The Miami University football team begins week two with a trip to Amherst, Mass., to face the University of Massachusetts on Saturday, Sept. 9. Opening kick is slated for 3:30 p.m. at McGuirk Alumni Stadium.
The matchup with UMass will be carried live on ESPN+. Jay Burnham will handle play-by-play duties, while Andy Gresh will serve as the color analyst. Matt Goldstein will be roaming the sidelines.
In its fifth year of its partnership with Van Wagner, the Miami Sports Network continues its coverage of Miami Football with a group of affiliates blanketing most of Southwest Ohio and Southeast Indiana. “The Voice of the RedHawks” Steve Baker will deliver the play-by-play coverage, while Terry Bridge will provide color commentary. Tune-in to one of Miami’s gameday affiliates:
WMOH-AM 1450 (Hamilton, Ohio)
WFMG-FM 101.3 (Richmond, Ind.)
WDBZ-AM 1230 (Cincinnati, Ohio)
WONE-AM 980 (Dayton, Ohio)
First And Ten
• Miami football ranks first all-time in the Mid-American Conference in wins (713), conference wins (310), MAC Championships (16) and bowl wins (8).
• Historically, Miami’s 713 career wins, ranks third all-time among Group-of-Five programs, behind just Navy (733) and Army (720). Appalachian State (654) if fourth and Central Michigan (643) rounds out the top five.
• Miami was 4-18 in Coach Martin’s first 22 Mid-American Conference games. Since then, the RedHawks are 34-16 in their last 50 games versus schools from the MAC, the best record in the conference during that span.
• Miami has now had a .500 or better conference record in six of the last seven seasons, dating back to 2016. The RedHawks also captured the 2019 MAC Championship game and were a two-point conversion away versus Kent State from playing in the 2021 MACC.
• Martin, in his 10th year leading the RedHawks, has a new look on offense in 2023. Offensive Coordinator Pat Welsh returns for his 10th year with Martin, but his first as offensive coordinator. Defensively, Bill Brechin begins year two as the defensive coordinator (10th year at Miami). Special Teams Coordinator Jacob Bronowski is in his second year with the Red and White.
• Miami is 13-8 in one-score games, dating back to the 2018 campaign.
• In its last 52 contests, Miami has had a lead at some point in 45 of those games. The RedHawks had a lead at some point in all but one game in 2022.
• After competing in the 2022 Bahamas Bowl, the RedHawks have now been bowl eligible six of the last seven seasons. From 2006-15, Miami was bowl eligible just twice.
UMass is 1-1 on the season, opening the year with a 41-30 victory over New Mexico State. Last week they fell to Auburn, 59-14. Offensively, dual-threat quarterback Taisun Phommachanh has thrown for 247 yards and added 130 more on the ground through two games. Tyler Rudolph is tops on the team with 11 tackles and has a pair of pass break-ups.
Series Vs. The Minutemen
The two teams have met on four previous occasions (all since 2012), with Miami claiming three of the four contests. This will be the first non-conference game between the two programs, as UMass left the MAC to become independent after the 2015 season. The RedHawks are 1-1 all-time in Amherst.
After trailing 6-3 at halftime, the RedHawks rallied for a 20-13 win at UMass on Nov. 21, 2015, earning their first road victory since September 2012. Alonzo Smith rushed for 109 yards on 26 carries and the Miami defense held the home team to 250 total yards of offense. Bryson Albright led the effort on that side of the ball with two sacks, seven tackles and the game-clinching interception.
Chuck Martin earned his first win as Miami head coach when the RedHawks erased a 27-point second-half deficit to stun UMass 42-41 on October 4, 2014. The Minutemen drove the ball to the Miami six-yard line in the final seconds, but Joe Donlan made a tackle as time ran out to secure the victory for the Red and White. Andrew Hendrix finished the day with 528 all-purpose yards, the second-highest single-game total in program history. Sam Martin caught four touchdown passes, matching the team (and stadium) record.
Good Things Come to Those That Wait
The trip to UMass is Miami’s second of three-straight road games to begin the year. Miami does not compete at home until Sept. 23. The last time Miami opened the year with three straight road games was 2003 (at Iowa, at Northwestern and at Colorado State).
RedHawks Fall at Miami (FL)
The RedHawks dropped a 38-3 decision to open the 2023 season.
• The last time Miami did not score a touchdown was in a 13-12 loss at Eastern Michigan in 2021. The last time Miami scored three or fewer points in a contest was in 21-0 loss against Cincinnati in 2018 (at Paul Brown Stadium).
• Jeremiah Caldwell, Gage Larvadain, Joe Wilkins Jr. and John Young all made their first career starts as RedHawks.
• Brett Gabbert moved into fifth all-time at Miami with 6,386 career passing yards, surpassing his position coach, Gus Ragland.
• Alec Bevelhimer, who came into Friday’s contest with one career punt, averaged 45.2 yards per punt, including a career-best 62 yarder.
• Gage Larvadain had a game-high eight catches for 80 yards in his Miami debut.
• Javon Tracy recorded his first career catch, an 11-yard grab in the fourth quarter.
• Cade McDonald’s 37-yard grab in the fourth was also his first career catch as a RedHawk.
• With a takedown in the fourth quarter, Josh Lukusa recorded his first career sack.
Since early in the 2016 season Miami has lost back-to-back MAC games just twice in that span. In fact, Miami is now 13-2 following a MAC loss under Martin, dating back to Oct. 15, 2016.
Monsters of the MAC
Statistically, Miami had one of the best defenses in the MAC in 2022. The RedHawks were first in scoring defense (22.6), third in total defense (373.1) and first in rush defense (135.9). In all, Miami returns nine defensive starters from the 2022 squad.
Take It Away Defense, Take it Away
The RedHawks defense forced 22 turnovers in 2022, a season-best under coach Martin. Prior to the 2022 season, Miami had averaged 16 turnovers forced per season, with a high of 20 in 2019. Miami finished the 2022 season +11 in turnover margin, 12th best in the country. The RedHawks forced a turnover last week at Miami and are +1 in turnover margin in 2023.
Five Things to Know About No. 5 Brett Gabbert
• Younger brother of NFL quarterback, Blaine Gabbert.
• Gabbert was named the 2019 MAC Freshman of the Year, joining Ben Roethlisberger (2001) and Deland McCullough (1992) as the only other RedHawks to capture this award.
• When Miami opened the 2019 season at Iowa, Gabbert became the first true freshman quarterback to open the season as the starter in Miami football history.
• Is responsible for 50 touchdowns (45 passing, 5 rushing) in his Miami career.
• Ranks fifth in program history with 6,386 passing yards and is sixth in completion percentage (.588) and passing touchdowns (45).
Gabbert Versus Gus
Back in 2018, senior quarterback star Gus Ragland helped recruit Brett Gabbert to Miami. Five years later, Ragland is now coaching quarterbacks for Miami and will soon see Gabbert surpass many of his career numbers. Gabbert ranks fifth in career passing yards and passed Ragland last week. Gabbert’s completion percentage (.588) is just two spots behind Ragland (.602) and with 12 touchdown passes, Gabbert will move into third all-time in program history … ahead of Ragland.
Smith Becoming a Dual-Threat
Prior to last season, Aveon Smith had thrown just seven career passes, but with an injury to Gabbert in the 2022 season opener, Smith gave defenses something different to plan for.
• Miami was 5-4 on the year with Smith under center, including a 17-14 win over Northwestern.
• He rushed for over 100 yards two different times in 2022 and over his last six starts he averaged 84.5 yards rushing per contest.
Coming from a smaller school (Southeast Louisiana), Gage Larvadain did not receive much interest from the major programs, something Miami is thankful for. In his debut with the RedHawks, Larvadain had a game-high eight grabs for 80 yards versus the Hurricanes. The eight grabs are the most catches in a debut under Coach Martin. Other notable debuts include Mac Hippenhammer (2020: 5-77-0) and Jack Sorenson (2018: 3-106-1).
Miami’s offensive line has two major holes to fill along the offensive line after losing both Rusty Feth and Caleb Shaffer to the transfer portal. Combined, those two started 69 games, dating back to 2019. Miami still has plenty of experience returning in 2023. Reid Holskey has started each of the last 27 games for the Red and White, followed by Sam Vaughan (14), Will Jados (11), Kolby Borders (10), Ben Jackson (3) and John Young (1).
End of The Line
Miami arguably has the best defensive line in the MAC heading into 2023. Corey Suttle, Brian Ugwu and Caiden Woullard combined for 15 sacks last season, while Austin Ertl and Kobe Hilton each started all 13 games in 2022 at defensive tackle.
Linebacker Matt Salopek has 251 career tackles and has surpassed 100 stops in each of the past two years. With 100 tackles in 2023 he would become the first Miami player to secure 100-plus tackles in three-straight seasons since Matt Pusateri did the same from 2002-04.
COURTESY MIAMI ATHLETIC COMMUNICATIONS