Like a director watching clips of a movie he knew he hadn’t quite nailed, Chuck Martin had to force himself to watch the video of Miami’s 17-10 loss to Eastern Kentucky.
“It was tough to watch it again,” the first-year coach admitted during his weekly press conference Monday.
The footage revealed nothing Martin didn’t already know. The RedHawks dominated just about every aspect of the game Saturday, yet still found a way to extend their epic losing streak to 18 games.
Miami held the ball for almost two-thirds of the game while piling up 419 yards of total offense, but six turnovers – including three interceptions thrown by senior quarterback Andrew Hendrix – and two missed field goals outweighed the edge in numbers.
“We had a lot of self-inflicted wounds,” Martin said. “It didn’t look like we weren’t in complete control everywhere except the scoreboard. In the fourth quarter, they got a little tight. They’re not used to winning.
“I’m not disappointed in the kids. I’m disappointed for them. They deserved a better fate. They’ll watch the tape today and like a lot of plays.”
Martin did say that Miami showed progress from the season-opening loss to Marshall to last week’s game. The RedHawks are second among Mid-American Conference teams and 17th in the nation with an average of 338.5 yards per game and lead the MAC and rank fourth in the nation with a 36:42 average time of possession. His main concern, though, is that ongoing losing streak, the longest among Football Bowl Subdivision programs.
“We’ve shown progress in some areas, but not in the critical ones,” he said. “We’re in the business of winning football games.”
Saturday’s loss to a Football Championship Subdivision team, generally considered to be a notch below FBS programs, left more than one person scanning Miami’s schedule in search of a potential win. Before Mid-American Conference play begins, the RedHawks travel to Michigan (3:30 p.m., Saturday) and Cincinnati (7 p.m., Sept. 20).
The conference schedule opens at Buffalo on Sept. 27, which always is a difficult, draining trip, followed by a visit from a Massachusetts team that led Colorado in the fourth quarter before falling, 41-38. Miami then returns to the road to visit Akron, a team picked to finish second in the MAC East and Northern Illinois, which beat Northwestern on Saturday.
The RedHawks could be 0-8 and riding a 24-game losing streak by the time Kent State comes to Yager Stadium in Oxford on Oct. 25. The Golden Flashes, who are 0-2 after home losses to Ohio, 17-14, and South Alabama, 23-13, beat Miami, 24-6, at Kent last season.