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2018

Miami Ohio

College Football

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Miami has been relevant in the MAC the last two seasons, but getting more than six wins continues to elude Chuck Martin, who enters his fifth year in charge. With 16 returning starters, including eight on a defense that gave up 24.1 points per game, the RedHawks will be one of a few teams contending in the East division. Their +900 odds to win the MAC place them fifth in the conference with an over/under of 6.5 wins (at 5Dimes Sportsbook).

To reach a bowl game, the key is for quarterback Gus Ragland to stay healthy as he missed last year’s loss to lowly Kent State. The transfer of Michigan QB Alex Malzone helps, but Ragland is the ideal guy in this offense entering his third year as starter after 19 touchdowns and seven picks in 2017, a bit of a drop from the previous season. With Ragland, there are enough pieces for this offense to improve across the board, especially after only 24.4 points per game last year. Ragland will look to receiver James Gardner (927 yards, 11 TDs) most of the time with Luke Mayock and Dominique Robinson stepping into bigger roles. The running game also needs to improve its 3.9 yards per carry with three starters returning on the line, although two sophomores are set to start in the other spots. Running back should be loaded with last year’s leaders Kenny Young (781 yards, 6 TDs) and Alonzo Smith (660 yards), but also Maurice Thomas returning from injury.

The offense has potential, but the defense has already shown what it can do, coming up as one of the better units in the conference last season. With eight returning starters, this group could lead the RedHawks to six wins by itself. There are seniors on the line and in the secondary, while linebacker returns leading tacklers Brad Koenig and Junior McMullen. The goal will be to get to the quarterback a little more with Pasquale Calcagno on the end as they only had 13 as a group last season. If that happens, Miami could take the next step to being a force in the MAC.

Once again, the non-conference schedule could lead to a couple losses as the RedHawks travel to Minnesota and Army. Even the home games against Marshall and Cincy aren’t freebies as they lost to both a year ago. If they only win one of those non-conference games, that means five conference wins are needed and that won’t be easy. A home game against Ohio in November could be important in the race for the East Division, while a trip to NIU, the West favorite, the week after isn’t any easier. The RedHawks can compete in every game and have loads of returning talent, but a difficult schedule makes taking the over a harder bet.

 

2018 Miami Ohio RedHawks Football Schedule

Sept. 1 vs. Marshall

Sept. 8 vs. Cincinnati

Sept. 15 at Minnesota

Sept. 22 at Bowling Green

Sept. 29 vs. Western Michigan

Oct. 6 at Akron

Oct. 13 vs. Kent State

Oct. 20 at Army

Oct. 30 at Buffalo

Nov. 7 vs. Ohio

Nov. 14 at Northern Illinois

Nov. 20 vs. Ball State

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