If ever there was a football version of “The Shawshank Redemption,” Andrew Hendrix lived it last Saturday.
Make no mistake. The Miami quarterback was the Andy Dufresne of Yager Stadium.
Playing like a man just released from prison after serving a four-year sentence, the transfer from Notre Dame ran the ball 20 times for 46 yards and completed 24 passes in 49 throws for another 318 yards and three touchdowns in a 42-27 loss to Marshall.
Playing that much in his first career start felt so good, Hendrix didn’t even mind getting hit as often as he did, which included being sacked four times, but he admitted after the game that he probably should get better at avoiding contact.
“I was always a head-first slider in baseball anyway, so I really don’t know how to slide at this point,” the Moeller graduate said. “I like the contact, but moving forward, I’m probably going to have to avoid that. I’m pretty banged up, but it’s exciting.”
Hendrix’s next chance to work on that part of his game comes today, when Miami faces Football Championship Subdivision Eastern Kentucky (1-0) in a 3:30 p.m. game at Yager Stadium.
First-year Miami coach Chuck Martin, who coached Hendrix at Notre Dame, enjoyed seeing Hendrix have his fun, but he’d also like to see his quarterback buckle down.
“He competed his tail off, which he always does, but there’s some throws he made, he’s got to make better throws,” Martin said. “He missed a post early. He missed a post later. He misread some stuff. I don’t want to put the weight of the world on him, but he can’t have two or three mistakes like everybody else, because he’s our guy.
“I’m so happy he had this opportunity. He put in a lot of time to have a day where he just got hit and sacked and made some completions and threw a pick. To me, all of that is awesome, because he got into this arena and loves to compete. That’s what he came here for, but he’s got a chance to get way better. He made a lot of plays under duress. It was a good time.”
What made it better was Hendrix’s first touchdown pass as a RedHawk, a 2-yard toss to former Elder and Notre Dame tight end Alex Welch in the third quarter that sparked a 17-0 run Miami run. It was a Greater Catholic League connection four years in the making.
“It was great,” Hendrix said. “That’s something we talked about four years ago coming out of high school when I would throw with him on Elder’s campus at ‘The Pit.’ To have that finally happen for us, to have the confidence – when I see a guy one-on-one with him, I know its over before it starts. That’s the kind of thing we have talked about for four years, and it was great to finally happen.”
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