BOISE, Idaho – Playing in the national spotlight for the second time in three weeks, Miami University’s football team followed a familiar path Saturday. Look good for a while, then get buried.
“You’ve got to be perfect from our perspective and be hitting all cylinders to play against a tremendous team like Boise,” MU coach Don Treadwell said. “There were some times we did that. (But) at some point, they’re going to make some good plays too.”
HARWELL OUT-HARPER BACK
The RedHawks (1-2) took a beating in yardage, getting outgained 599-227. They also played without standout receiver Nick Harwell, who didn’t make the trip to Boise. Treadwell said Harwell has a leg injury. When questioned further, Treadwell said, “That’s the extent of my comment. He has a leg (injury) and he’s out. Next question.”
Defensive tackle Austin Brown didn’t play either due to an undisclosed injury. That clearly didn’t help Miami’s rushing defense as redshirt senior D.J. Harper ran 16 times for a career-high 162 yards and three touchdowns for BSU (1-1).
Harper also caught a 21-yard TD pass from Joe Southwick, who converted 24-of-31 throws for 304 yards and two scores (Chris Potter had the other). Harper added a conversion run, while teammate Michael Frisina kicked a 26-yard field goal and four extra points.
BRONCOS KNOW HOW TO ROLL
“We’ve kind of always been that team that when we get it rolling, we can get some things done,” Boise coach Chris Petersen said. “But it was probably good for us to go through that, stumble on ourselves a little bit, because we’re going to have some tight games down the road.”
Zac Dysert completed 20-of-27 passes for 176 yards for the RedHawks, who had no turnovers in the game. Dysert was also sacked four times, and the visitors managed just 49 yards on 23 carries.
“We didn’t make very many plays. I think that’s what it comes down to,” Dysert said. “They’re a great team. They have a good defense. They play really tough, really fast, really hard, and they play with a lot of passion. So when we don’t execute our plays as well as we need to, then that kind of stuff happens.”
MU TRICK PLAY PAYS OFF
Miami’s lone touchdown was a 2-yard halfback pass from Spencer Treadwell to Andy Cruse with 4:39 left in the first half. It gave the visitors their 9-8 edge and was set up by a Pat Hinkel fumble recovery. The Treadwell-to-Cruse connection was the RedHawks’ first TD pass by a non-quarterback since Ryne Robinson hit Michael Larkin on Oct. 9, 2004, against Kent State.
“I was on the sideline, the defense got a great turnover, and coach is looking to score right away,” said Treadwell, who gained 17 yards on six carries. “So we put in that play and the touchdown happened. We executed that during the week. You always go through a couple trick plays.”
Hinkel picked off two passes against Southern Illinois last weekend and came up with two more turnovers Saturday. He intercepted a Southwick aerial in the end zone in the first period, then grabbed a Jack Fields fumble at the BSU 9-yard line with 5:49 remaining in the second quarter.
“Jaytee (Swanson) made a great play and popped the ball out on the running back,” Hinkel said. “He made the play, and I just happened to fall on it.”
While Miami’s offense struggled at times, the RedHawks also chose conservative options on a couple occasions.
No. 1, the RedHawks drove near midfield right before the half and opted to let the clock run out with Boise leading 15-9.
“We didn’t want to put ourselves in jeopardy,” Don Treadwell said. “They do a great job of rushing the passer, so we wanted to get out and retool. We felt like we were in the game at that point.”
No. 2, the RedHawks were down 22-9 and had the ball at the 50-yard line in the third stanza. Needing less than a yard on fourth down, Treadwell called for a punt.
“I don’t know if I can remember that exact situation, but when you’re playing a national-caliber team, you’re going to play what you feel is the best move at that time,” Treadwell said. “It’s kind of like a chess match. We have a lot of regard for Boise and what they’ve established. So I’m sure at that point in time I felt like, based on where it was, that was the best thing to do.”
“As a player, you always want to go for it, especially that close,” Dysert said. “But we have a lot of faith in our coaches. They told us that we needed to punt. They felt that was the best situation, so you’ve just got to live with it.”
Punter Zac Murphy did pin the Broncos on their own 8-yard line, but they went 92 yards in eight plays and blew the contest open on Harper’s 43-yard touchdown run.
PATTERSON HITS TWO FROM 40+
Freshman place-kicker Kaleb Patterson was a bright spot for Miami. He drilled 45- and 42-yard field goals, and now has four 3-pointers this season. That’s twice the RedHawks production in 2011.
Jamire Westbrook paced the RedHawks on the ground with 28 yards on eight runs. The top receivers were Cruse (six catches, 42 yards), Dawan Scott (four catches, 23 yards), David Frazier (three catches, 63 yards) and Steve Marck (three catches, 32 yards).
Boise is now 75-3 at home since 2000. Saturday’s attendance (34,178) marked the second-largest crowd in Bronco Stadium history.
MU will begin Mid-American Conference play at home next Saturday, facing Massachusetts at noon.