Ohio's (6-2, 3-1 Mid-American Conference) game against Miami (6-2, 3-1 MAC) could very easily decide which team represents the MAC East in the conference championship game in Detroit. With major MAC implications hanging over the game, this year's edition of the Battle of the Bricks feels like one of the biggest in the series' recent history.
Not only have both teams gotten out to impressive starts in MAC play, but both teams have also scored wins over Big 12 opponents early in the season. In other words, this year's Miami-Ohio rivalry will feature two of the best teams the rivalry has seen with the highest stakes the matchup has seen in recent history.
Here's what to know about Miami:
Miami is led by Chuck Martin, who is in his 10th season as head coach. Martin has led the Redhawks to at least six wins every season – excluding 2020 – since 2017. Martin's career at Miami was highlighted by the team's 2019 MAC Championship victory. Previously, Martin coached at Grand Valley State where the team won back-to-back Division II National Championships.
The Redhawks were led by Quarterback Brett Gabbert until a season-ending injury took the quarterback out of Miami's loss against Toledo. Gabbert was replaced by backup Quarterback Aveon Smith, the player the Bobcats will likely face on Saturday. Smith made nine starts for the Redhawks in 2022 with 1,299 passing yards and a 49% completion percentage. This season, in limited playing time, Smith is 4/12 for 60 yards with an additional 49 yards rushing.
Although the Red Hawks are one of many MAC schools to employ a running back by committee approach, Rashad Amos is the team's leading rusher. Amos leads the team with 421 yards rushing and four touchdowns. Kenny Tracy is also a contributor with 184 total yards rushing and two touchdowns in seven games played.
Gage Larvadain may not be Miami's biggest receiver at 5 feet, 10 inches and 165 pounds, but he may be the team's most effective. Larvadain leads the conference with 572 receiving yards and leads his team with six receiving touchdowns. Joe Wilkins Jr. also has 325 receiving yards and a receiving touchdown.
Caiden Woullard is the Red Hawks' biggest playmaker on the defensive side of the ball. Woullard leads the MAC with 6 sacks and also has an impressive 7.5 tackles for loss. Brian Ugwu has also made a difference on defense for the Redhawks with 4.5 sacks and 7 tackles for loss.