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RedHawks nab Bobcats in 99th Battle of the Bricks

<p>Miami football moved to 4-1 in MAC play with a win over Akron Wednesday night.</p>

Miami football moved to 4-1 in MAC play with a win over Akron Wednesday night.

In a crucial Mid-American Conference (MAC) contest on Saturday, Miami University football (7-2, 4-1 MAC) defeated Ohio University (6-3, 3-2 MAC) 30-16 in the 99th iteration of the Battle of the Bricks rivalry.

It is a huge win for Miami against the RedHawks’ main competitor for the top spot of the MAC East division this season. With the victory, Miami would have to lose two of its last three games for Ohio to even have a chance to finish first in the division and make the MAC Championship.

The Bobcats haven’t won the conference since the Lyndon B. Johnson administration (1968), the longest drought in the MAC.

Redshirt-sophomore Aveon Smith was under center for the RedHawks after redshirt-junior Brett Gabbert suffered a season-ending injury last week against Toledo. Smith and the RedHawks didn’t record a first down until nearly halfway through the second quarter. To finish the game, they scored on six of their last eight drives. Miami’s final drive of the day ate more than seven minutes of clock and lasted 11 plays.

The RedHawks mostly stuck to the ground on Saturday, but Smith was effective through the air when given the chance. He finished with 103 yards, a 64% completion percentage and one passing touchdown. Smith also ran in for a touchdown himself and contributed 22 yards on the ground.

After allowing 128 yards and 10 points on the first two Ohio drives of the game, Miami’s defense seriously buckled down. It forced a fumble on the third drive that gave Miami the ball at Ohio’s 11 and led to the RedHawks’ first points of the game. Then Miami forced five straight punts, a turnover on downs and then another punt before allowing a garbage-time touchdown on the second-to-last drive of the game.

Ohio could not move the ball on the ground. The Bobcats rushed for just 66 yards (2.9 yards per carry). Miami was able to hold the Bobcats off the scoreboard despite defending MAC Player of the Year Kurtis Rourke’s strong statistical day (25-39 passing, 324 total yards, one touchdown).

Rashad Amos finished with 163 yards on 21 carries and a touchdown. He had a bruising 66-yard rush in the second quarter that was a turning point in the game. After that, Miami scored 24 unanswered points.

For the RedHawks and Miami fans, the Buffalo at Toledo game at 7:30 p.m. on Halloween night will be a must-watch. If Buffalo wins, the Bulls will be tied with Miami atop the MAC East standings. Toledo is favored by 14.5 points. Miami and Buffalo play in two weeks, on Wednesday, Nov. 15, in Oxford.

The RedHawks are off next weekend as week-night MACtion approaches. They take the field next on Wednesday, Nov. 8, against The University of Akron in Oxford.


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