By the Numbers: Iowa vs. Miami (Ohio)


Iowa running back Akrum Wadley runs with the ball during the Iowa-Maryland game at Kinnick Stadium on Saturday, Oct. 31, 2015. The Hawkeyes defeated the Terrapins to stay undefeated, 31-15. (The Daily Iowan/Margaret Kispert)

By Blake Dowson | [email protected]

The last time the Hawkeyes played against Miami (Ohio), Ben Roethlisberger was under center for the RedHawks.

The team traveling to Iowa City from Oxford, Ohio, won’t feature anybody on the roster that seems at this point to be a future Roethlisberger. Miami is going through a bit of a dark stretch in its football history, and the team’s numbers from a season ago shine some light on why the team finished 3-9.

Rushing yards per game: 129.7

A number such as this would be somewhat acceptable if the RedHawks were an air-raid-type team, but the team only threw for 208 yards per contest. With a stat sheet full of unimpressive averages and totals, the rushing average stands out.

The good news for Miami is that it returns its top-six rushers from a season ago, highlighted by sophomore Alonzo Smith. He was the team’s No. 1 back last year and rushed for 498 yards with a 4-yard average and five scores.

Kenny Young was the team’s third-leading rusher a season ago with 284 yards, and he is followed by Maurice Thomas, Leonard Ross, and Spencer McInnis. The trio combined for 467 yards.

Quarterback Gus Ragland was the second-leading rusher on the team in 2015 with 331 yards, but he sits behind Billy Bahl on the depth chart.

Miami’s road record in the past 23 games: 1-22

Not a typo, folks. That record was dangerously close to becoming an active 23-game losing streak if it wasn’t for a late fourth-quarter score in the final game of 2015 on the road against Massachusetts (which, by the way, also went 3-9.)

To say Miami hasn’t played well on the road in the past three seasons is to state the obvious. Yes, programs such as Miami have to travel to Power 5 stadiums each nonconference season to take on the big boys, but it also gets four or five conference home games a year.

Couple that with the Hawkeyes’ having won seven-straight home games, and it becomes a recipe that calls for a lot of backups in the second half.

Sacks returning from 2015: 23

Much like the Miami running game, the RedHawks return most of the production they got last year when it comes to rushing the passer.

The squad only loses one player from 2015 that recorded a sack — Bryson Albright with 7.

J.T. Jones, the leading sacker from a year ago with 10, is back this season to lead the squad on the defensive line. He is joined by Ikeem Allen (4.5 sacks), Paul Moses (3), Zach Smierciak (2.5), Kent Kern (2), and Brad Koenig (1).

Games giving up runs of 45 yards or longer: 5

The RedHawks got after the quarterback a bit last season, but they didn’t offer much resistance when it came to stopping big runs.

There was a 48-yarder against Buffalo, a 58-yarder against Eastern Michigan, and runs of more than 70 yards against Cincinnati, Kent State, and Northern Illinois.

The longest run the Hawkeyes gave up last season was a 37-yarder against Indiana.

Iowa has five offensive linemen and three running backs returning from 2015, and they could be in for a big day. Akrum Wadley will be licking his lips on Saturday; he’s always a threat to break a big run with his shiftiness and speed.

Follow @BRDowson for Iowa football news, updates and analysis.

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