With another Battle of the Bricks in the books, we learned a lot of things about the Ohio Bobcats and the Miami RedHawks in an ugly 17-7 defensive struggle. Here are the five big things to consider about these teams heading forward into MAC play.
1. These are programs that are in two completely different places. This is a rivalry that’s been mostly dominated by Frank Solich and the Bobcats, while the RedHawks are in year four of the Chuck Martin experience and have no idea who their quarterback of the future is between Billy Bahl, Noah Wezensky, and Gus Ragland. Ohio has been patient with Solich when he wasn’t winning division titles, so we’ll see how patient Miami will be with Martin and a complete overhaul of the program.
2. OU took advantage of Miami’s mistakes. You can’t lose the turnover battle and expect to win football games. The ‘Hawks turned it over four times Saturday and the ‘Cats converted two of those into 10 points, which ended up being the difference in the game. Ohio is a team that’s not going to beat itself, and you’ll have to play sound football in order to have a chance.
3. The defenses played good enough to win. Ohio’s D had the aforementioned four turnovers (two interceptions and two fumble recoveries) while Miami held the Bobcat offense to 56 passing yards and 2.9 yards per rush. Both defenses locked down the opposition’s best receiver with Sebastian Smith recording only one catch for 12 yards and James Gardner was held without a touchdown for the first time this season.
4. There wasn’t a talent disparity between the two teams. Miami had more yards (238) on fewer plays (66) and played good enough to win if it weren’t for those giveaways on offense. The good news is that these are correctable mistakes and you’ll see this team get better and better as the season goes on.
5. Now is not the time to jump on the “Fire Chuck” bandwagon. Martin has done a great job laying a foundation for this program, and it’s hard to win in college football when you have hardly any seniors on your roster. However, this team needs to turn the corner sooner rather than later, or else all this time building a program practically from scratch will be wasted.