OXFORD, Ohio - The Miami University football team is staying positive even though it has had its fair share of struggles after three games.
The RedHawks (1-2) have fallen to two ranked teams on the road in Ohio State and Boise State. Their lone win came at home against Southern Illinois, a member of the Football Championship Subdivision of the NCAA. But that's all in the past, according to coach Don Treadwell, and Miami now opens conference play. They host Massachusetts Saturday at noon in the school's homecoming game.
"We have a strong core of leaders on the team," Treadwell said during Tuesday's press conference. "This group is still a united group moving forward with the overall picture and that's pleasing to see ... We'll continue to grow as we go."
The RedHawks will attempt to rebound from a 39-12 loss to Boise State, which ran away with the game in the second half after leading by only six points at halftime. Miami, which was without starting wide receiver Nick Harwell and defensive lineman Austin Brown, showed flashes of solid play both on offense and defense in the first two quarters, but it didn't last.
Harwell is "doubtful at best" this week with a leg injury and Brown will be a "game-time decision" with an injured back.
"For a half, I really felt that we performed well at times," Treadwell said. "You go into the half only down 15-9 to, in my opinion, a top-10 program, and that shows the growth that has really taken place in our program."
The Broncos finished with 599 yards of total offense, tallying 295 on the ground. The RedHawks' defense has given up an average of 498.67 yards per game so far this season, which ranks 112th in the country out of 120 teams.
Treadwell said he's not "overly concerned" with the defensive stats, alluding to the strong competition the team has played. He said he is more worried about how Miami stacks up against the rest of the MAC.
The 'Hawks host a UMass team this weekend that has been outscored 145-19 in its first three games.
The Minutemen (0-3) are in their first year of Football Bowl Subdivision.
UMass was shut out against Connecticut in its opener 37-0, lost to Indiana 45-6, and fell to No. 13 Michigan 63-13 last week.
"I really believe their record, probably much like us, does not indicate or reflect their ability," Treadwell said. "They have played some top tier programs themselves."
UMass has been playing without Kellen Pagel, who was the team's projected starting quarterback before the season, but he hasn't seen action due to post-concussion symptoms. The Minutemen have turned to freshman Mike Wegzyn, who has completed 41 of 77 passes for 348 yards with no TDs and one INT.
"It will be a great challenge for us," Treadwell said.