Miami is a young team that is coming off of a 31-10 win at home over Colorado State last week, and a week two 28-21 win over Eastern Michigan. Against Eastern Michigan, senior TB Thomas Merriweather 5'10" 213 lbs., a St. Louisan, rushed for 105 yards and 3 TDs on 15 carries. Miami opened the year playing at 3rd-ranked Florida, and trailed just 21-12 entering the final period before falling to the Gators by the final score of 34-12.
Merriweather (4.9 yds./carry) is the Redhawks' starting TB, and had the one good game, but freshman Tracy Woods 5'10" 214 lbs., has rushed the ball more times on the season, and for more yards, than Merriweather. Woods has rushed for 145 yards on 33 carries (4.4 yds./carry). Merriweather went out of last week's game with an unknown injury (perhaps a concussion), and Miami (OH) Head Coach Michael Haywood said earlier this week they don't know if Merriweather will play this week or not.
The Redhawks run a pro-style offense, and their QB, red-shirt sophomore Zac Dysert 6'4" 212 lbs., has completed 59 of 91 pass attempts (64.8%) this season, for 586 yards and 4 TDs, against 5 INTs, for a passer efficiency rating of 122.4.
Missouri Head Coach Gary Pinkel talked about Dysert.
"I think he's a real good player," said Coach Pinkel. "I think he throws the football well. They do a lot of different things in their offense. It's pretty impressive. He's throwing about 65% completions. I think he manages the game well. I'm very, very impressed with him."
Dysert's primary target is senior Armand Robinson 6'1" 199 lbs., who has 22 receptions for 283 yards, and 2 TDs on the season.
Earlier this week, Coach Haywood talked about some of the problems that his team faces this week.
"He's (Coach Pinkel) done a really good job of recruiting," said Coach Haywood. "Tremendous athlete's! They are extremely athletic. Wide receivers are fast and elusive. Quarterback is athletic................ Defensively, their (Missouri's) ends are really good. They're really good. They're going to cause us some problems. Left tackle, he's really good. So, we're going to have to do some protection things that are a little bit different, to protect the ends. Then also, try to protect the tackle................... We'll come up with some different protections. And then, their corners are really athletic. Linebackers are downhill players. Safeties might as well just come on and line up in the box. Because they just want to be in the box on every play anyway. They want to come down and support the run. They're run stoppers. When they're in the box, they play like linebackers. It'll be a good challenge for us. They're a real good team. Coach Pinkel's done a tremendous job."
Junior LB, Ryan Kennedy 6'1" 235 lbs., leads the Redhawks with 26 total tackles on the season. Miami's (OH) 4-3 defense has turned opponents over ten times already this season. Coach Haywood talked about some of the challenges of defending Missouri.
"When you look at our defense, the best thing we do is stop the run," said Coach Haywood. "We try to make you one-dimensional. In their case, they want to throw it. And so, we're going to have to play some different coverages, some different schemes on the back end, different slant angles and twists up front. We're going to have to do some different things. It's not our strong point. And, they are fleet of foot out wide. I mean, they are fast................. It's not a good match up. But, we have to create it, to level off the playing field, from a coaching standpoint."
Besides Merriweather, the other Missouri natives who play for Miami (OH) are DeMarco Paine and DeAndre Gilmore of St. Louis, and Josh Harvey of Columbia. Miami's defensive coordinator, Carl Reese, is a 1966 graduate of the University of Missouri. He played fullback for coach Dan Devine and has had three different stints at Missouri as a coach.
From what I can gather, Coach Haywood believes that Missouri will throw the football to the exclusion of the running game. He's likely to devise a defensive scheme that's designed to defend the pass, and that may be vulnerable to the run. It sounds like the Redhawks' personnel is geared toward run defense, even though they've managed to pick off 5 passes this season.
[NCAA Ranking in Brackets]
419.00 [39th]___ Total Offense__ 285.33 [109th],/p>
126.67 [88th]___Rushing Offense__ 84.33 [109th]
7____________TDs Rushing___________ 3
292.33 [16th]___Passing Offense__ 201.00 [77th]
128.15 [67th]__ Passing Efficiency__ 122.41 [77th]
4____________TDs Passing____________ 4
33.33 [37th]____Scoring Offense____ 23.67 [84th]
322.00 [46th]___ Total Defense___ 280.00 [26th]
171.67 [81st]__ Rushing Defense____55.33 [5th]
3_________ TDs Allowed Rushing_________ 2
150.33 [22nd]___Passing Defense__ 224.67 [75th]
82.11 [5th]____ Pass Effic. Defense__ 130.69 [83rd]
2_________ TDs Allowed Passing_________ 6
14.33 [T-16th]___Scoring Defense___21.67 [62nd]
+1.33 [16th]__ Turnover Margin__ +1.67 [T-6th]
7 / 4________ Fumbles/Lost________ 2 / 0
2_________ Interceptions Thrown_________ 5
7_________ Interceptions Gained_________ 5
19.43 [90th]___Kickoff Return Avg.__ 21.82 [55th]
8.00 [60th]____ Punt Return Avg.___ 2.75 [106th]
40.44 [24th]___ Net Punting Avg.___ 34.33 [86th]
2.00 [T-54th]______Sacks By_____1.67 [T-70th]
1.00 [T-27th]____ Sacks Allowed____3.00 [T-97th]
29:05 [76th]___ Avg. Time of Poss.___ 32:39 [17th]
40.9% [T-61st]___3rd Down Conv._ 34.3% [T-85th]
N/A_________4th Down Conv._ 25.0% [T-89th]