Sunday, August 19, 2001

Miami aims slingshot at another giant

Michigan could be next on upset list

By Ian Duthie
Enquirer contributor

        OXFORD - In its recent history, the Miami University football program has become accustomed to traveling to ranked, nonconference opponents and going home victorious.

        The past three seasons, the RedHawks have opened on the road by defeating Vanderbilt, Northwestern and North Carolina — three teams from so-called power conferences.

        This year the schedule takes Miami to Michigan, a defending Big Ten co-champion, to open the season Sept.1. The Wolverines are ranked 12th in the preseason Associated Press Top 25. Does that game have the makings of another MU upset?

        “There is no secret recipe,” Miami coach Terry Hoeppner said. “We go in thinking we have a chance to win every game we play. I think it would be a disservice to ourselves and our fans if we headed into any game with any other attitude.”

        Dating to 1995, Miami has knocked off a Top 25 team three times and has defeated nine nonconference Division I-A opponents, the most by any Mid-American Conference team.

        In 1995, a fourth-quarter comeback gave Miami a 30-28 victory at Northwestern, which proved to be NU's only regular-season loss on its way to the Rose Bowl. The RedHawks struck again in Evanston, Ill., in 1998, with a 28-3 victory over Northwestern.

        In 1997, Miami knocked off Virginia Tech 24-17. The Hokies were ranked 12th at the time and would play in the national championship game two years later.

        In 1999, North Carolina was ranked 12th when it lost 13-10 on a last-second Miami field goal.

        And last season, Vanderbilt of the Southeastern Conference became MU's most recent big-name victim, in a 33-30 loss in which MU scored 20 fourth-quarter points.

        Still, Miami is obviously the underdog in Ann Arbor.

        “We don't have to be superman to win the football game,” Hoeppner said. “The players don't have to all of a sudden learn how to fly. We have good players who need to execute on offense, defense and special teams. If we don't do that, we will not win the Michigan game or any other game. If we do it, we have a chance.”

        Michigan had five players selected in the first round of the NFL draft and lost quarterback Drew Henson to baseball.

        But Hoeppner knows Michigan always regroups. The Wolverines lost three games last season by a combined seven points.

        “As we get closer to game time, you have to draw on (past successes), because we have got a lot of young guys who weren't at Virginia Tech or North Carolina,” Hoeppner said. “It helps to let them know that we believe that — and most importantly, they believe — they can get it done.”

Miami coach opposes supplements

Sports Stories
- Miami aims slingshot at another giant
Best and worst of the week in sports
Bonds hits No. 54
Buck has Series for the long haul
Auto Racing Insider
High School Insider
Lex. Catholic 45, Ryle 21
Kentucky football scores
Indiana football scores
Cincinnati high school results
N.Ky. high school results
Local Golf Notebook

Brewers 6, Reds 5
DAUGHERTY: Reds good at smoke and mirrors
Rijo should improve as slider does
Casey crunches baseballs, not numbers
Fan's eye view of the Reds
Brewers get unexpected boost
Reds box, runs
Guidugli puts buzz on the Bearcats
UC offense rolls in scrimmage
Bengal rushers gain on selves