Cory Jones, 12-125, 2 TDs. Receiving: Dustin Woods, 6-95

Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... The offense didn't exactly hum against Syracuse after taking a big early lead, but it came up with the points it needed to, and helped by a tremendously placed punt 51-yard punt from Jake Richardson, was able to hold on. SU might not be a powerhouse, but it was still a win over a BCS conference team coming off two straight blowout losses to Cincinnati and Syracuse. The running game was outstanding, and it had to be with Mike Kokal throwing three interceptions and the team committing ten penalties.

Sept. 22
Colorado 42 ... Miami University 0
Colorado got two passing touchdowns and a rushing score from Cody Hawkins, and Hugh Charles ran for a 17-yard score in the blowout. The Buffs outgained Miami 634 yards to 139, and allowed just six first downs. The second quarter proved to be the end for the RedHawks, with CU getting three touchdowns, including a three-yard Patrick Devenny catch with 15 seconds to play in the first half. Brian Lockridge closed things out with a 43-yard touchdown run early in the fourth .
Player of the game: Colorado QB Cody Hawkins went 19-of-30 for 275 yards, two touchdowns, and two interceptions, while running twice for eight yards and another score.
Stat Leaders: Miami University - Passing: Daniel Raudabaugh, 11-32, 95 yds
Rushing: Austin Sykes, 9-29. Receiving: Eugene Harris, 3-22
Colorado - Passing: Cody Hawkins, 19-30, 275 yds, 2 TDs, 2 INTs
Rushing:
Hugh Charles, 17-123, 1 TD. Receiving: Scotty McKnight, 3-60
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... MU is stepping backwards. After a nice offensive day against Minnesota, the attack has hit the skids over the last two weeks against Cincinnati and Colorado, and that's because the quarterback play hasn't been any good. Daniel Raudabaugh simply isn't there yet. He never loosened things up against the Buffs with any passes of significance, and there wasn't any running game to help the cause. The defense couldn't get CU off the field, while the offense only held on to the ball for 19:36.

Sept. 15
Cincinnati 47 ... Miami University 10
Cincinnati won a laugher as Marshawn Gilyard blocked a punt for a safety and caught a six-yard touchdown pass on the way to a 16-0 first quarter lead, and Dustin Gruza finished with two touchdown passes. The RedHawks turned it over four times, with DeAngelo Smith returning an interception 54 yards for a score. MU's touchdown came on a 16-yard Armand Robinson catch early in the second half, but the Bearcats scored 21 unanswered points helped by five-yard touchdown run from Doug Jones and Bradley Glatthaar.
Player of the game: Cincinnati QB Dustin Grutza.went 25-of-35 for 290 yards and two touchdown passes, while rushing five times for 16 yards.
Stat Leaders: Cincinnati - Passing: Dustin Grutza, 25-35, 290 yds, 2 TDs
Rushing: Bradley Glatthaar, 11-43, 1 TD. Receiving: Connor Barwin, 6-109
Miami Univ. - Passing: Daniel Raudabaugh, 24-45, 240 yds, 1 TD, 2 INTs
Rushing:
Austin Sykes, 13-76. Receiving: Eugene Harris, 6-47
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... The RedHawks are going to have issues against talented, aggressive defenses like Cincinnati has, so it'll be up to the passing game to make quicker decisions out of the quarterbacks. Daniel Raudabaugh wasn't awful in place of Mike Kokal, but he failed to keep the chains moving and didn't generate nearly enough points to stay in the game. This isn't necessarily a team built around making a big comeback.

Sept. 8
Minnesota 41 ... Miami University 35 3OT
Minnesota played its third straight overtime game going back to last season, but this time, it finally won as Amir Pinnix rumbled in from two yards out after the defense held when Jamal Harris intercepted a Daniel Raudabaugh pass. The two teams traded touchdowns in the first overtime, and Miami had a chance to win it after Jason Giannini missed a 26-yard field goal in the second overtime, but Trevor Cook missed a 33-yard field goal attempt. Adam Weber threw four touchdown passes for the Gophers including two two Eric Decker, on the way to a 28-12 fourth quarter lead, but the RedHawks roared back with 16 points in 6:31 finished off with a 36-yard Trevor Cook field goal with :11 to play to send it into overtime.
Player of the game: Minnesota QB Adam Weber went 26-of-40 for 271 yards, four touchdowns and one interception, and ran for 97 yards and a touchdown on 16 carries.
Stat Leaders: Miami Univ.
- Passing: Daniel Raudabaugh, 13-24, 222 yds, 2 TD, 1 INT
Rushing: Brandon Murphy, 12-78. Receiving: Dustin Woods, 6-75, 1 TD
Minnesota
- Passing: Adam Weber, 26-40, 271 yds, 4 TDs, 1 INT
Rushing: Amir Pinnix, 28-126, 1 TD. Receiving: Eric Decker, 7-128, 2 TDs

Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... After beating Ball State in the final minutes and taking Minnesota to three overtimes, Miami games are certainly going to be fun. The offense was humming in the second half with the combination of Mike Kokal and Daniel Raudabaugh bombing away, but the defense couldn't handle Minnesota when it started to get physical. That could be a big problem over the next two weeks against Cincinnati and Colorado teams that aren't afraid to pound the ball. Even so, the safety combination of Jordan Gafford and Robbie Wilson were excellent, combining for 25 tackles and two tackles for loss.

Aug. 30
Miami University 14 ... Ball State 13
Miami won on Brandon Murphy's six-yard run with 17 seconds to play to pull out a tough game. Murphy got the RedHawks first score in the second quarter on a 21-yard run, but Ball State took the lead in the second half on a 22-yard field goal and a 23-yard Dante Love catch. Eugene Harris set up the game winning score on a 56-yard punt return, and finished with 100 yards on three returns for the game.
Player of the game: Miami RB Brandon Murphy ran 19 times for 123 yards and two touchdowns and caught a pass for 17 yards
Stat Leaders: Miami - Passing: Mike Kokal, 14-24, 118 yds, 2 INT
Rushing: Brandon Murphy, 19-123-2 TD. Receiving: Dustin Woods, 5-46
Ball State - Passing: Nate Davis, 19-36, 198 yds, 1 TD
Rushing:
MiQuale Lewis, 25-91. Receiving: Dante Love, 8-80, 1 TD
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... Ah yes, the running game. Sorely missing all of last year, Miami finally got things moving on the ground with a good performance against Ball State. The defense did a fantastic job of keeping the high-powered Cardinal passing game in check, but this last-minute win was about the offense executing when it had to, and Brandon Murphy coming up with a big performance. This was the type of win the RedHawks needed to erase the memories of last year. Of concern is the kicking game with Trevor Cook missing from 32 and 46 yards out.

Aug. 30 – at Ball State
Offense: The offense grew into something special as Nate Davis emerged as one of the MAC's star passers. He should be even better after surviving his true freshman season, and with four starters returning on the line, he should have more time to operate. The receiving corps should be fantastic led by tight end Darius Hill and receiver Dante Love, who's growing into a good number one target. Don't expect too much from the running game even with the expected emergence of quick sophomore MiQuale Lewis.
Defense: Awful for the last two seasons, the defense started to get a little better as last year went on and should make even bigger strides with plenty of experience returning. Six starters are back, and most of the new starters have seen enough time to be ready to hit the ground running. The 3-4 is good at getting into the backfield, but there haven’t been enough sacks and not nearly enough consistent production against power running teams. The pass defense has been non-existent for the last two seasons. Corners Trey Lewis and Trey Buice have been around, and can hit, but if they don't cover better, the Cardinals won't be able to take the next step.

Sept. 8 – at Minnesota
Offense:
New offensive coordinator Mike Dunbar and his spread offense might seem like a radical departure for the Gophers, but the pieces are there, for the most part, for the thing to work right away with small, athletic linemen, quick running backs, and big receivers. The one thing missing is a steady quarterback who can hit the open receiver on a regular basis, meaning the Tony Mortensen vs. Adam Weber battle will go on until fall. Basically, the offense will undergo a change to achieve the same rushing results with a less effective passing game.
Defense: What the Gophers lack in talent they'll try to make up for in intensity and experience. For good and bad, ten starters return along with loads of experienced reserves to give hope for a big jump in overall production after finishing 113th in the nation in defense. However, there was a method to the old coaching staff's madness as the D allowed yards, but went for the big play forcing 32 turnovers. The new regime will be far more aggressive and take far more chances; they can do that with a veteran group like this. The linebacking corps will be the strength, while Willie VanDeSteeg and the line should get into the backfield more often. Can the Gophers shut down a power running attack or a high-octane passing game? No and no, but it'll be better in all phases.


Sept. 15 - Cincinnati
Offense: Take whatever you knew about last year’s Cincy offense and delete it.  Nothing will be the same, as Brian Kelly and his staff dismantle Mark Dantonio’s plodding run game in favor of a fancy spread attack.  There’ll be growing pains, to be sure, but by mid-season, there should also be improvement if a consistent quarterback, such as Wake Forest transfer Ben Mauk, develops and the line adjusts to a zone blocking scheme.  A receiving corps that’s led by juniors Derrick Stewart, Dominick Goodman and Connor Barwin has a chance to blow up in the new system.
Defense: That Bearcat defense, which was so stingy a year ago, returns almost virtually intact.  The unit is small, but very quick from sideline to sideline, and prone to swarming anyone with the ball in his hands.  It all starts up front with a line that welcomes back four players with starting experience, including its figurehead, junior tackle Terrill Byrd.  Junior cornerback Mike Mickens is one of the best unknown cornerbacks in the country and the kind of defender that can shut down the opposition’s No. 1 receiver.  While the offense takes time to adjust to a new system, the defense is going to keep Cincy in plenty of games.


Sept. 22 – at Colorado
Offense: Call this a stepping-stone season for the offense before it explodes in 2008. The overall production can't help but be better after averaging a Big 12-worst 291 yards and 16 points per game. There are too many ifs. If a backup can emerge behind top running back Hugh Charles, and if all the problems this spring finding healthy offensive linemen go away, and if the veteran receiving corps can prove that it's better than last season showed, and if Cody Hawkins and/or Nick Nelson can shine right away at quarterback, the Buffs should start to have the offense that Buff fans expected when Dan Hawkins was hired.
Defense: The defense was better than it every got credit for considering the offense provided no help whatsoever. The starting 11, in whatever configuration that turns out to be, should be excellent as long as a pass rush is found from the ends. The linebacking corps will be the strength with tackling-machine Jordon Dizon leading the way. George Hypolite and Brandon Nicolas form an excellent tackle tandem to work around, while Terrence Wheatley is an All-Big 12 corner to handle everyone's number one. Now there needs to be more from the secondary, and the run defense has to be as strong as it was last year despite losing key linemen Abraham Wright and Walter Boye-Doe.


Sept. 29 – Syracuse
Offense: The pieces are there among the skill players for a night-and-day improvement from last year’s putrid attack that cranked out a mere 264 yards and 17.4 points per game. The receiving cops, helped by the return of Taj Smith from injury, should be one of the best in the Big East, while Curtis Brinkley is a good back to work around. Sophomore QB Andrew Robinson is a star in the making, but he’ll have a hard time with his consistency behind an offensive line that needs work even with three starters returning in the interior.
Defense: It might take a little while, but the D will improve as the season goes on, it struggled in every area but getting into the backfield, and with a strong defensive line returning, led be end Jameel McClain, generating pressure won’t be much of a problem. The linebacking corps will be a work in progress with three news starters, but the excellent safety tandem of Dowayne Davis and Joe Fields should clean up plenty of messes.


Oct. 6 – at Kent State
Offense:
The Kent State offense was all pass, no run in 2005 (and it was really no run). It was all run, little pass in 2006. Now the ground game should be even stronger with the 1-2 rushing punch of Eugene Jarvis and Greg Keys along with the mobility of QB Julian Edelman. Four starters return to a line that needs to be better in pass protection, and a go-to receiver has to emerge with the loss of WR Najah Pruden. In the end, it'll all come down to Edelman. If he's playing well, the offense will shine.
Defense:
Somewhat quietly, Kent State had one of the MAC's best defenses last season getting into the backfield, and to the quarterback, on a regular basis, while getting a phenomenal statistical season out of the secondary. CB Jack Williams and SS Fritz Jacques are good defenders to build around, but the rest of the secondary is a question mark. The front seven, in KSU's 3-4, should be excellent led by tackle Colin Ferrell and the Buck, the hybrid of end and linebacker, Kevin Hogan, should be one of the MAC's top pass rushing terrors. The D won't be as good as last year, but it won't be bad.

Oct. 13 - Bowling Green
Offense: The offense went from being all-pass, no-run in 2005 to being a running team last year thanks to mobile quarterbacks in Anthony Turner, and early on, Freddie Barnes. Now there's a battle between Turner and Tyler Sheehan for the starting job with the hopes of balancing things out. The backfield should be excellent with the addition of JUCO transfer Eric Ransom to go along with power of Chris Bullock and Dan Macon. All-star center Kory Lichtensteiger leads a a good line that should get better and better as the year goes on. The one area of development will be receiver with some deep threats needing to emerge to go along with mid-range possession-target Corey Partridge.
Defense: Bowling Green might not always be a brick wall on defense, but it will do whatever it can to make plays all over the field. Last year this was a break-but-don't bend defense giving up points, but not yards. Now it needs to stiffen. With an emphasis on speed and quickness, the front seven will be flying around looking to get into the backfield to dictate the tempo, while the solid secondary will benefit. There might be problems against the better power running teams with a new set of tackles and smallish linebacking corps, but that'll be offset by the big plays ... at least that's the hope.


Oct. 20 – at Temple
Offense: There was a little bit of improvement; the offense averaged 10.92 points per game after averaging 9.73 in 2005. There's plenty of experience and a major infusion of talent at running back and receiver, but can any of them play? The attack will rely on several true freshmen all over the place while praying for a major, major improvement on the offensive line. The quarterback situation is solid with Adam DiMichele and Vaughn Charlton each good enough to start after seeing plenty of time last season. Whatever happens, the offense will average more than a nation's worst 215.67 yards per game.
Defense: The good: The D improved giving up nine fewer yards and four fewer points per game than in 2005. The bad: The Owls were 117th in the nation in total defense and 118th in scoring D. The 2008 version should be tremendous once all the freshmen and sophomores are crusty veterans, but for now, there's good competition at almost every spot with no sure-thing starter. The defensive line should be far better with an instant infusion of talent, while the back seven has potential, especially at linebacker, to make a big jump in production. It would be nice if a true shut-down corner could quickly emerge with the hope that JUCO transfer Tommie Williams will be that guy. Don't expect miracles, but the overall numbers should improve.


Oct. 27 – at Vanderbilt
Offense: The offense is loaded with experience with nine starters returning including tackle Brian Stamper, who missed most of last year. The line should be tremendous with five senior starters that know how to pass protect and should be better for the running game. Junior receiver Earl Bennett is one of the nation's most productive playmakers and should finally start to get the attention he deserves. Quarterback Chris Nickson is a dangerous run/pass combination with the potential to grow into a star if he can cut down on his interceptions. The running backs aren't special, but they're experienced.
Defense: Vanderbilt won't have one of the SEC's better defenses, but it'll be far better with seven returning starters and plenty of experience. Most importantly, there are plenty of all-stars to build around. Tackle Theo Horrocks, end Curtis Gatewood, safeties Reshard Langford and Ryan Hamilton, and linebacker Jonathan Goff and Marcus Buggs are all capable of making All-SEC teams. The cornerbacks have to shine, a second defensive tackle has to take the heat off Horrocks, and the stars have to be stars for a major overall improvement. Coming up with more turnovers would be nice, but just being better in all areas might be enough to dramatically change the record.


Nov. 3 - Buffalo
Offense: The overall offensive production improved from ten points per game to 18.33. Now the attack has to be more consistent and explosive, and that all comes from the offensive line. It's a big, experienced line that has to give the promising skill players a chance to do their thing. UB can win with QB Drew Willy and RB James Starks, but they haven't had any chance to show what they can do with no time or room to work. Naaman Roosevelt has to be used somewhere. If he's not the starting quarterback, he'll provide a boost to a mediocre receiving corps.
Defense: Last year was a big transition year with several young players getting time as the scheme was switched from a 4-2-5 to a 4-3. Size is sacrificed for speed almost everyone, but there are big backups at tackle. Now the production against the run has to be better. Getting into the backfield won't be an issue as UB could be among the MAC's leaders in sacks and tackles for loss led by senior Trevor Scott on the end. The secondary has the potential to be far better if safeties Kareem Byrom and Mike Newton, along with rising corner Kendric Hawkins, can spend all their time trying to make plays against the pass instead of always having to deal with the run.


Nov. 14 - Akron
Offense: The offense was a major disappointment last season with almost no production from a veteran offensive line and too much of a reliance on the passing game. Now the running game, with a good 1-2 punch of Dennis Kennedy and Andre Walker, should provide more pop, but the the line, with four new starters, has to be far better. The quarterback situation will be unsettled going into the fall with Carlton Jackson, Chris Jaquemain, and Sean Hakes all in the race. The receiving corps is fast and experienced, and now everyone has to play beyond their talent level to help out whoever the new passer will be.
Defense: The 3-3-5 defense of Jim Fleming was excellent last year, and it should be even better with eight starters returning and the right pieces in place. To run this type of defense, you need big linemen. Check. The Zips have 300-pounders in a rotation at tackle and big size at the other two spots. You need playmaking linebackers. Check. Three starters return with excellent depth to rotate in. You also need a secondary to hold it's own. Not a problem. Four starters return in the back five led by veteran corners Reggie Corner and Davanzo Tate.

Nov. 24 – at Ohio
Offense: You know the fastball is coming, but can you hit it? Ohio will try to add more passing to the attack, but this is a running team that'll pound away with Kalvin McRae behind a good, though not as good as last year, offensive line. The attack has to be more versatile after being stuck in the mud against the good teams on the schedule, and that's where new starting quarterback Brad Bower comes in. He'll be looking to add more passing to the mix, but he doesn't have a great receiving corps to work with. The tight ends will get more involved this year to try to keep things moving.
Defense: The defense made a night-and-day improvement from 2005, and should be among the best in the MAC again if replacements can be found for the three star linebackers and All-MAC corner T.J. Wright. The defensive line is big and active, and it needs to be stronger against the run. Getting into the backfield won't be a problem with All-MAC end Jameson Hartke leading the way. The safeties will be fantastic leading a deep and talented group. It's all up to the linebackers, who have talent, but are relatively inexperienced and haven't stayed healthy.


 

   

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