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RedHawks hope to top Appalachian State in Cure Bowl

<p>The Cure Bowl will be multiple RedHawks&#x27; last collegiate game, including senior defensive lineman Austin Ertl who blocked two kicks in the 2023 MAC Championship game.</p>

The Cure Bowl will be multiple RedHawks' last collegiate game, including senior defensive lineman Austin Ertl who blocked two kicks in the 2023 MAC Championship game.

On Saturday, Dec. 16 at 3:30 p.m., the Miami University RedHawks (11-2, 7-1 Mid-American Conference) will take on the Appalachian State University Mountaineers (8-5, 6-2 Sun Belt Conference) in the Cure Bowl. 

The game will be played at FBC Mortgage Stadium (also known as “The Bounce House”) in Orlando, on the campus of the University of Central Florida. 

The RedHawks are coming off an upset 23-14 win over the University of Toledo in the 2023 Mid-American Conference (MAC) Championship game. The Mountaineers lost the Sun Belt Conference (SBC) Championship game the same day, 49-23 to Troy University.

For the RedHawks, it will be redshirt-sophomore quarterback Henry Hesson under center after redshirt sophomore quarterback Aveon Smith entered the transfer portal last week. Smith came into Miami’s Week 8 game against Toledo after star junior quarterback Brett Gabbert went down with a season-ending broken leg. Smith and the RedHawks lost that game but won the next five, including the MAC Championship.

Hesson, a 6-foot-2 quarterback from Plainfield, Indiana, has seen action in three games over two years during his RedHawk career. He’s completed two-of-five passes, all against Robert Morris University in 2022.

The RedHawk defense, which allowed just over 10 points per game in MAC play this season (the conference’s best scoring unit since 2000), doesn’t have an easy task Saturday. Appalachian State led the SBC in scoring in conference games with nearly 35 points per game. 

The Mountaineers’ quarterback Joey Aguilar finished the season with 3,546 yards and 33 touchdowns to just nine interceptions, helping the Mountaineers earn the conference’s most lethal passing attack in conference games. 

The good news for the RedHawks, who will likely lean on their running game with an inexperienced quarterback under center, is that the App State defense allowed 175.9 yards per SBC game in 2023, third worst in the conference. 

The game will be broadcast on ABC, with former Heisman Trophy winner Robert Griffin III as the analyst. 


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