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Ohio University players go at it with Miami (OH) players in Oxford, Ohio, on Nov. 8, 2022.

Football Column: Ohio is dominating the Battle of the Bricks

Going into the 2021 Battle of the Bricks, Miami was 3-1 in the Mid-American Conference and in the thick of a MAC East title race with Kent State. In contrast, Ohio was 1-3 in the MAC and 1-7 overall with just a win over a terrible Akron team.

The RedHawks had a chance to notch a win on the road against a rival having a serious down year.

They did not.

A 35-33 Ohio win dealt a major blow to Miami’s hopes of winning the division. Although its loss to Kent State to end the season was the final nail in the coffin, a two-point rivalry loss to a bad Ohio team likely played a major role in Miami blowing a chance at a MAC Championship.

This year, it was the Bobcats who marched into their rivals’ stadium looking to pick up a big win on the way to a MAC East title. And while this year’s Miami team is not as bad as the Ohio of 2021, it was still a great chance for some revenge in Oxford.

Once again, Miami was unable to take advantage of the opportunity.

The Bobcats were showered with “OU, Oh Yeah” chants from a crowd that was, by the fourth quarter, mostly wearing green, as what was a three-point game at halftime turned into a 37-21 win for the Bobcats.

If you want a lesson in how to dominate a rivalry over an extended period of time, this is it.

In 2021, a struggling Ohio team used the advantage of playing at home to play spoiler for its biggest rival. In 2022, an Ohio team riding high made sure that Miami could not return the favor in Oxford.

But this goes back further than just the last two years. Since six straight losses from 2000-2005, three of them started by Ben Roethlisberger, the Bobcats are 13-3 in the last 16 Battles of the Bricks.

The 13 Ohio wins have come by an average margin of almost 14.4 points, while the three losses have been by a combined eight points.

The dominant run Ohio is currently on in the Battle of the Bricks coincides almost perfectly with the arrival of former head coach Frank Solich in Athens. Solich went 11-4 in his Ohio career against Miami, and Ohio’s current head coach Tim Albin has continued that trend, winning his first two games in the rivalry.

Tuesday’s win moved Ohio to 5-1 in the MAC and dropped Miami to 2-4 in conference play after it was picked to finish first in the MAC East in the Preseason Media Poll.

These are two programs trending in opposite directions, and if last year’s Ohio win in Athens was a turning point, Tuesday was the completion of that turn. Roughly 16 months after Solich’s retirement, Albin has Ohio in the driver’s seat in the MAC East and has put Miami’s hopes of bowl eligibility in serious jeopardy.

The Ohio-Miami rivalry is called the Battle of the Bricks because both schools have brick streets throughout campus, but if Tuesday is any indication, Miami should probably get to work on repaving.


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