Last week, the Miami University RedHawks earned one of their biggest wins of this century so far, an outlandish 31-24 victory over Cincinnati under the lights at historic Nippert Stadium.
Following the unlikely win, the RedHawk buses unloaded outside Brick Street, and the team brought the prized Victory Bell into Oxford’s most notable watering hole.
The game was an emotional rollercoaster for anyone with a stake in it. It looked like the RedHawks were about to win before Cincinnati converted a fake punt on fourth-and-nine from their own 26-yard line with under five minutes left. It looked like the RedHawks had lost before senior defensive back Yahsyn Mckee flew around the Cincinnati line and blocked the game-winning field goal as the game clock ticked below 10 seconds.
The celebration after the game was like nothing Miami has seen since winning the Mid-American Conference Championship in 2019. Senior defensive lineman Austin Ertl had more texts on his phone after Saturday’s game than he did after that championship win.
“It’s a really hard thing that we’re going to have to get accustomed to this week,” Ertl said. “... All the emotions that come with that win, I mean it was our Super Bowl. Trying to come down from that a little bit, you gotta prepare for everyone the same way.”
This week is a classic trap game for the RedHawks as they face Delaware State in Oxford. They’re coming off a huge win at a non-conference rival, they’re playing an inferior team and conference play starts next week.
In fact, it’s the same situation Cincinnati faced against the RedHawks on Saturday. They had just beaten the University of Pittsburgh, a longtime rival. After losing to the RedHawks, they play their first Big-12 game against Oklahoma this week.
“It’s gonna be hard,” Miami head coach Chuck Martin said. “It doesn’t matter who we’re playing next week, it’s gonna be hard. It’s an emotional game, it’s a physical game, we’re a pretty beat up football team right now … it’s why very few teams go undefeated.”
Delaware State is a member of the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS), a level below the highest level of Division I, the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS), where Miami competes.
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So far this year, the Hornets are 0-3. Their only other game against an FBS opponent came in Week 2, where they lost to Army 57-0. In Week 1, they fell to Bowie State 22-11, and in Week 3 they lost to Richmond 38-6.
“The run game and the pass [protections] will be a lot of the same looks,” Martin said, “which is nice to have four straight weeks of kind of carryover.”
Aaron Angelos started the season as the starting quarterback for Delaware State. Martin said that he’s more of a passing quarterback than the Hornets’ backup, Marqui Adams, who played last week due to an injury to Angelos. The RedHawks don’t know Angelos’ status, so they’ll have to prepare for both players.
According to ncaa.com, Miami has lost just two games to FCS opponents since Division I was divided in 1978. The most recent was 2016, when the RedHawks lost to Eastern Illinois 21-17 at home. That RedHawks team became the first in FBS history to start the regular season 0-6 and finish it 6-6.
The other incident was in 2014, Martin’s first season, when Miami lost to Eastern Kentucky 17-10 at home. That team would finish with a record of 2-10.
With the hardest part of their schedule over and a 2-1 record under their belts, this Miami RedHawks team has a chance to be one of the best in recent history. But first, they have to defeat mighty Delaware State in their home opener this week.
The game kicks off at 3:30 p.m. on Saturday from Yager Stadium. If you’re not in town, you can catch it on ESPN+ or one of Miami’s gameday radio affiliates.