Established 1826 — Oldest College Newspaper West of the Alleghenies

Return of the #MACtion: ’Hawks travel to Buffalo

The losing streak started on a cold, cloudy, grey November day in upstate New York in 2012. A field goal as time expired gave the University at Buffalo a 27-24 win over Miami University. The RedHawks haven't won a game since. Miami returns Saturday with a chance to snap a school-record 20-game losing streak where it started.

It is both team's first Mid-American Conference game of the season.

"It'd be nice if it happened out in the Millett parking lot against Jones Jr. High," head coach Chuck Martin said of snapping the streak. "If we can get a win, we'll take it. Heck yeah, it's the next game in our schedule and we would love for the streak to end at Buffalo. If that makes it nice for an article, that things wrapped around, that's great. For our guys, we just want to win a dang game."

The two teams don't resemble the squads that met nearly two years ago. However, Buffalo (2-2) has had two mainstays during the gap: head coach Jeff Quinn and junior quarterback Joe Licata.

Quinn and Martin know each other well - they were both assistants under Brian Kelly at Grand Valley State. In fact, Quinn told the Buffalo News his oldest son used to babysit for Martin.

Licata got his first career start against Miami on that fateful Nov. 3 afternoon. The temperature was a frigid 38 degrees, and Licata rode a running game that produced 215 yards. He completed 13 of passes for 137 yards, two touchdowns and one pick.

He isn't the same player now that he was then, as the Buffalo offense has relied more and more on him every year. For the season, he's completed 64 percent of passes for 1,099 yards, 12 touchdowns and four picks.

"They win games because they play football the way it is supposed to be played," Martin said of Buffalo. "They don't beat themselves on defense, they don't beat themselves on offense. They run the ball, they stop the run. Those are all the things that good teams do. Obviously their quarterback, who led them to a great season last year is off to a phenomenal start this year, whipping the ball around."

The last time these two teams squared off was in Oxford, when the Bulls blew out the 'Hawks 44-7 in the penultimate game of the season. But this isn't the same Miami team the Bulls saw six games ago. Despite a winless season thus far, Miami has competed with Marshall University, the University of Michigan and nearly upset the University of Cincinnati last week. The RedHawks think this is the week to end the streak.

"We have to get it done this week," senior wide receiver and reigning MAC East Player of the Week David Frazier said. "Everybody is tired of it. I can tell from [Tuesday's practice], everybody is pushing through practice, going real hard. I think we're going to get that first win this week."

Junior linebacker Kent Kern agreed.

"The goal this weekend is to get a win," Kern said. "We know we have what it takes to get a win this weekend, we just need to go out there, execute our game plan, play hard and we'll win if we do that. We're not focused on getting one, we want to put together a string of wins."

Kickoff is set for 3:30 p.m. Saturday. Fans can listen to the game live on redhawkradio.com.

Comments