For the first time since 2012, the Miami (Ohio) RedHawks will travel up to Columbus to face the Ohio State Buckeyes. Miami has faced Ohio State five times but has never come out on the winning side of the ledger. The closest Miami has ever come to defeating the Buckeyes? Oct. 7, 1911, when Ohio State defeated the then-Miami Redskins 3-0 in Columbus, Ohio.
At 1-2, the RedHawks realize the challenge Ohio State represents. Miami began the season on the road with a loss at Iowa (38-14), followed with a home win over FCS opponent Tennessee Tech (48-17), and then lost at rival Cincinnati (35-13). Miami head coach Chuck Martin summarized the talent differential between the two teams.
Ohio State is on a roll, sitting at 3-0. The Buckeyes opened with an impressive win over Florida Atlantic (45-21) and were truly dominant in wins over Cincinnati (42-0) and at Indiana (51-10). While most college football prognosticators expected Ohio State to be undefeated at this stage of the season, it is the margins of victory that have made analysts around the country take notice. Specifically, the Ohio State defense has clamped down on its opponents, giving up an average of 10 points per game. Ohio State also has been stifling against the run.
While Ohio State is a heavy favorite, first-year head coach Ryan Day is making extra effort to convey the importance of this game to his staff and players. Miami represents the last non-conference opponent Ohio State will face before a challenging slate of Big Ten game, and the Buckeyes cannot afford any letdowns.
Miami (Ohio) at Ohio State
Kickoff: Saturday, Sept. 21 at 3:30 p.m. ET
TV: Big Ten Network
Spread: Ohio State -39.5
When Miami (Ohio) Has the Ball
Led by true freshman quarterback Brett Gabbert, the RedHawks have experienced their share of growing pains with a talented, promising but inexperienced signal-caller. Gabbert has completed nearly 60 percent of his passes, with 37 completions on 62 attempts for 481 yards, two touchdowns, and an interception. Facing an impressive Ohio State defensive line, led by junior defensive end Chase Young (three sacks so far in 2019), Gabbert will have to get rid of the ball quickly.
Miami's Tyre Shelton is the leading rusher for the RedHawks, but he could be in for a difficult afternoon. Shelton has rushed for 108 yards on 24 carries this season, with one touchdown. The Ohio State defense has made a point of making opposing offenses one-dimensional, raising the challenge for Gabbert to be efficient passing the ball.
When Ohio State Has the Ball
Sophomore quarterback Justin Fields has been everything the Ohio State coaching staff was hoping for through the first three games of the 2019 season. Fields has completed 70 percent of his passes, thrown zero interceptions and passed for nine touchdowns. It has been very reassuring to Day to see his new quarterback take command of the Ohio State offense.
Junior running back J.K. Dobbins has started the 2019 season with spectacular performances, rushing for 425 yards on 60 carries, an average of 7.1 yards per carry. Dobbins also has scored four touchdowns on the ground. He'll be spelled by teammates Master Teague, Marcus Crowley, and Steele Chambers if the Buckeyes get out to a comfortable lead.
While some may look at Martin's comments as defeatist, the reality is that the Buckeyes have many backup players who would be starters for the RedHawks. Day knows that the Buckeyes have a lot of football left to play this season, and it would not be surprising to see the Buckeyes begin substituting liberally when the second half begins, if Ohio State has a substantial lead, as expected.