OXFORD, Ohio - Back in the friendly confines of Yager Stadium, the Miami University football team looks to rebound from a season-opening loss to Ohio State when it hosts Southern Illinois University Saturday.
Kickoff is 1 p.m.
SIU, a Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) team, is coming off a Week 1 loss of its own. The Salukis fell to Eastern Illinois 49-28 and are looking for their first win over a Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) team since they beat Northern Illinois in 2007.
"On offense, they do present some challenges," Miami coach Don Treadwell said. "They do a good job of mixing some things up offensively. You're going to see some different formations. They will try to run the football, they're not just a throwing team."
SIU, who was picked to finish seventh in the Missouri Valley Football Conference (MVFC) preseason poll, will lean on junior quarterback Kory Faulkner and sophomore running back Mika'll McCall.
Faulkner threw for 293 yards last week, completing 31 of 58 passes with two touchdowns and two interceptions. He sustained a mild concussion in the game, but is expected to play Saturday.
McCall led the Salukis in total yards from scrimmage with 11 carries for 56 yards and 90 yards receiving on four catches.
While SIU's offense is a solid unit, their defense struggled mightily, giving up seven passing touchdowns. That should bode well for Miami, which is hoping to shrug off an opener filled with dropped passes and missed redzone opportunities.
The RedHawks, who were 3-3 at home in 2011, are thrilled to playing in Oxford early in the season. Their first home game last year was Sept. 24.
"We always consider it a privilege and an exciting time to play at home," Treadwell said. "We're certainly anticipating, like we've talked all year long, being all-in and being a part of that. We really believe we have an exciting team and I know (the players) are anxious to come home and demonstrate that."
Miami, which was able to move the ball early on against the Buckeyes, threw the ball 54 times compared to only 20 rushes. Don't be surprised if the RedHawks attempt to run the ball more this weekend.
"We are really going to take a good look at some of the guys that are in the mix (at running back)," Treadwell said.
Westbrook, who had four rushes for seven yards, showed promise catching balls out of the backfield with four receptions for 19 yards.
Semmes and Williams combined for 23 yards on eight carries.
Center JoJo Williams, if healthy, could give a boost to the offensive line. He sustained a leg contusion during practice last week and didn't play against OSU, which forced senior Brad Bednar to move over from the tackle position.
"There's more of a chance of him being ready than not," Treadwell said about Williams, who is listed as questionable.
Miami, which plays three opponents that are either ranked or receiving votes in the polls (Ohio State, Boise State and Cincinnati) in the first six weeks of the season, isn't taking SIU lightly. The RedHawks know how important every game is if they want to qualify for their first bowl under coach Treadwell.
"After you come off a loss, no matter who it is, it's pretty damn simple to get yourself refocused on one game at a time," Treadwell said.