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RedHawks fall in Cure Bowl, 13-9 to Appalachian State

<p>Junior running back Rashad Amos accounted for more than 70% of Miami&#x27;s total yards on Saturday.</p>

Junior running back Rashad Amos accounted for more than 70% of Miami's total yards on Saturday.

The Miami University RedHawks lost the 2023 Cure Bowl against the Appalachian State Mountaineers 13-9, in a rainy affair on Dec. 16. 

The Mountaineers won the coin toss and elected to receive, but on their first drive, quarterback Joey Aguilar threw an interception to RedHawk defensive back Yahsyn McKee at the App State 41-yard line. Redshirt sophomore quarterback Henry Hesson made his first career start in the Cure Bowl, after Aveon Smith entered the transfer portal earlier this month. The RedHawks moved the ball down to the 17-yard line, allowing 2023 Lou Groza Award-winner Graham Nicholson to kick his 28th field goal of the season and giving the RedHawks a 3-0 lead three minutes into the game. 

The Mountaineers responded on their next drive with a 52-yard pass, putting them at the Miami 19-yard line. The RedHawks held them to a field goal, tying the game 3-3 with nine minutes remaining in the first quarter. 

On the following kickoff, Keyon Mozee returned the ball to the Miami 41-yard line. The RedHawks converted once on third down, but failed to replicate it on the next 3rd & 16, forcing them to punt. Alec Bevelhimer punted the ball to the Appalachian 6-yard line. 

For the rest of the first quarter, the Mountaineers stormed down to the RedHawks territory. A 26-yard run put them at the Miami 10-yard line. Once again, the RedHawks held them to a field goal, putting the Mountaineers up 3-6. 

On the next drive, after a 28-yard run to put the RedHawks at the Appalachian 48-yard line, Rashad Amos fumbled the ball on the 50-yard line. The Mountaineers failed to convert on fourth down, giving the ball back to the RedHawks with eight minutes left in the second quarter.

For Miami’s next drive, redshirt-sophomore Maddox Kopp replaced Hesson as quarterback. Hesson completed three out of four passes for 10 yards before Kopp came in. Kopp threw for 28 yards on one pass to Gage Larvadain, putting the RedHawks at the Appalachian State 45-yard line. The RedHawks couldn’t close the drive and punted once more.

Photo by Jessica Monahan | The Miami Student

Neither Maddox Kopp or Henry Hesson saw much success throwing the ball on Saturday. The RedHawks totaled 44 yards through the air. 

After the Mountaineers punted again, the RedHawks fumbled the ball at their own 28-yard line, giving the Mountaineers the ball in field goal range with a little over one minute left in the second quarter. Despite the excellent field position, the Mountaineers attempted and failed a fourth down conversion, allowing the RedHawks to kneel to end the first half.

Hesson returned for the RedHawks’ third quarter opening drive. Amos ran for 24 yards, but later in the drive, the RedHawks failed to convert on 4th & 3, giving the ball back to the Mountaineers, who ran down the field in six minutes to score the first touchdown of the game with a nine-yard run by Aguilar. With the PAT, the Mountaineers extended their lead to 3-13.

Kevin Davis ran the kickoff to the Miami 41-yard line. Kopp was put back in. After a sack pushed the RedHawks back to the 33-yard line, Amos ran for 7 yards. Hesson was put back in, but after an incomplete pass, the RedHawks were once again forced to punt.

A Mountaineers fumble by running back Kanye Roberts gave the RedHawks the ball back at the Appalachian 25-yard line, which allowed Amos to run in for a touchdown to close the gap to 9-13. Nicholson’s PAT was blocked, marking his second missed extra point of the season. After the play, a fight broke out, leading Mountaineer defensive end Santana Hopper to be ejected from the game. 

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At the start of the fourth quarter, the Mountaineers  fumbled again at the 25-yard line but appeared to recover it. After review, the call was confirmed, giving the ball back to the Mountaineers and a third down. An incomplete pass led them to punt with 14 minutes left in the fourth quarter. 

Another RedHawk punt gave the Mountaineers the ball at their own 30-yard line. Four plays later, Helms fumbled again, giving the RedHawks the ball back down 9-13 with 10 minutes to go. The RedHawks went three-and-out and were forced to punt, marking Bevelhimer’s fifth punt of the day. 

The RedHawks got them to 4th & 1, forcing the Mountaineers to punt for the third time. Their punt put the RedHawks at their own 9-yard line. On their next drive, the RedHawks rushed 41 yards down the field, but a fumble by Mozee halted their progress. The Mountaineers had the ball up 13-9 with under three minutes left in the game.

The Mountaineers ran the ball for the remainder of the game, getting two first-downs and forcing Miami to burn through two of their timeouts. The Mountaineers ended up inside the 10-yard line with a minute and a half to go. Miami used its last timeout. 

On 2nd & 2, the Mountaineers got one more first-down, the dagger. Two more kneels ended the game with a Miami loss 9-13. 

There were 13 combined fumbles in the game, the most in a bowl game since 1988.

Photo by Jessica Monahan | The Miami Student

The water didn't drain well from the painted areas of the field, making them even more slippery than the rest.