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Miami football seeks a return to the top of the MAC after mediocre 2022

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<p>Miami football head coach Chuck Martin is confident in his team going into 2023.</p>

Miami football head coach Chuck Martin is confident in his team going into 2023.

With the 2023 football season rapidly approaching, the Miami University RedHawks are looking to return to the top of the Mid-American Conference (MAC) for the first time since 2019. 

“The goal is the same every year. We want to win the MAC East and win the MAC championship game,” said head coach Chuck Martin. “Since we’ve gotten to be good, we’re always a team that’s very consistent. We’re always a team that’s going to be tough to beat.” 

The RedHawks will aim to improve upon a 2022 season in which the team faced many ups and downs, finishing fourth in the MAC East while posting a 4-4 record in conference play and a 6-7 record overall. 

Miami began the season with a strong showing in non-conference play, producing competitive games against the University of Cincinnati and the University of Kentucky as well as a huge road win over Big Ten opponent Northwestern. However, the ’Hawks struggled to gain momentum in MAC play, failing to produce consecutive wins until the final two weeks of the season. 

Many of the RedHawks' troubles stemmed from the offensive side of the ball. Starting quarterback Brett Gabbert experienced an injury-riddled campaign, appearing in only four games throughout the season, and the team averaged a mediocre 305.6 yards and 20.23 points per game.

“I was just in a bad spot. I felt like, for me, nothing was going right. Kept getting hurt,” Gabbert said. “I just couldn’t figure it out, couldn’t do anything about it. I was mad at myself and mad at the world.”

Frustrated with how the 2022 season played out, Gabbert chose to enter the transfer portal on November 23. However, he ultimately decided to return to Miami, announcing the decision via Twitter in early December.

“I think the best decision I ever made was coming back,” added Gabbert. “I’ve kind of put that in the past. I’ve just been rehabbing and working hard to get my body feeling the best it’s felt in five years, so I’m just really excited for this new team and for the season.” 

Looking ahead to the 2023 season, the RedHawks once again have some big matchups in non-conference play. The team will travel to Florida to kick off the season against the University of Miami on Sept. 1 before taking on the University of Cincinnati during week three.

“The nice thing when you play those [games] is the motivation,” Martin said. “It’s a long season. You’re playing 12, 13, 14 weeks and [the players] get up every week and these college kids who are taking classes and they’re tired and they’re beat up … When you go play the Miami’s or the Northwestern’s or the Cincinnati’s or the Notre Dame’s or the Michigan’s, the nice thing for me is that our kids will be ready. They’re going to be super excited to play.” 

The non-conference schedule is rounded out with a game at UMass in week two and one at home against FCS-opponent Delaware State in week four. 

MAC play begins in week five, with the RedHawks traveling to take on the Kent State Golden Flashes Sept. 30. There’s been substantial parity in the MAC over the past few seasons, with no team reaching the MAC championship in back-to-back years since Northern Illinois and Bowling Green met three consecutive times from 2013-2015.

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While the RedHawks will certainly be tested early and often by quality opponents, coach Martin has confidence in his group after a strong offseason.

“Offseason has been fantastic,” Martin said. “January lifting and conditioning was really, really good. Our strength staff had a great plan and our kids absolutely dove into it … and then we just had a great summer and it’s been the same thing.”

Kickoff for the RedHawks’ week one matchup against the University of Miami is at 7 p.m. The game will be televised on the ACC Network and available via the Miami Radio Network.