Before the season even started, there were two games that looked like “sure wins” for the Illinois Fighting Illini. The first game was opening day against Southern Illinois. Check. The other game? That would be the game going on this weekend for the Fighting Illini against the Miami (OH) RedHawks.
Coming into Week 5 of the season, Miami (OH) record-wise is Illinois’ worst opponent. They enter this week at 0-3 and their offense doesn’t look much better.
So far after three games, the RedHawks are only averaging 7 points per contest and have only scored two offensive touchdowns (one defensive).
The offense for Miami (OH) is lead by senior quarterback Austin Boucher. In his first season as Miami’s starting QB, Boucher has only completed around 40% of his passes for 268 yards and has throw one touchdown compared to three interceptions.
Last week against Cincinnati, he completed seven passes for 80 yards and was intercepted twice (no touchdowns).
When it comes to Boucher’s favorite targets, his top three have to be wide receivers Dawan Scott and Rokeem Williams, and tight end Steve Marck. Both Scott and Williams lead the team in receiving yards with 91 and 82 yards respectively and are the only receivers averaging over 10 yards per grab.
However, it is Marck who has the RedHawks’ only receiving touchdown this season which he grabbed in the teams week one loss to Marshall.
When it comes to the run game, Miami’s main man in the backfield is their freshman running back Austin Gearing. The true freshman out of Franklin, Ohio has carried the ball 20 times this season and has racked up only 59 yards.
The team’s only rushing touchdown of the season was scored by sophomore Spencer Treadwell in the team’s week one loss to Marshall.
Overall, this should not be a hard offense for the Illinois defense to figure out on Saturday, but that doesn’t mean the defense should come in relaxed. Miami (OH) sits around 120th in the nation when it comes to both their passing and rushing attack.
They are only averaging 89.3 passing yards a game compared to 60 rushing yards per game.
This should be a “cupcake” match-up for Illinois on Saturday, and should be a sure win before the team heads off to Nebraska to play the Cornhuskers to start conference play. However, anything can happen.
Just ask the Wolverines about what almost happened when the poor little Zips came to town.
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