Ohio begins its slate of midweek games when it hosts Miami on Tuesday for the annual “Battle of the Bricks” rivalry game.
The Bobcats (1-7, 1-3 Mid-American Conference) and the RedHawks (4-4, 3-1 MAC) are in the midst of vastly different seasons. Ohio’s only win thus far came against Akron at the beginning of MAC play. Miami has been near perfect in its conference schedule and suffered its only conference loss of the season to Eastern Michigan by a point.
The game will be broadcast on ESPNU. Kickoff is slated for 7:30 p.m.
Below is a guide to game day with how to follow along, depth charts, what to watch for, who has the edge, a reading guide and our predictions.
How to watch: The game will be broadcast on ESPNU. Mike Couzens and Dustin Fox will have the call.
How to listen: Ohio’s game can be heard on the Ohio Sports Network from Learfield. Russ Eisenstein and Rob Cornelius will be behind the mic per usual.
How to find stats: Stats are provided here.
Provided from each team’s game notes.
Three things to watch for
Miami halts the rushing attack
In each of its last four games, Miami has held its opponents to 100 rushing yards or fewer. Only one opposing running back — Carson Steele of Ball State — rushed for more than 40 yards in those four games.
Ohio’s offense leans on its pool of running backs when the offense stalls, but it’ll hit a roadblock Tuesday night. If Miami’s last four games are any indication, Ohio can’t rely on the rushing attack to pick up yardage.
Ohio’s scoring defense
The Bobcats have struggled to keep their opponents out of the end zone this season. They allow 31.1 points per game and rank ninth in the MAC for scoring defense. Fortunately for Ohio, Miami averages just 23.8 points per game.
It’s no secret that Miami’s defense will give Ohio trouble Tuesday. To complement the offense, Ohio’s defense must not allow Miami to get comfortable while it has possession.
Return of the quarterback question
For the first four weeks of the season, Kurtis Rourke played the role as Ohio’s primary quarterback with Armani Rogers subbing in on occasion. But after Rourke was pulled following the first half of Ohio’s game against Akron, Rogers took over the role as starter.
This new system showed promise through October but was shaken up once again after Rogers was pulled late in the first quarter against Kent State on Oct. 23. Rourke was brought in and passed for 308 yards. Now, Ohio must once again choose which quarterback it wants under center.
Ohio coach Tim Albin said in his latest press conference that both quarterbacks will receive equal reps going forward. Rogers is currently listed at the top of the depth chart, but his playtime might depend on both his and Rourke’s performance against Miami.
When Ohio has the ball
The Bobcats have a habit of running cold on offense. Either they are slow to start or grind to halt in the second half. They have the second-lowest scoring offense in the MAC and average just 360.1 total yards of offense per game.
Ohio hasn’t found a working compromise between a run-heavy offense and the desire to incorporate more passing. It's passed for 75 yards or fewer against two conference opponents this season. This reliance on running the ball will only hinder its performance against the best rushing defense in the *MAC East Division.
The edge: Miami
When Miami has the ball
Both Ohio and Miami average fewer than 24 points per game this season, but the difference lies in defense. Miami has done a much better job at keeping opposing offenses out of the end zone. Ohio, on the other hand, allows over 30 points per game. Miami’s offense hasn’t been amazing this season, but Ohio still needs to show improvement from previous matchups and get stops on defense.
The edge: Miami
- Tim Albin’s weekly press conference
- Evaluating Ohio midway through its MAC schedule
- Evaluating the MAC’s standout Week 8 performances
- Miami scouting report
Sports Editor Jack Gleckler: Miami’s stalwart defense is going to be a nightmare for Ohio to work around. Ohio lives and dies by the success of its run game, and it has been inconsistent when passing throughout its October schedule. Miami’s defense is among the best in the MAC, and Albin made note of that in his latest press conference. Ohio is going to be fighting uphill Tuesday night, and it’ll be hard-pressed to pull out a victory. Miami wins 21-10.
Assistant Sports Editor Eli Feazell: Albin mentioned how critical Miami’s defense is to leading it to victory. Regardless of how Ohio’s own defense performs, its offense will have a tough time against the third-best total defense in the MAC. Tuesday’s game won’t be an offensive battle, and Miami’s defense will be what keeps Ohio out of the game. Miami wins 20-10.