Saturday, October 09, 1999

Injuries nearly ground Miami


Falcons face weakened RedHawks

BY JOHN FAY
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        This is the kind of year it has been at Miami: Dustin Cohen, the team's star linebacker, will play some tight end today when the RedHawks visit Bowling Green.

        Cohen is taking over for Tom Pore at tight end. Pore, a converted quarterback, had to go back to quarterback because John Schacke tore an anterior cruciate ligament in the loss to Marshall last week.

MIAMI at BOWLING GREEN
  • Kickoff: 1p.m. today at Perry Stadium (30,599), Bowling Green, Ohio.
  • Records: MU 3-2 (2-1 MAC), BGSU 2-3 (1-2).
  • TV: None.
  • Radio: WCKY-AM (1360), WMOH-AM (1450), WFMG-FM (101.3).
  • Series: Miami leads 33-18-5 (last: 1998, MU 24-12).
  • Line: No line.
  • What to watch: Miami has to run more effectively to be success ful today. Travis Prentice ended up with 131 yards against Marshall, but while the game was within reach, he went nowhere.
        Schacke became the sixth Miami player to be lost for the year to injury.

        “I don't think we've had six in my previous 13 years at Miami,” said Terry Hoeppner, who was an assistant before being promoted to head coach in the offseason.

        Because of all the injuries, the Miami coaches are scram bling.

        Nick Monk, the junior from Franklin, will start at both fullback and middle linebacker.

        “We're trying to get the best 22 on the field,” Hoeppner said.

        Linebacker was the spot hit hardest. Starter Mike Montgomery was lost in the opener, and the top backup, Matt Edwards, went down in the preseason. Both tore ACLs.

        Two defensive linemen, Shane Martinkovic and Gino DiGiandomenico, are both lost for the year with broken legs. Martinkovic's career is over. Miami's top wide receiver, Sly Johnson, also is out with a torn ACL.

        All six of the injuries did or will require surgery. Five of the six were non-contact injuries.

        “It's just a fluke thing,” Hoeppner said. “I think we've been in better shape than every team we've played, including Marshall.”

        Miami goes to Bowling Green seeking to get rolling again after last week's 32-14 loss to the Thundering Herd. The loss puts Miami (3-2, 2-1 in the Mid-American Conference) in a very tough spot in the MAC. Marshall must lose twice for Miami to win the MAC East and advance to the MAC championship game.

        “We want to run the table and win out,” Miami running back Travis Prentice said.

        Bowling Green comes in 2-3 and 1-2 in the league, but the Falcons are coming off a 34-23 victory over rival Toledo.

        The RedHawks beat Bowling Green 24-12 in Oxford last year. But BGSU has had its way with Miami in recent years. Before last year, Bowling Green had won six of the last seven meetings with Miami. And the RedHawks are 1-5-3 in their last nine visits to Perry Stadium.

        “We have a huge challenge in front of us,” Hoeppner said. “This is probably just the kind of game we needed after Saturday's tough loss.”

        Miami has put an emphasis on playing physically today. The RedHawks were dominated on both sides of the line of scrimmage by Marshall.

        Miami is down nearly 80 yards a game rushing this year versus last. Part of that is sacks; yards lost to sacks are subtracted from rushing yardage in college. The offensive line has allowed 19 sacks already this year after allowing only 16 all of last season.

        “We've played against some good defensive fronts,” Hoeppner said. “But we've got to run the ball better. We've looked at everything we've done this week.”

        Prentice is averaging only 3.9 yards a carry, a full yard less than he did last year.

        “We've had great practices this week,” Hoeppner said. “We're staying positive.”



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