Peden Stadium, Athens, OHIO
Last year's Miami versus Ohio Battle of the Bricks came down to the very end, with a field goal as time expired giving OU a 24-21 season finale win in Oxford. A season earlier, Ohio blasted the RedHawks in Athens, 41-16, to avenge a 23-20 win by MU in Oxford the previous year.
That mini-history of recent outcomes suggests each team plays its best football on the home field. Couple that with the fact that, among other issues, Miami is riding a 19-game road losing streak, the the Bobcats would seem to be in good shape for their rivalry-homecoming matchup against MU Saturday. It's the 92nd meeting between the two teams.
Ohio is actually coming off a road win at Akron last week, 14-12, and brings a 4-1 record (1-0 MAC) into this weekend. Miami, on the other hand, opened the year with a home win against Presbyterian before losing four straight -- at Wisconsin, Cincinnati, at Western Kentucky and at Kent State.
The latter was Miami's best road showing of the year as MU fought back from a 20-0 deficit to 20-14 and had the ball for a final drive. That ended when quarterback Drew Kummer threw his fourth interception of the game.
Here's a look at Saturday's match-up:
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(4-1, 1-1 MAC)
-- The Bobcats only loss this year was a 27-24 setback at Minnesota. The Gophers winning score came on an 11-play drive that resulted in a TD with 30 seconds left in the game.
-- Ohio has been getting off to good starts this season, outscoring opponents 49-6 in the first quarter. The Bobcats took a 14-3 lead early in the second quarter last Saturday against Akron and were unable to get any more points the rest of the way.
-- Ohio has evolved into a good defensive team that can stay in ballgames even when the offense sputters. The Bobcats held Akron to four field goals last week. The 'Cats are ranked second in scoring defense (18.2 ppg) and fifth in scoring offense (27.8 ppg).
-- "We have more depth on the defense than we've had for some time. That's a huge positive, and it's coming into play as a huge positive for us this early in the season." -- HEAD COACH FRANK SOLICH
-- Linebacker Quentin Poling earned MAC East Defensive Player of the Week honors for his play Saturday. Poling had 11 tackles (2 TFL) and an interception.
-- Safety Nathan Carpenter was MAC East Defensive Player of the Week back in Week Two following Ohio's win over Marshall. The Bobcats victory over Marshall was the first MAC win over a Conference USA team since the Bobcats downed the Herd back in 2013. It was the fourth OU win over Marshall in five years.
-- Quarterback Derrius Vick is completing 68.3 percent of his passes and is No. 1 among MAC QBs in pass efficiency. He has thrown seven TDs against two interceptions. The senior has been hobbled recently. According to Solich earlier this week, Vick was feeling better than he did the previous Sunday. "We are hoping he will be full-go as we come closer to the end of the week."
-- Daz'mond Patterson and A.J. Ouelette have combined for 106 carries for 482 yards and six touchdowns. Freshman Papi White (5-9, 166) is also getting carries (21 for 131 with 2 TDs) along with his receiving opportunities 14 receptions, 204 yards, one TD).
-- Asked about getting Patterson and White on the field simultaneously, Solich replied, "Those two guys are capable of making explosive plays. ... You can run an entire offense with them. " White has also been used for punt returns.
-- Sebastion Smith and Jordan Reid share the team lead in receptions with 17 each. They have combined for 529 yards and five touchdowns.
-- Kicker Josiah Yazdani is two of four on field goal attemps with a long of 41.
-- Speaking on Miami, Solich said, "They are a young football team. I think they are growing fast. ... Miami is a rivalry game that has been that way for many years and means a lot to people in both communities, players and coaches. It will be a highly-contested football game."
(1-4, 0-1 MAC)
The RedHawks had a chance to win last week's game, but miscues throughout hurt the RedHawks. Miami had four turnovers (all interceptions) and 10 penalties for 67 yards.
Head coach Chuck Martin also noted blocking issues, route running and defensive breakdowns contributed to a loss even though MU had 23 first downs to 13 for the hosts.
-- Defensively, Martin felt the RedHawks played pretty well outside of a few plays - two of which went for touchdowns. Both were repped during the week. "Two (bad) plays, or we can hold them to six points and have a great chance to win the game."
"They run the same reverse they ran against Marshall -- the same reverse we practiced during the week. It was an eight-yard loss in practice, and it's a 60-yard touchdown in the game."
The other Kent State TD came on a 44-yard pass play. "Our pass coverage wasn't necessarily bad all day, (but) it was very poor on that one play," Martin said. "There were a lot of guys out of position."
-- Martin also liked the way the offense moved at times, but felt a myriad of miscues halted drives and created missed opportunities. We "had tons of opportunities in the pass game and threw for a bunch of yards but didn't have a lot to show for it. ... We had more opportunities to make plays last week against a pretty stingy defense than we've had all year."
"We're still too inconsistent on both sides of the ball," he said. "It's about executing your assignment on every down."
-- While senior quarterback Drew Kummer tossed four interceptions, he also helped spark the RedHawks second half comeback. Overall, he completed 19 of 48 for 285 yards with one TD.
-- Rokeem Williams (5 catches, 73 yards) and Ryan Smith (5 catches, 70 yds) led the receiving corps. Sam Martin and Chris Hudson combined for six receptions and 104 yards. Tight end Nate Becker, a 6-5, 265-pound freshman tight end, recorded his first two career receptions - one for a touchdown.
-- Redshirt freshman QB Gus Ragland provided 67 of Miami's 91 rushing yards.
-- Linebacker Kent Kern leads MU with 43 tackles, including 7.5 TFL. Sophomore LB Paul Moses is next with 40 stops (4.5 TFL), while safety Brison Burris owns 39 tackles. Moses made the switch to linebacker after spending 2014 as a running back.
-- "It's obviously a huge rivalry game, which makes it more exciting." -- MARTIN ON PLAYING OU SATURDAY.
-- "Their consistency and their level of execution is fantastic," MARTIN ON OHIO
-- Miami has a very young roster. Of 110 players, 62 are either redshirt or true freshmen. There are 15 seniors, 17 juniors and 16 sophomore. Miami has used 68 players this season, including 30 freshmen, 11 sophomores, 12 juniors and 15 seniors. Six of Miami's top seven pass catchers are sophomore or below. The RedHawks top four rushers are all freshmen. Miami had 14 freshmen on last week's two-deep versus Kent State.
-- Through five games, the MU line has yielded nine sacks.
-- After struggling in recent years when entering the red zone, MU is improving this season. On 13 trips to the zone, the RedHawks cashed in for 10 touchdowns.