Massachusetts (0-3) at Miami-Ohio (1-2)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, September 22, 12:00 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Yager Stadium (24,286) -- Oxford, Ohio. Television: ESPN Plus, ESPN3. Home Record: UMass 0-1, Miami 1-0. Away Record: UMass 0-2, Miami 0-2. Neutral Record: UMass 0-0, Miami 0-0. Conference Record: UMass 0-0, Miami 0-0. Series Record: First-ever meeting.
GAME NOTES: The Massachusetts Minutemen are set to make their Mid-American Conference debut this weekend when they travel to Yager Stadium to battle the Miami-Ohio RedHawks.
This will be the first-ever meeting between these programs. UMass is in its first season as a member of the FBS after making the jump from the FCS level.
The transition to the FBS has been a rocky road for the Minutemen, who are winless in their first three games this season. UMass fell to Connecticut, Indiana, and Michigan its first three outings, being outscored by 42 points per game. The Minutemen are averaging just 6.3 points per contest. Their opponents have achieved 76 first downs to their 32 through three games. Now three games into his first tenure, Charley Molnar still awaits his first career victory as a head coach. UMass has lost six games in a row dating back to last season.
Miami-Ohio is 1-2 after last week's 39-12 loss to Boise State on the blue turf in Idaho. The RedHawks held a 9-8 lead over the Broncos, but they could not hang on to the advantage and lost to a now ranked BSU squad. Prior to the Boise State contest, Miami lost to Ohio State (56-3) in its season opener and downed Southern Illinois (30-14) at home. Coach Don Treadwell has a 5-10 career record entering Saturday.
UMass is averaging only 186.3 yards of total offense per game as opposing defenses have completely shut down its attack. Mike Wegzyn has completed 41- of-77 passes for 348 yards with an interception. He also has the team's only rushing touchdown.
Marken Michel and Alan Williams are tied for the team lead with eight receptions a piece. Michael Cox has rushed for 113 yards in three games as the Minutemen's primary ball carrier.
The offensive line is a work in progress with four inexperienced starters. UMass has faced one of the toughest schedules in the country so far, so the offense should continue to develop as the season continues.
UMass has not been any better defensively. It has allowed 510 yards and 48.3 points per game. Perry McIntyre leads the defensive effort with 26 tackles and a pass breakup.
The RedHawks should be able to generate more offense going forward after being stifled by Ohio State and Boise State. Miami has meager averages of 17.3 points and 296.7 yards per game.
Zac Dysert has completed 68.1 percent of his passes for 704 yards and two touchdowns, but he has also tossed two interceptions. Dysert has had a tremendous career so far and is on pace to pass Ben Roethlisberger to become the program's all-time leader in passing yards. Nearly every NFL team has made a scouting visit to watch the talented signal caller who became the first-ever three time captain in Miami's history at the beginning of the season.
Dysert's top wideout Nick Harwell has struggled with injuries early on this season. With Harwell absent, Andy Cruse has risen to the occasion. Cruse is third in the NCAA with 26 receptions after grabbing six passes for 42 yards and a touchdown against Boise State last week. David Frazier will start opposite of Cruse if Harwell is unable to return this week.
Jamie Westbrook and Spencer Treadwell share the rushing responsibilities for Miami. Westbrook is a true freshman and it showed against Boise as he was held to 28 yards on eight attempts. Treadwell, who is the son of the head coach, is the team's leading rusher with 94 yards on 3.9 yards per carry.
Defensively, Miami put up a fight against Boise State before D.J. Harper took over. The RedHawks are allowing 498.7 yards and 36.3 points per contest, although they held Southern Illinois to 349 yards and 14 points.
Chris Wade is leading the squad with 27 stops. Pat Hinkel made some big plays last week, as he recovered a fumble and intercepted BSU's Joe Southwick in the end zone.
UMass simply is not equipped to compete at the FBS level yet. The transition to the next level is clearly going to be a long uphill battle for the Minutemen. After being bullied in two of its first three games, Miami will return the favor against its new conference rival this week.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Miami-Ohio 41, Massachusetts 14
09/19 10:39:03 ET