Miami Football News: RedHawks Host Toledo in Key MAC Contest

The Miami University football team hosts the University of Toledo on Saturday, Oct. 21 in Miami’s annual Homecoming contest. The battle of division leaders kicks off at 4 p.m.

The matchup with Toledo will be carried live on ESPNU. Drew Carter will handle play-by-play duties, while Charles Arbuckle 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 (719), conference wins (313), MAC Championships (16) and bowl wins (8).

• Historically, Miami’s 719 career wins, ranks third all-time among Group-of-Five programs, behind just Navy (736) and Army (722).

• Miami was 4-14 in Coach Martin’s first 18 Mid-American Conference games. Since then, the RedHawks are 37-16 in their last 53 games versus schools from the MAC, the best record in the conference during that span.

• Miami, currently riding a six-game win streak, has not done so since the 2016 RedHawks began the season 0-6 and won their next six to advance to the St. Petersburg Bowl.

• Miami has not opened a season at 6-1 since the 2003 RedHawks lost their season opener at Iowa and rattled off 13-straight wins to close the season.

• Miami is the only school in the country with four road wins this season. The RedHawks are 4-1 on the road this year and 2-0 at Yager Stadium.

• After competing in the 2022 Bahamas Bowl and capturing their sixth win last week, the RedHawks have now been bowl eligible seven of the last eight 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.

• Miami is 64-36-4 (.635) all-time in Homecoming games. The RedHawks are currently riding a three-game Homecoming win streak.

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 125-67.

• 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 Toledo
Toledo enters Saturday’s action with an identical 6-1 overall and 3-0 MAC record. Toledo brings the league’s top offense (36.9 points/game) to Yager Stadium, led by quarterback Dequan Finn, who’s thrown for 1,265 yards and 12 touchdowns and is second on the team with 438 yards rushing. Defensively, the Rockets rank fourth in the conference in scoring (20.6) and Judge Culpepper is third with 5.0 sacks on the season.

Series Vs. Rockets
The RedHawks lead the all-time series 28-22-1 over Toledo. Miami is 16-8-1 against the Rockets at home and hasn’t lost to Toledo in Oxford since 1992.

Last Meeting
Toledo snapped Miami’s streak of five consecutive road wins in conference play with a 49-28 victory over the RedHawks on Oct. 22, 2011. The Rockets scored the game’s first four touchdowns and improved to 4-0 in the MAC despite 333 passing yards from Zac Dysert. Dawan Scott and Nick Harwell both had 100-yard receiving games for the visitors.

Do I Know You?
No, that was not a typo above. The last time Miami played Toledo was back in 2011 … 12 years ago. Since 2011, Miami has faced Marshall (4), Minnesota (3), Army (3), Kentucky (2), Iowa (2) and Ohio State (2) multiple times in non-conference play. The RedHawks have also played each West Division school several times in that span: Ball State (9 — Redbird Rivalry), Central Michigan (7), Western Michigan (6), Northern Illinois (5) and Eastern Michigan (4).

Memorable Meeting
Miami put up a school-record 12 touchdowns and the Red and White remained unbeaten with an 81-0 road shutout of Toledo at the Glass Bowl on Oct. 31, 1953 behind a standout performance from halfback Jack Acus. Despite substituting liberally throughout the game, Miami produced 20 points in the first quarter, 20 in the second and 28 in the third before adding 13 in the final frame.

RedHawks Make it Six-Straight With 34-21 Win at WMU
Brett Gabbert threw for 223 yards and two touchdowns and added a career-best two rushing scores as the Miami University football team captured its sixth-straight win, downing Western Michigan 34-21 last Saturday.

Tidbits From Kalamazoo
• With the win, Miami is bowl eligible for the seventh time in the past eight years.
• Gabbert (8,179) became the third player in Miami history to surpass 8,000 total yards, behind just Zac Dysert (12,678) and Ben Roethlisberger (11,075).
• Western Michigan’s touchdown in the second quarter was the first touchdown Miami allowed in the last 165:46.
• Cade McDonald had a career-high six receptions for 78 yards and had a career-long 42 yard catch as well.
• Gage Larvadain returned after missing the past two weeks, finishing the game with five catches for 49 yards and two touchdowns.
• Brian Ugwu and Caiden Woullard each had two sacks for the Miami defense.

Bend But Don’t Break
At times, Miami’s defense has surrendered yards between the 20’s, but once the opposition gets to the red zone, the RedHawks have turned them away. In 21 trips inside Miami’s 20-yard line, the RedHawks have allowed just eight touchdowns.

Best of Both Worlds
Both Miami’s offense and defense rank near the top of every statistical category among the 12 MAC programs. Offensively, Miami ranks second in scoring (31.2), third in total offense (375.4), third in rushing (162.3) and second in passing (213.1). On the defensive side, Miami ranks second in scoring allowed (19.1), third in total defense (333.1) fourth in rushing (132.6) and sixth in passing (200.6).

Monsters of the MAC
As good as the numbers are above, Miami’s defense has been downright frightening in conference play. Through three games, Miami ranks first in scoring (8.0), total defense (214.7), rushing (88.7), pass defense (126.0), time of possession (33:47) and sacks (5.0). Miami is second in third down conversions (23.1%).

Living on the Edge
Miami’s defense ranks second in the MAC and 23rd nationally with 17 sacks this season. A majority of those sacks have come from Miami’s edge players. Defensive ends Caiden Woullard (6.0) and Brian Ugwu (4.5) rank first and fourth in the conference, while Ty Wise is sixth (4.0).

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 66 touchdowns (59 passing, 7 rushing) in his Miami career.

• Ranks third in program history with 7,714 passing yards and is sixth in completion percentage (.589) and third in passing touchdowns (59).

He’s Got Legs And He Knows How to Use Them
With over 7,500 career passing yards, it would be easy to forget the impact Brett Gabbert’s rushing ability plays in the Miami offense. The junior has 465 career rushing yards to go along seven touchdowns. This season he recorded a career-high 75 yards rushing in the win over Cincinnati and was second on the team with 47 yards rushing versus Bowling Green. With 35 more rushing yards, Gabbert would be just the second player in school history with 7,500 career passing yards and 500 rushing yards (Zac Dysert (12,013 passing, 665 rushing).

“Gage”ing Interest
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.

Bombs Away
Through seven games, the Miami offense is averaging 15.2 yards per completion, which ranks 11th in the country. On the season, Brett Gabbert has 1,455 yards passing on just 97 completions and seven different receivers are averaging over 14.0 yards per catch.

Tackling Machine
Linebacker Matt Salopek has 317 career tackles and has surpassed 100 stops in each of the past two years. With 100 tackles (has 69 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 13-of-13 field goals and all 23 of his extra points. He is one of 11 kickers in the country that has yet to miss a kick this season. In his career, he is 46-of-56 (82.1%) on field goals, including a game-winner last season at Northwestern. He also drilled a career-long 52-yarder in the win over BGSU.

Special, Special Teams
Graham Nicholson leads the MAC with 13 made field goals and he is the only kicker in the conference that has yet to miss a kick. Punter Alec Bevelhimer leads the MAC with a 46.6 yard average and Gage Larvadain is second in the league with an 11.0 punt return average. Through seven weeks of action, Miami has captured MAC East Special Teams Player of the Week five times.