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Victory Bell version No. 117

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While the diehards and long-time UC football historians will savor any win over Miami University of Oxford of former Redskins, newer Bearcat fans may question the existence of this game.

That's the scary part.

You could argue with UC's recent successes and with Miami's struggle for notoriety since the departure of Ben Roethlisberger, that the game has lost it's luster.  When the teams were more evenly matched or when Miami would consistently give UC fits, the appeal of the game was greater.

Personally, I'm not too far removed from Big Ben's domination of the Bearcats or watching "Touchdown Travis " Prentice run all over UC at Nippert in a 41-0 thrashing to appreciate a solid win over Miami.

However, when you're trying to generate national attention, there is no upside to the game when the only major story that could result from it is if the Redhawks pull the upset.

Yes, this is getting to be and could be a "sticky" issue in the future.  What UC must guard against is complacency.  Actually, a few views of the Delaware State video should suffice.

On the "historical connection" level, the last time UC beat Virginia Tech before last Saturday's dramatic Munchie Legaux-to-Damon Julian finish was 1995.  The Bearcats had played Kansas, Kansas State and Virginia Tech back-to-back-to-back that year.  They had chances to beat the Jayhawks and Wildcats and did knock off the Hokies 16-0.

Despite that confidence and momentum, the next week UC went to Oxford and lost 23-16 to Miami when Ty King ran back a kickoff in the game's final minute.

So, I warn of overconfidence and I warn of overlooking a Miami team that scored 56 points against Terry Bowden's Akron Zips.  The Redhawks have some playmakers and they would love to burst UC's bubble and break the current six-game skid they've had in Victory Bell games.


WHEN DOES THE BELL TOLL?
  Usually non-stop once a winner has been determined.
VICTORY BELL GAMETIME:  Oct. 6 at 7 p.m.
WHERE:  The glorious and hopefully packed Nippert Stadium
THE SERIES:  Miami still leads 59-50-7
LAST TIME:  Bearcats won 27-0 in Oxford

UC offense vs. Miami defense


Miami gave up 56 points to Ohio State, 39 to Boise State and 49 in last week's win over the Akron Zips.  UC's offense has the capability to score like that, particularly when there's no turnovers.  While his accuracy could improve, Munchie Legaux clearly has the confidence you need to lead big scoring drives and make big plays.  A lot of that is having the respect of the huddle and you have to think Legaux does.  A game like the one at FedEx Field should give several Bearcats a lot of confidence and comfort.  As long as it's kept it check, it's all good.

I think Kenbrell Thompkins and Damon Julian might be a little much for Miami to handle (by the way, how to you not play Julian at this point?).  With George Winn, Ralph David Abernathy IV and Travis Kelce, I think UC just has too many weapons to contain.

Safety Pat Hinkel does have three interceptions for Miami, so it may be wise to be knowledgeable of his presence.  Their sack leader is Mwanza Wamulumba who sounds like he's right out of "Willy Wonka and The Chocolate Factory".  Considering they played without Sean Hooey against Virginia Tech on the line, I would feel good about UC's protection.

Bottom line:  UC's offensive depth should be too much for the Redhawks

UC defense vs. Miami offense

All in all, defensive coordinator John Jancek had a gem of a game plan against Logan Thomas and Virginia Tech.  This week, Zac Dysert of Miami presents a more difficult skill set in my opinion.  He's 6-foot-4 and 228 pounds and your prototypical big quarterback that scouts are perpetually infatuated with.  He was 34-49 for 516 yards and six touchdowns against Akron and ran for 108 yards on the ground. Those are noteworthy stats regardless of the competition.  His favorite targets are 6-foot-4 Andy Cruse out of Turpin High School and long threat Dawan Scott.  I don't know the status of Drew Frey for this game, but UC's secondary  will most certainly get a workout.

Miami's chief runner is Jamire Westbrook out of Kings High School, but Dysert actually leads the team in rushing.  Oddly enough, coach Don Treadwell tends to throw it more at Miami, when his offenses here at UC were routinely conservative under low-key Mark Dantonio.

Clearly, the key is stopping Dysert and giving him a steady diet of Walter Stewart, Dan Giordano or whomever can split the Redhawks line to introduce Mr. Dysert to the fine granules of Nippert's field turf.  UC's defensive backs will also have to stay with Andy Cruse who often capitalizes on size mismatches.

The Edge:  If Dysert gets a rhythm, this could be a long, frustrating game. Underestimating Miami in any form on offense would be a dreadful mistake. Based on the Hokies win, the defense is playing aggressively enough to hold Miami down.  On the other hand, don't expect a shutout.

Special note of interest:  Former UC coach Brian Kelly passed up on Zac Dysert to take Brendon Kay out of Bay City, Michigan.

SPECIAL TEAMS

Pat O'Donnell is still the key with his punts and kickoffs.  However, I would guess the UC "fake" package may be out if the opposition notices No. 11, Brendon Kay trotting out to hold.
In placekicking, Tony Miliano's back home where he's more comfortable.  Miami's Kaleb Patterson is 6-8 on field goals if you're scoring at home.  In the return game, UC gets the edge with Ralph David Abernathy IV and Anthony McClung.

Nod:  UC

THE CALL?

Dan Hoard and Jim Kelly as always.  As for the game, I think Miami's going to come out and be a little more of a thorn in UC's side than normal.  That said, I don't think they have enough weapons to sustain and I would figure the Bearcats to gradually pull away.  Again, discounting Miami would be dangerous.  They've recruited a ton of Tri-State local athletes who would take great pleasure in punching the Bearcats in the mouth--especially if they were NOT recruited by UC.  They have not won this game since 2005 and I can assure you the worst sound you'll ever hear is that bell ringing on a departing bus heading toward Route 27.  If there is such a thing as a "trap game"; this would be one.   Just as their coaches will tell them, the Bearcats should play all games as if it the national title was on the line.

Besides,UC is still 10 straight wins away from taking a lead in the series.

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