Established 1826 — Oldest College Newspaper West of the Alleghenies

‘Sometimes life sucks’: Gabbert injured as Toledo hands Miami first loss in MAC play

<p>In Week 8, Miami football lost its first game of the Mid-American Conference schedule and its starting quarterback Brett Gabbert for the season.</p>

In Week 8, Miami football lost its first game of the Mid-American Conference schedule and its starting quarterback Brett Gabbert for the season.

When the last seconds of the first half ticked off the clock on Saturday, Miami University football fans began pouring down the stands at Yager Stadium and flooding into the concourse. Many never returned to their seats.

Those who left missed a hectic half of football and a gruesome injury. After going into halftime losing 21-3 to the University of Toledo, the RedHawks held the Rockets to 67 yards and no points in the second half. Miami scored two touchdowns on its first three drives of the half to bring the score within one. 

The second touchdown came on the very next play after Brett Gabbert, Miami’s star redshirt-junior quarterback, left the field in an ambulance. A Toledo lineman fell on Gabbert’s right leg just in front of the end zone. Gabbert immediately flung his helmet off and pounded the turf with his hands, his face twisted in agony. 

Photo by Jessica Monahan | The Miami Student

When Gabbert suffered a season ending injury Week 8 against Toledo, he had completed 111-of-187 passes (59.4%) so far on the season for 1,634 yards and 14 touchdowns to 5 interceptions. He had also recorded 140 yards and 2 touchdowns on the ground.

Gabbert was taken to Mercy Fairfield Hospital. Seeing the injury, it’s hard to imagine he’ll be back on the field this season.

"He's one of the best leaders I've been around," redshirt-junior linebacker Matt Salopek said. "It's super emotional to lose him. He's a guy who puts the team above himself." 

After the game, Miami head coach Chuck Martin was asked what message he tried to give his team after Gabbert was taken off the field. It’s hard to imagine trying to play football after seeing a teammate leave with such an injury. Still, the RedHawks were down one score in the biggest game of the season to date with over a quarter remaining to play.

“I really don’t know that answer,” Martin said. “The only thing we talked about is what Brett Gabbert would expect from us. If that son of a gun knew we were over here pouting, he’d be very disappointed in us. He’s laying on the field talking about winning the game. He’s holding my hand talking about, ‘You gotta win this game coach. We’re gonna win this game.’”

Miami’s defense forced four Toledo punts in the fourth quarter. With redshirt-sophomore backup quarterback Aveon Smith under center, the RedHawk offense couldn’t get rolling. On third-and-13 just before the two-minute-warning, Smith rolled away from pressure, and sprinting toward the left sideline he found junior receiver Gage Larvadain for the first down.

On the next play, Smith fumbled. Toledo picked up the loose ball and then entered victory formation. 

“This is life,” Martin said. “It’s not just: it doesn’t matter because Brett got hurt … it would have been nice to come back and get that damn victory. At least when I drove over to the hospital tonight I could say ‘we pulled it out for you brother.’ At least something to make him feel a little better.”

Enjoy what you're reading?
Signup for our newsletter

With the loss, Miami is now tied atop the Mid-American Conference (MAC) East standings with Ohio University and University at Buffalo. 

Miami plays Ohio next week. It's a must-win for the RedHawks. The tiebreaker in the MAC standings is head-to-head record. A win against Ohio puts Miami in the driver’s seat to go to the MAC Championship in Detroit on Dec. 2. A loss leaves the RedHawks needing Ohio to lose two of its final three games for a chance. Miami plays Buffalo at home two weeks later. 

The RedHawks take the field against Ohio in Athens on Saturday, Oct. 28, at 3:30 p.m. You can catch the game on CBS Sports Network. 

Photo by Jessica Monahan | The Miami Student

Brett Gabbert is currently third in Miami University history for career passing yards and career passing touchdowns.