NCAA Football

ESPN MACtion: Miami Ohio goes for sixth straight win and bid for conference title

Gus Ragland Miami RedHawks

Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

Miami Ohio football being good is one of the most unbelievable stories of the year, but it’s true–to an extent.  With a win tonight they would become the first team to ever start a season 0-6 and finish 6-0 which is just a cool stat, and makes it that much more unbelievable.  Here’s the full tweet from Miami’s official Twitter account:

There are two main reasons for how Miami got to this point: quarterback Gus Ragland and head coach Chuck Martin.  In a great ESPN piece we learn about how Martin originally went about recruiting Ragland, which was the result of him simply not knowing what else to do but recruit.

My whole life in coaching, whenever I didn’t know what I should do, I just recruited.

The crown jewel of that recruiting was Gus Ragland.  A Cincinnati native, the redshirt sophomore quarterback returned from ACL surgery mid-season and has not lost a game yet.  His numbers in that five-game span include 12 touchdowns to zero interceptions and a 59% completion rate.

Now this is the part where I get a little crazy, so just prepare yourself.  I have never seen this kid play, but with such a great start to his career how can I not compare him to the greatest Miami RedHawk of them all, Mr. Ben Roethlisberger.

Big Ben started as a freshman and was great from the get go with a 63.3 completion percentage, 25 TD’s with 13 interceptions and a whopping 8.1 yards per attempt.  His QB rating that year was 146.5 and he had a very similar follow up season with the same completion percentage, 22 TD’s to 11 picks and a 138.7 rating.

Flash forward to Gus Ragland and he currently owns a 159.4 rating, largely due to zero interceptions.  As a freshman he saw limited action spread throughout the season but the end numbers were the same, completing 20 of 29 passes for 196 yards with 3 more touchdowns and zero interceptions, good for a QB rating of 159.9.  In addition to Ragland’s 11 touchdowns through the air this year, he also has two rushing touchdowns to go along with 182 rushing yards. Pretty good, huh? It’ll be fun to see him play live for the first time tonight.

It will also be interesting to see coach Chuck Martin tonight, as his pedigree is more impressive than I would have imagined.  A native of the Chicago suburbs, 48-year-old Martin won two Division II national championships at Grand Valley State before going to the BCS National Championship in his first year as Offensive Coordinator for Notre Dame. However, this is Martin’s third season at Miami and without this five game winning streak he probably would have been fearing for his job.  All the more reason to root for Miami tonight.

Unfortunately the game is only available on ESPN 3, which means you can watch it on your computer or tablet while you tune in to ESPNU and root for Akron to upset Ohio.  An Akron win over Ohio combined with a Miami win would result in a trip to Ford Field in Detroit for the MAC Championship game.  If you don’t remember what happened the last time Miami went to Ford Field for the MAC Championship in 2010, you have to watch this (I was there and it was incredible):


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