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Four takeaways from Central Michigan's 17-12 loss at Miami

Central Michigan running back Kobe Lewis runs through the Miami defense Sept. 21 at Hard Rock Stadium (Courtesy of CMU Athletics)

No, it did not count as a win. 

However, there were a lot of victories that Central Michigan was able to take away from its 17-12 loss on the road against Miami (Florida). These aspects of the contest are things the Chippewas (2-2) can take on their way through the final eight games of their season. 

Coach Jim McElwain said earlier in the week that he wanted his players to be proud of what they put on film against the Hurricanes. CMU was a 30.5-point underdog going into the game and supposedly did not stand a chance. 

In only losing by five points against a Hurricane team from the ACC that had lofty expectations at the beginning of the season, it's safe to say McElwain's players should be proud of the effort they gave in the loss. 

"I think the biggest piece that we took from it is if you really go make your mind up you've got an opportunity to do anything you want," McElwain said. "I think at the end of the day when it's all said and done, I asked our guys to do one thing – When the game was over be able to look yourself in the mirror and say, 'you know what, I gave everything I had.'"

Here are four takeaway's following Central Michigan's loss against the Miami Hurricanes.

'(Moore) is a dude'

Quarterback David Moore is more than capable to lead the offense. He again took great command of the huddle and was able to make throw after throw against the Hurricane defense. 

Now, Miami's defense looked poor against CMU, but it showed its ferocity a few times when protection broke down and the defense got to Moore. He took a couple of hits on his blind side and fumbled twice and on each occasion, both occurring when the Chippewas were driving down the field and in position to score a touchdown.

In making his second start as a "replacement" to injured graduate transfer Quinten Dormady, Moore has taken charge of the offensive unit. Moore used his legs to move the ball, including a third-down conversion where he flipped head over heels and a touchdown on a quarterback sneak. 

His decision making throughout the game put CMU in a position to win. Those who know him best and have been on his journey to CMU would argue that is not a surprise. Most of Moore's yardage were completions in a big spot – usually third down, or even fourth – and kept CMU in the contest and gave it a chance to win.

Miami coach Manny Diaz praised Moore after the game by simply saying, "He's a dude... that guy can play."

Improved play-calling

The play calling has increasingly improved each week, looking outside of the Wisconsin game. 

Against Albany in the opener, the offense was conservative but strong enough to get the job done. Again, moving past Wisconsin, the offense looked much improved against Akron in the Mid-American Conference opener. There were a few more calls to put guys in position to make explosive plays. 

Against Miami, McElwain and dialed up huge plays and even another trick play. Moore pitched the ball to running back Kobe Lewis, who pitched it back to Moore on a flea-flicker and found wide receiver Tyrone Scott on the left side. 

Plays like the flea-flicker, or passes over the middle to guys like Scott, tight end Tony Poljan or receivers Kalil Pimpleton and JaCorey Sullivan could set the Chippewas up for success as they continue MAC play next week against rival Western Michigan. 

Rough and tough defense

Robb Akey's defense is tough, and there's no secret about that. The defensive line, however, has game-changing potential, and it showed against the Hurricanes. 

Putting pressure on the quarterback changes the way the signal-caller plays his game. Defensive end Sean Adesanya led with two sacks of Miami's Jarren Williams and the Chippewas got to Williams, a 6-2, 210-pound redshirt freshman, four times for 30 yards in the game. 

On top of that, CMU was able to get guys hustling to the ball throughout, and it stifled the Hurricane offense outside of the two touchdown drives. Strong tackling and getting guys to the ball have been emphasis points for the Chippewas this season.

The squad did it well against Miami – and almost pulled off the upset. 

Special teams

Special teams played a huge role in this game, and they have this season.

Punter Brady Buell had a decent performance, averaging 39.9 yards on six punts. But he had a moment of brilliance in the second quarter as he pinned Miami deep in its territory at the 7-yard line. 

Just three plays later, defensive end Jacques Bristol sacked Williams in the end zone to score the Chippewas' first points on the road this season. More importantly, though, it gave them confidence and momentum as the first half was winding down. 

Buell's right leg made a positive impact for his team by flipping field position. 

Montrae Braswell had two kick returns for 70 yards with a long of 45. It set up a long, 17-play, 55-yard touchdown drive that took 8:25 of the fourth quarter and put CMU within striking distance of winning the game. 

Kicker Ryan Tice made his career-long with a 55-yard field goal, which was an absolute missile and went almost perfectly down the middle. It brought the score to 14-5 late in the third quarter.

However, he missed a 54-yarder just earlier that sailed wide left. It was his first miss of the season. 

This is not putting the loss on Tice, or even Moore. But if Tice makes that first field goal or Moore isn't blindsided twice on potential scoring drives, who knows what could have been.