Game 3 Preview - Miami

You never can tell how a team will play the rest of the season because nobody I know owns a crystal ball but one thing is for sure, the winner of the annual Miami-UC game usually goes on to have a successful season. Former Bearcat Bob Duckens Jr. takes a look.

I have broken away from my original game review format because this is a game of great importance for the Cats, not just because it's Miami but because this is a chance for redemption.

The 52-26 loss to now #2 Oklahoma is in the rearview mirror but I feel the Cats are very angry and embarrassed at this point and nothing cures that feeling more than beating Miami! This game is already emotional because the two schools can't really stand each other but now UC is playing with a bitter taste in its mouth which could prove to be a bad thing for the RedHawks.

If UC could have upset Oklahoma, Miami could have possibly flew in under the radar and maybe might have caught UC still celebrating but all that is out the window and now Miami will get the Cats coming off of a bye week that should see them ever so ready.

Miami is coming in to the game having to score 21 unanswered to beat Charleston Southern, 38-27. You have got to be kidding? Vanderbilt and Michigan were games where the Redhawks played better at times but I guess a win is a win to Miami at this point.

With that being said, I have always said that in this game records don't matter and I am sticking to that because it's true. Need I remind all Bearcat fans of the Pitt-WVU game last season? For Miami, this is another game against a BCS conference opponent and with limited exposure to the nation, games like this are even more important.

On offense, UC has to get a consistent game from Tony Pike. Cincinnati fans are on edge because there is not much that we all know about this kid. He's 6'6, has a strong arm but that is the extent of it. Expect Miami to test him early and often by bringing pressure and Pike is going to have to make them pay for it by making the right decisions when he needs to.

Tony Pike doesn't have to be like Ben Mauk or Dustin Grutza, he just needs to hit the open receivers, play with confidence and throw zero interceptions. Expect Coach Kelly to give Pike confidence by calling short passes, and screens early in the game. If those go well, Pike will start to open up as the game goes on. Also the Cats need to find a consistent running game to keep the pressure off of Pike. Jacob Ramsey and John Goebel need to run hard if the Cats are to get over 100 yards of rushing. If they do it will be a great night in Nippert Stadium for us wearing the Red & Black.

Defensively, the Cats have got to get their swagger back and return to the ball-hawking and stingy defense that we have all come to know. They must first squash any running game that Miami has in order to put pressure on Raudabaugh. He's thrown 4 INT's this season, so he has proven to be inaccurate at times. His favorite target is Jamal Rogers who leads the team with 14 receptions but his big play receiver is Dustin Woods who is averaging 16.2 yards per catch. Limiting the big play will be a priority to keep Miami from getting any confidence and keep the offense off the field. Expect Terrill Byrd and Adam Hoppel to have big games in the middle for the Cats.

The Cats need this game in a worst way and it's also a chance for UC to answer the questions at QB.

Will Tony Pike do well?

We'll have to wait and see but on paper and even on the field, the Cats have too much talent for Miami to overcome. Add in the fact that the game will be in front of a large home crowd in Nippert and that could spell doom for the Redhawks.

UC wins this one 31-10.

Next Game: at Akron


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