What: Miami (OH) RedHawks vs. Wisconsin Badgers
Where: Camp Randall Stadium (Madison, WI)
When: 11:00 A.M. CTScreen Shot 2015-09-10 at 4.10.35 PM
Radio: Badger Sports Network
Odds: WISC -32; O/U 52

After a disappointing opener in North Texas against Alabama, the Wisconsin Badgers are ready to move on to their home opener against the Miami (OH) RedHawks.

Miami RedHawks

Miami has already come out strong, boasting this tweet earlier in the week to cause some buzz:


The RedHawks won their first game last week against Presbyterian (not quite Alabama) 26-7, behind quarterback Drew Kummer, who threw for 255 yards on 14/19 and two touchdowns. Alonzo Smith also ran for two touchdowns on 12 carries and 86 yards, and safety Tony Reid had a fumble recovery and an interception. The RedHawks’ defense played well despite giving up 125 yards on the ground to Presbyterian’s Darrell Bridges. So, what else can we learn about the RedHawks even though they’ve only played one game against a very weak opponent?

The RedHawks went 2-6 in the Mid-American Conference (MAC) and 2-10 overall last season, and have not had much success since 2005 and especially since Ben Roethlisberger was the team’s starting quarterback in 2003. The team has a relatively balanced attack, but will really emphasize running the ball. Smith is Miami’s power running back, while Kenny Young, who had 10 carries last week, is more of the speed guy in the backfield. They did suffer an injury to the offensive line last week though, as guard Colin Buchanan went down against Presbyterian. On defense, they have a strong secondary led by Reid and cornerback Brison Burris. The Badgers will hope their offensive line can use this game as a chemistry-building experience against the weak Miami front seven. Overall, the RedHawks are an inexperienced team that is very excited just to have the opportunity to play a team like Wisconsin.

Badgers’ Injury Report

After losing captain and star safety Michael Caputo to some sort of head injury in the first defensive possession of the game last week, Coach Paul Chryst said yesterday at his press conference that Caputo has been cleared to play. Junior running back Corey Clement has also been watched closely on the injury report, and he will be a gametime decision. Quarterback turned safety turned wide receiver Tanner McEvoy and inside linebacker Leon Jacobs should also be ready to give it a go come Saturday morning, as both players have practiced despite being banged up heading into the game last weekend. There was no update given at the Thursday press conference on offensive lineman Ray Ball.

Badgers’ Gameplan

For Wisconsin, this should be a cake walk, but they need to show their fans in this home opener that this team is better than what we saw in Arlington last week. Clearly, the injuries to Caputo, Clement, McEvoy, and Jacobs affected the team’s play last week; but, we’re onto Miami.

The offensive line struggled last week to block for the running backs, as wide receiver Alex Erickson was the team’s leading rusher with 25 yards on one carry. But, that was against arguably the top front seven in college football and an SEC powerhouse. Miami is different; they are a 2-10 MAC team with a weak front seven. If Clement plays, which he should, the Badgers will pound the ball with him, Dare Ogunbowale, and Taiwan Deal.

Joel Stave actually played very well in the first half last week, going 14/16 for 149 yards and a touchdown. He especially excelled on short throws to Derek Watt and Ogunbowale, who combined for for 11 receptions and 61 receiving yards. He also did well on 1st and 10’s, going 10/13 for 92 yards. On the other hand, under much more pressure, Stave went 12/23 for 79 yards with one touchdown and one interception in the second half. I would expect him to have another great game, but he will need to play better than the second half he had against Alabama.

On defense, the Badgers will have to play better against the run and have way less missed tackles. This will be much easier with Caputo back and D’Cota Dixon out of the game. McEvoy also got some looks at safety this week at practice, so he could see more of the field this week. The emergence of redshirt freshman T.J. Edwards and health of Caputo and Jacobs should continue to be a step in the right direction for the run defense, and they will not be facing off against that Alabama offensive line and Derrick Henry again. Having Caputo back will also strengthen the pass defense, although Sojourn Shelton and Darius Hillary played pretty well last week. Joe Schobert had one of the best games of his collegiate career in the pass rush, which will hopefully continue with some help from the defensive line and Vince Biegel. The defensive side of the ball should have a much better game against the very unexciting Miami offense.

Other Game Notes (from UWBadgers.com)

  • In falling to No. 3 Alabama last Saturday, the Badgers lost a season-opener for just the sixth time in the last 26 seasons — since Barry Alvarez took over as head coach at UW in 1990. All six losses have come at the hands of Power Five conference teams, the last five of which have been ranked 17th or better in the AP Top 25.
  • Wisconsin has gone 4-0-1 in games follow- ing those season-opening losses, outscoring opponents by an average of 15.2 points per game.
  • Miami (Ohio) is one of just three current members of the Mid-American Conference that Wisconsin has never faced in football.
  • Saturday’s matchup with Miami will be Wisconsin’s eighth meeting with a Mid- American Conference team over the last 10 seasons.
  • Wisconsin owns a 30-2 all-time record against teams currently in the Mid- American Conference — with both losses coming at Camp Randall Stadium in 1988, Paul Chryst’s senior season at UW. The Badgers fell to Western Michigan, 24-14, in their season opener and dropped a 19-17 decision to Northern Illinois a week later. An independent at the time, NIU was not a member of the MAC in 1988. Wisconsin went on to finish 1-10 that season.
  • UW head coach Paul Chryst’s brother, Rick Chryst, served as commissioner of the MAC from 1999-2009.
  • Paul Chryst and Miami coach Chuck Martin have crossed paths once, in a 2012 meeting between Chryst’s Pittsburgh team and the Notre Dame squad for which Martin served as offensive coordinator. The Fighting Irish emerged with a 29-26 win in triple overtime on their way to a berth in the BCS National Championship Game.


This one will probably be a blowout, and I expect the Badgers to get back to their classic running game and run for 300 yards and throw for another 200.

Wisconsin 42, Miami (OH) 14.

Images from UWBadgers.com