Only a few minutes had gone by since Miami’s missed opportunity at Cincinnati on Saturday, but RedHawks coach Chuck Martin could see the trees – and the forest.
The first-year coach had just watched Miami lose, 31-24, in the 119th rendition of the “Victory Bell” rivalry series. The loss was the RedHawks’ 20th straight, extending the longest losing streak in program history and the current longest among Football Bowl Subdivision programs. It also ties the program record for most consecutive games without a win, matching the 0-18-2 stretch under coach Tim Rose between wins over Bowling Green on Oct. 31, 1987, and Oct. 28. 1989.
Martin clearly was frustrated with losing a game that seemed winnable. He was just as clearly heartened by knowing that the RedHawks were in position to win the game against a 29-point favorite.
“Short term, it’s hard not to cut off your head and slam it on the ground,” he said. “Long term, I couldn’t be happier with where we are. I think we’re a year ahead.”
Miami rolled up 364 yards of total offense on 70 plays to Cincinnati’s 370 yards on 69 plays. The RedHawks, led by Dawan Scott’s 50 yards on 10 carries, outgained the Bearcats on the ground, 102-99, while senior quarterback Andrew Hendrix was throwing for nine fewer yards than Cincinnati sophomore Gunner Kiel. The RedHawks also finished with three turnovers, while the Bearcats logged just two – both of them Quinten Rollins interceptions.
The RedHawks scored the most points against Cincinnati since their last win, 44-16, in 2005, and the losing margin was the narrowest of the current losing streak. Hendrix admitted beating Cincinnati to snap the ongoing overall losing streak would’ve been extra sweet.
“There’s a lot of passion in this rivalry,” said Hendrix, who’s familiar with the series as a Cincinnati Moeller graduate. “That’s going to bite at us even more, that it could have been against UC in an atmosphere like this. It’s going to sting, and it should.
“This one slipped away from us,” Hendrix added. “We definitely could have, should have, would have won this game, and that’s going to stick with us and help us prepare for Buffalo next week. I think we surprised everyone but ourselves. We know within this program how good we are and we are nowhere near where we need to be, but we are a very good football team.
“I think the cat’s out of the bag on us. We’re a team that you don’t want to play.”
Miami (0-4) will open Mid-American Conference play at Buffalo (2-2) at 3:30 p.m. Saturday. The RedHawks lost to the Bulls, 44-7, at Yager Stadium in Oxford last season.
Notes: Senior wide receiver David Frazier was named the MAC East Division Offensive Player of the Week for the first time in his career after catching five passes for a career-high 162 yards and two touchdowns against Cincinnati. … Senior defensive back Chrishawn Dupuy suffered a season-ending upper-body injury against the Bearcats, Martin said Monday. … Kickoff for Miami’s MAC home opener against Massachusetts on Oct. 4 has been scheduled for 2:30 p.m. It will be carried live on ESPN3.
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