RedHawks hope to put ‘learning experiences’ to good use

Miami hosts LIU Post on Saturday in home opener at Yager Stadium



OXFORD -- Jack Sorenson described Miami’s first two losses of the 2021 season as “two great learning experiences.”

He and his fellow RedHawks hope to soon start putting to good use whatever lessons they’ve learned in a blowout loss at Cincinnati and a close loss at Minnesota.

They’ll get their next chance on Saturday against Football Championship Subdivision Long Island Post (0-2) in their home opener. Kickoff is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. at Yager Stadium in Oxford.

Miami opened Saturday’s second half against the Golden Gophers with 17 unanswered points, cutting an 18-point deficit to one before the home team regrouped with a touchdown and a field goal to grab a 31-20 lead. The RedHawks allowed zero passing yards after halftime and, led by sophomore quarterback Brett Gabbbert, outgained Minnesota, 341-287, in total offense.

“We learned what we’re capable of,” the 6-foot, 195-pound Sorenson, a sixth-year senior who led both teams with six catches and 97 yards , said Monday during Miami’s weekly media session. “We’re excited. The big thing is we showed in the second half what we’re capable of. Minnesota is not a shabby team.”

One lesson the RedHawks have to learn is how to get off to quick starts – or, at least, how to quell their opponents’ early momentum. Cincinnati scored a touchdown on an 81-yard pass on the second offensive play of their 49-14 September 4 win over Miami at Nippert Stadium. Minnesota led, 21-3, at halftime this past Saturday.

“We’re working on putting a full game together,” 6-4, 256-pound fifth-year senior defensive end Dominique Robinson said. “We were a little slow in the first half. They came out and jumped on us.”

“We were frustrated at halftime,” eighth-year Miami coach Chuck Martin said. “We weren’t getting pushed around. We won some physical matchups. We lost some physical matchups. Minnesota did a good job in the first half of keeping drives alive. Third-and-long, we didn’t execute. Third-and-short, we didn’t execute. Third-and-medium, we didn’t execute. At halftime, we talked about how the game was there for the taking, but it still goes back to what we did in the first half.

“We had tons of positive things on both sides of the ball. The frustrating thing for us is we played a really good game on the road against a quality opponent. (Minnesota) was a team that went toe-to-toe with Ohio State. That gets your juices flowing.”

Two fifth-year seniors, tight end Andrew Homer and middle linebacker Ryan McWood, missed the Minnesota game. Neither player is listed on the depth chart for the LIU game, but the RedHawks came out of the Minnesota game with no long-term injury issues, Martin said.

“Sunday, guys were hurting,” he said. “They didn’t feel great on the flight home. You ask them where it hurts and they say, ‘Everywhere,’ but there’s nothing that’s going to be 4-6 weeks.”

Robinson believes Miami’s second-half comeback showed how far the RedHawks have come in just two games.

“Once you sit down and evaluate it, you can’t be mad,” he said. “It’s motivation for me. It showed what we’re capable of. If we played Cincinnati again, it wouldn’t be like what it was in Week One. If we played Minnesota again, we would win that game.

Freshman kicker Graham Nicholson was named the Mid-American Conference East Division Special Teams Player of the Week on Monday after connecting on field goals of 46 and 45 yards and averaging 64.3 yards per kickoff with four touchbacks on six tries against Minnesota.


Long Island at Miami, 3:30 p.m., 980, 1450

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