Miami’s win and Kent State’s 64-31 loss to Western Michigan allowed the RedHawks to move into a tie for first place in the MAC East with the Golden Flashes. Both teams are 3-4 overall and 2-1 in the MAC. Kent State plays Ohio (1-6, 1-2) on Saturday.
The win over Akron might have been one of Miami’s most complete performances.
“We had a lot of contributors,” Martin said. “In the postgame locker room, I really couldn’t think of who to highlight. All-around, it was a very good victory.”
Sixth-year senior cornerback Cedric Boswell led Miami with eight tackles, seven of them unassisted, and forced a fumble late in the first half. Fourth-year sophomore quarterback A.J. Mayer turned in a solid performance, completing 19 of 27 passes for 229 yards and three touchdowns and leading Miami to a 34-7 lead going into the fourth quarter.
Many fans might suspect Mayer’s performance might be a problem for Martin, who is anticipating the return from injury of third-year sophomore quarterback Brett Gabbert, the 2019 MAC Freshman of the Year. Gabbert hoped to play against Akron or at least suit up and be the backup, but he instead watched from the sideline. He has missed the last 10 quarters, but he’ll start when he’s available, Martin said.
“We’ll see,” Martin said when asked if Gabbert might be ready Saturday. “Brett’s still the starter. He’s never done anything to not be the starter. He keeps preparing. He wanted to dress. He wanted to play, but he wasn’t physically ready.”
Mayer has completed 68 of 125 passes for 946 yards and six touchdowns and two interceptions. He has played in all seven games. In four appearances, Gabbert has completed 47 of 90 passes for 736 yards and seven touchdowns with two interceptions.
Martin was almost visibly savoring the luxury of having two accomplished quarterbacks at his disposal. It hasn’t always been that way during his time in Oxford.
“Before 2019, if we had to use our backup quarterback, we wouldn’t have much of a chance to win,” he recalled. “Mayer can make all the throws. He’s been coming for a long time. He’s getting a lot of experience this year. He’s still young. We have two really good quarterbacks. All the things you can’t coach, they have,”
Miami at Ball State, 3:30 p.m., ESPN+, 980, 1450