RedHawk Miscues Allowed Buckeyes To Seize Momentum
By John Porentas
The Miami RedHawks made no excuses following their loss to Ohio State on Saturday. They admitted freely they lost to a good football team that made big plays to defeat them.
Underlying that admission however was a twinge of "what if" that had to exist in the minds. For a quarter, the RedHawks didn't just play the Buckeyes even, they outplayed them completely, out gaining OSU by a whopping 172 yard to 48 in the first 15 minutes of the game.
Miami dominated on both sides of the ball, yet led just 3-0 on the scoreboard. The anemic scoring advantage despite the staggering statistical advantage was a function of a missed short field goal and and dropped passes in critical situations. In short, the RedHawks shot themselves in the foot (or would that be Talon) often enough to stymie themselves until the Buckeyes could gather themselves and seize the momentum. They finally did that when Devin Smith made a catch that was just short of impossible to give OSU a 7-3 lead. From that point on, it was all downhill for Miami.
"We played a great ball club today," said Miami Head Coach Donnie Treadwell.
"We had our hands full. We needed to play a game that in our mind would be our best. We had some opportunities to do that, especially early on. As you know this is a game of momentum. You could see the momentum move to them as they moved down the field."
Miami's players were reluctant to name the the Smith catch as the turning point, and indeed had their chances after that play, but they continued to be plagued by dropped passes following Smith's catch, something that has not been a problem for them until this game.
"That's an interesting question," said Treadwell when asked why he thought his usually sure-handed receivers suddenly developed dropsy in the heat and humidity of Ohio Stadium.
"You'll probably have to ask them. I don't know if the ball was slippery or if they were intimidated by the environment or what, but it's out of character for us. Our receivers and Zac (quarterback Zac Dysert) have been pretty dialed in in practice."
Dysert and his teammates discounted the notion that they were intimidated by the environment in Ohio Stadium.
"All of us have had the big game experience. We played at Florida, Missouri, at Boise. I don't think the atmosphere got to us," said Dysert.
The why of it may never really be known, but the what of it was devastating for the RedHawks. Once the Buckeyes and Braxton Miller got untracked the sky fell on the RedHawks and they were buried under an avalanche of big plays by Miller and a host of other Buckeyes. The door for that avalanche was left open by Miami mistakes, most notably the failure of their receivers to hold onto the football in key situations.
"I thought we played good beside the drops. They're a great team that stepped up," said Dysert of the drops. Treadwell, however, remembered one big play that seemed to stick in his craw.
"I don't know that there was one play. The ones that frustrate you the most as coaches are miscues. We had a high snap on a punt," reflected Treadwell.
That high snap was muffed then recovered in the endzone by OSU corner Bradley Roby for a Buckeye touchdown. The play put OSU up 35-3 in the third quarter and effectively put the game out of reach.
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