The Miami RedHawks went into their game on last week at Army battered and bruised
They came out of the 31-30 double-overtime loss even more beaten up.
The defensive backfield has been particularly hard hit, coach Chuck Martin said earlier this week.
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“Kids that had broken bones stayed in the game,” he said. “There were guys in casts who played the whole game and both overtimes. They were gassed. They were hurt. They were beat up. The offense was gassed, too. For three quarters, they watched a decent game mostly from the sideline. If you would’ve asked them, they would’ve said they were watching a great game. They went from that to running 40 plays in hurry-up mode in the fourth quarter. We actually ran more plays than they did. They ran six plays in the fourth quarter. We ran 40.
“It was a dogfight, but we were happy to be a part of it. Our kids showed a lot of toughness.”
Senior safeties De’Andre Montgomery and Josh Allen both missed the entire game, and senior Nickelback Daryus Thompson left after being what Martin described as “high-lowed.” Junior safety Bart Baratti suffered an injury that needed a cast, but he stayed in the game.
“You’ll see him running around with a cast this week,” Martin said. “I asked him, ‘Did you tell anybody?’ He was like, ‘We’re out of safeties.’ He’s tough.”
Senior middle linebacker Junior McMullen remained sidelined, along with senior defensive lineman Nate Trawick, who most likely is out for the season. The defensive line grew thinner with the loss of redshirt freshman nose tackle Isaac Hampton to an injury during pregame warmup.
“We’re awful,” Martin said. “We had a little stretch where we were getting healthier. We’re thin. That seems to be the story.”
Martin pointed out that younger players are stepping up the plug the gaps, such as Baratti and sophomore nickel back Mike Brown and redshirt freshman wide receiver Jalen Walker, who finished with a team-high eight catches for 71 yards.
“He’s out there making huge fourth-down catches,” said Martin, whose team ran four more plays than Army and outgained the Black Knights in total offense, 406 yards to 347. “Guys are getting a chance and playing good football. They’re getting opportunities. They came here to play football – to show that they can play. Younger guys are taking advantage of the opportunity. They’re not happy about the how they got the opportunity, but they came here to play football. It’s been something that has made us a little bit stronger, mentally and physically. They’ve got to play better, because we’re shorthanded at spots.”
While young players are filling in capably, the healthy veterans also are doing their parts. For the second time in three weeks, senior linebacker Brad Koenig was named the Mid-American Conference East Division Defensive Player of the Week after piling up an impressive 23 tackles, 10 of then unassisted and including one tackle for a loss. He also forced a fumble. The 23 tackles rank 11thin program history for tackles in a game.
Senior quarterback Gus Ragland finished 30-of-53 for 329 yards and four touchdowns and led the RedHawks rushing attack with 14 carries for 56 yards.
Martin was hoping that having three extra days between games will help some players heal enough to get back on the field. Miami (3-5, 3-1) plays at East Division-leading Buffalo (7-1, 4-0) Tuesday. Kickoff is scheduled for 8 p.m.
“We get a couple of extra days,” Martin said. “That could make a big difference.”