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How does the rest of Miami football’s schedule shape up?

<p>Miami football has four games remaining in its schedule, including a must-win contest at Ohio this weekend.</p>

Miami football has four games remaining in its schedule, including a must-win contest at Ohio this weekend.

As we move into the final stretch of Miami University football’s 2023 season, fans have a lot to be excited about. In just two months, the RedHawks have clinched a win against Cincinnati for the first time in 18 years, a 6-2 overall record and a tie with the Ohio Bobcats in the East Division. 

All of this means the RedHawks are in position to capture their first MAC Championship since 2019. Here is a deep dive into Miami’s remaining opponents as they enter the home stretch of the season.

Ohio - Saturday, Oct. 28, at 3:30 p.m. in Athens, Ohio

The Bobcats have faced their fair share of challenges this season. For one, they lost their second-leading receiver, Jacoby Jones, in their third game. More recently, during their Week 8 game against Northern Illinois, Ohio lost 23-13. 

This means the Bobcats are now tied with Miami in the MAC’s East Division. 

On offense, Ohio returns last year’s MAC Offensive Player of the Year quarterback Kurtis Rourke. The Ohio defense is the best in the MAC by scoring, allowing just 13.9 points per game and leading the conference in rushing allowed, and second in passing allowed. Ohio’s noteworthy victory over Iowa State with a 10-7 score highlights their defensive prowess. The offense hasn’t been the same high-flying unit we grew so accustomed to seeing last season, but the strength of their defense makes Ohio a formidable opponent.

Miami’s game against Ohio next week is still a must-win. If Ohio beats Miami and both teams finish 7-1 in MAC play, Ohio would go to the MAC Championship since the MAC tiebreaker is head-to-head record.

Akron - Wednesday, Nov. 8 at 7 or 7:30 p.m. in Oxford

The Zips have had a rough season so far, sitting at 1-7 after losing four one-score games, including a heart-wrenching quadruple-overtime defeat against Indiana. 

Their unfortunate circumstances were exacerbated by the loss of starting quarterback DJ Irons, who is out for the season with a torn ACL. Stepping in as quarterback to replace him is Jeff Undercuffler Jr., an Albany transfer. 

A big part of Akron’s struggles in close games has been its kicking situation. The Zips have used three different kickers, and each has had misses. So far, they’ve converted a dismal 7-of-13 field goals. 

Despite their challenging season, a lot of Akron’s problems this season come from bad luck, not skills. This game won’t be an automatic win for the RedHawks.

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Buffalo - Wednesday, Nov. 15 at 7 p.m. in Oxford

While Buffalo has had competitive games against both Wisconsin and Louisiana, the Bulls have been inconsistent, as evidenced by their loss to FCS Fordham and their 3-5 record.

Rutgers transfer quarterback Cole Snyder leads the offense with 1,532 yards and 12 touchdowns for an offense ranking third in the MAC with 25.9 points per game. On the defensive side, safety Devin Grant is a standout with four interceptions. He won National Defensive Player of the Week honors when he notched two pick-sixes against Central Michigan. 

While Buffalo’s defense has struggled in non-conference games —giving up an average of 44.5 points a game — the unit has improved in conference play, allowing 13.4 points per game in their last four matchups. This team should not be underestimated.

Ball State - Saturday, Nov. 25, time TBA in Muncie, Indiana

Ball State has been unimpressive this season.

The quarterback room has been a revolving door since last year’s starter John Paddock transferred to Illinois. Initially, Ball State started with true first-year Kadin Semonza. Shortly after, Texas State transfer Layne Hatcher was forced into action, but both got hurt. Third-stringer Kiael Kelly took the field against Toledo and saw limited success (only 38 passing yards on 4-for-16 passing). 

The departure of last year’s 1,600-yard rusher, Carson Steele, to UCLA this year has also significantly slowed the offense. With Steele gone, the main source of offense is Kent State transfer Marquez Cooper, who has tallied 121 carries for 584 yards. 

While the offense has struggled, Ball State’s defense remains a bright spot, boasting the second-best rushing defense in the MAC. As it stands, Ball State ranks second worst in overall points per game in the conference, but as evidenced by their 13-6 loss against Toledo, the team can limit an explosive offense from time to time. Even though they’re at the bottom of this list with a 2-6 record, they’re still not a complete slouch.