By Mariana Smithfield
The Miami University football team looks for its fifth straight win as the RedHawks host Bowling Green on Saturday, Oct. 7. Opening kick is slated for 3:30 p.m.
The matchup with Bowling Green will be carried live on ESPN+. Jim Barbar will handle play-by-play duties, while Marcus Ray will serve as the color analyst.
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 (717), conference wins (311), MAC Championships (16) and bowl wins (8).
• Historically, Miami’s 717 career wins, ranks third all-time among Group-of-Five programs, behind just Navy (734) and Army (722).
• Miami was 4-18 in Coach Martin’s first 22 Mid-American Conference games. Since then, the RedHawks are 35-16 in their last 51 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 14-8 in one-score games, dating back to the 2018 campaign.
• 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.
• The RedHawks have picked up Power-5 victories in two straight years, downing Cincinnati (31-24) this season and Northwestern (17-14) a year ago.
• A win on Saturday would be Miami’s first 2-0 MAC start since 2010.
About Chuck Martin
• Head coach Chuck Martin, who earned that title on Dec. 3, 2013, brings an impressive resume to Oxford, Ohio.
• Not only was he 74-7 in six years at Grand Valley State (2004-09), he has coached in seven national championship games in the past 20 seasons. Martin has an all-time head coaching record of 123-67.
• He has twice been named the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) National Coach of the Year and has been a coordinator on both sides of the ball.
• Martin was inducted into the Hall of Fame at Grand Valley State University on Oct. 23, 2015.
About Bowling Green
Bowling Green is 2-3 on the season which includes a 38-27 victory over Georgia Tech last Saturday. Quarterback Connor Bazelak, an Indiana transfer, has thrown for 757 yards and four touchdowns on the season, while running back Terion Stewart is third in the MAC with 353 rushing yards. Joseph Sipp Jr. and Darren Anders lead the way defensively.
Series Vs. Falcons
Miami leads the all-time series 46-25-5 over Bowling Green and has won three of the last four matchups, including the past two home games at Yager Stadium (2019 and 2021).
BGSU scored the only points of the fourth quarter on a touchdown run with 11:31 to play to give the Falcons a 17-13 win over Miami last October. Michael Dowell made a career-high 17 tackles for the RedHawks (including 1.5 tackles for loss), while Ryan McWood added 11 stops and one TFL.
Trevor Cook kicked a 33-yard field goal as time expired to give Miami a 24-21 win at Bowling Green on Nov. 10, 2010. Zac Dysert completed 76% of his passes (19-25 for 221 yards) to lead the visitors’ offense, with Nick Harwell pulling in 10 catches for 125 yards and a score. With the victory, the RedHawks secured bowl eligibility for the first time since 2005.
Wear Your Emotions on Your Helmet
In what has become a yearly tradition, the entire Miami University football team will be carrying a special message with them as they take the field on Saturday in Miami’s annual Cancer Awareness contest versus BGSU. Each player’s helmet will feature a colored ribbon of their choice to symbolize how they have been affected by cancer. Overall, 37 players selected pink to signify those affected by breast cancer, while 18 picked blue (colon cancer and esophageal cancer). Other colors include: 11 white (lung cancer), nine yellow/gray (child brain cancer), eight orange (kidney cancer and leukemia), six yellow (bladder cancer, sarcoma/bone cancer), six black (melanoma), six red (blood cancers/head and neck) and five purple (bladder/pancreatic/testicular). Three players had no preference.
RedHawks Pick up MAC Road Win at Kent State
Brett Gabbert threw for 216 yards and one touchdown and the Miami University defense held Kent State to 206 yards of offense as the RedHawks downed the Golden Flashes, 23-3. Miami’s 23 unanswered points helped propel the RedHawks to 4-1 on the season, Miami’s best start since 2003.
Tidbits From Kent State
• With Gage Larvadain out with an injury, Joe Wilkins Jr. had a career-best 110 receiving yards to go along with three catches.
• Chuck Martin passed Terry Hoeppner with 49 career Miami wins, which ranks second all-time in program history, behind only Randy Walker (59).
• Kent State finished the contest with 36 yards rushing on 35 attempts.
• The Golden Flashes crossed the 50-yard line once in the second half and in fact, had just one play in BG territory the final 30 minutes of play.
• Miami had a season-high 7.0 sacks in the win over the Flashes. Ty Wise (2.0), Caiden Woullard (1.5), Silas Walters (1.0), Oscar McWood (1.0, first career), Corey Suttle (1.0) and Austin Ertl (0.5) all brought down the KSU quarterback.
• Graham Nicholson was a perfect 3-for-3 on Saturday from field-goal range and has yet to miss a kick in 2023 (9-for-9).
Bend But Don’t Break
Miami’s defense is allowing more yards than it did a year ago, but it’s red-zone defense has been remarkable. Through five games, Miami’s opponent has entered the red zone 17 times, but have scored just six touchdowns (35.3%).
Monsters of the MAC
In conference only games, the Miami defense ranks first in four different statistical categories: Scoring (3.0), total defense (206.0), rushing (36.0) and sacks (7.0).
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.
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 60 touchdowns (55 passing, 5 rushing) in his Miami career.
• Ranks third in program history with 7,321 passing yards and is sixth in completion percentage (.587) and fourth in passing touchdowns (55).
Gabbert Versus Gus
Back in 2018, senior star quarterback 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 third in career passing yards and passed Ragland in week one at Miami (FL). Gabbert’s completion percentage (.587) is just two spots behind Ragland (.602) and with two touchdown passes, Gabbert will move into third all-time in program history … ahead of Ragland.
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. He followed that up with eight catches for 273 yards and three scores versus UMass and had a 79-yard touchdown on the opening play versus Cincinnati. Larvadain currently ranks 11th in the nation with 438 receiving yards.
Through five games, the Miami offense is averaging 17.0 yards per completion, which ranks fifth in the country. On the season, Brett Gabbert has 1,062 yards passing on just 62 completions and five different receivers are averaging over 17.0 yards per catch.
For years a Chuck Martin offense has been built on a strong running game and controlling the game clock. That has changed in 2023. Miami has scored 18 offensive touchdowns in 2023 and 10 of the scores have occurred in under two minutes of game clock.
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 31 games for the Red and White, followed by Sam Vaughan (15), Will Jados (15), Kolby Borders (14), Ben Jackson (6) and John Young (5).
Linebacker Matt Salopek has 295 career tackles and has surpassed 100 stops in each of the past two years. With 100 tackles (has 38 currently) 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.
Nothing But Net
Placekicker Graham Nicholson has been perfect in 2023, connecting on 9-of-9 field goals and all 16 of his extra points. In his career he is 42-of-52 (80.8%) on field goals, including a game-winner last season at Northwestern.
COURTESY MIAMI ATHLETIC COMMUNICATIONS