The Miami University football team (0-7) has its work cut out for it this week. The Battle of the Bricks has always been one of the most storied rivalries in the Mid-American Conference (MAC), and the contest against Ohio University is a gritty one that throws records right out the window upon entry.
Take last years game, when a struggling RedHawk squad upset a Top 25 Bobcats team that had yet to lose a game. Needless to say, Ohio will be pumped up to take on a Miami program that has yet to win a game, a streak that includes a loss at the University of Massachusetts (1-6) and Akron (2-6), who hadn’t beat Miami in Oxford since 1937.
In fact, Miami’s 11-game losing streak can be traced all the way back to last October, when its last win was a 23-20 upending of the Bobcats. Almost exactly a year later, the two have a chance to duke it out again. And there is no love lost between these two teams. Even the younger players, who have yet to see much of this storied rivalry that enters its 90th year this season, know through instruction of veterans like redshirt senior captain and defensive tackle Austin Brown that it’s going to be intense.
“We’ve introduced the [younger] guys even through film like, ‘listen, these guys don’t like us and we really don’t like them,'” Brown said. “It’s a big rivalry! And that’s how rivalries should be. We’re Miami … and we’re just going to try to keep moving forward.”
Fellow captain and redshirt senior tight end Steve Marck said he looks upon the matchup fondly. Last year’s upset was a significant win for the RedHawks, and Marck said he hopes they can do it again this weekend. Marck has been a consistent threat on underneath routes all year for Miami, and currently ranks third among Miami receivers with 121 yards and two touchdowns on 11 catches.
“It’s always a great game and we look forward to it every year,” Marck said. “Last year we were fortunate enough to beat them when they were ranked, and that’s still one of my favorite memories as a Miami football player. There was a lot of juice at practice this week, so we’re ready to go Saturday and we’re looking forward to the opportunity.”
Interim head coach Mike Bath might not have been at the helm for this rivalry game in years past, but he knows what’s at stake in this bragging rights contest. His new style of RedHawk football, which he refers to as an “attack mentality,” will be put to the test against this potent 5-2 Bobcat attack. Redshirt senior quarterback Tyler Tettleton has accumulated 1,348 yards through the air so far this year while throwing 10 touchdowns. He threw a career-high four TDs last week against Eastern Michigan University.
“The team understands what the Ohio University game is about,” Bath said. “It’s a longstanding rivalry, but the thing is I haven’t put a huge amount of overemphasis on it, because this is about us. This team has to improve every single day. We’re going to know who they [Ohio] are. We’re going to know their tendencies, their personnel. But the biggest thing is we are going to focus on improving ourselves.”
The game is scheduled for a 2 p.m. start in Athens, Ohio. The Halloween season has long been known as a crazy time on Ohio University’s campus, and if the Bobcats aren’t careful, Miami may be doing a little more tricking than treating Saturday afternoon.