Ohio State football finishes the nonconference slate for 2019 with a visit from Miami University on Saturday.
The Buckeyes’ first 3:30 p.m. game of the year will be a renewal of an old-but-rarely-played in-state rivalry.
Here are six things to know about the matchup and the series:
1. The rebuilding RedHawks are 1-2 on the season.
Coach Chuck Martin is 23-41 after inheriting a major reconstruction project from Don Treadwell in 2014.
The RedHawks were 5-19 in his first two seasons and started 2016 at 0-6 before running off six consecutive wins to qualify for a bowl.
They entered each of the last two seasons with expectations of breaking through to the top of the MAC but could not overcome slow starts to the season and some untimely injuries.
2. Ohio State is part of a daunting September schedule for the Red and White.
Miami opened the season with a 38-14 loss at Iowa before beating Tennessee Tech 48-17 in week two.
They started fast before fading last week at Cincinnati, where the Bearcats won the oldest Division I rivalry game west of the Alleghenies 35-13.
“We’re about as tough-minded an outfit as there is,” Martin said of the schedule in July. “We‘ve been left for dead more than once in my time at Miami, and we typically keep playing very good and get better as the year goes on and somehow persevere. Unfortunately we’ve got a lot of practice at it.”
After wrapping up nonconference play with the Buckeyes, Miami takes on three teams expected to finishing the top three of their respective MAC division — Buffalo, Western Michigan and Northern Illinois.
3. The RedHawks have a freshman quarterback.
Brett Gabbert, the younger brother of former Missouri quarterback Blaine Gabbert, has taken the reins of the RedHawks offense and is enduring a trial by fire.
The three-star recruit from Saint Louis has completed 37 of 62 passes for 481 yards with two touchdowns and an interception.
Martin knew in the summer he would have a young quarterback at the controls and hoped to see him survive the grueling early schedule to lead the team in conference play.
4. Multiple Cox Media Group Ohio coverage area players are contributing for the RedHawks.
Maurice Thomas, Jarrett LaRubbio and Dean Lemon are starters for Miami.
Thomas, a senior from Oxford who starred at Talawanda, leads the team in all-purpose yards (232).
LaRubbio, a senior from Lakota East, is a starter on the offensive line while Lemon, a senior from Alter, is a starter on the defensive line with 2.5 tackles for loss, including a sack.
Max Wynn, a freshman linebacker from Centerville, has recorded seven tackles in two games while sophomore cornerback Ja’Don Rucker-Furlow has not suited up in a game yet this season.
5. Ohio State leads the all-time series 5-0.
The Buckeyes and RedHawks (formerly known as the Redskins) first met in 1904. Ohio State won that game 80-0, and Miami has yet to score 80 points all-time in the series.
After a 3-0 Ohio State win in 1911, the schools did not play again until 2000.
The RedHawks gave the Buckeyes a scare that afternoon but a committed some costly errors to allow Ohio State to pull away late for a 27-16 victory.
Five years later, the Buckeyes won more comfortably (34-14) in a warmup to the much-anticipated visit from Texas, and in 2012 Miami served as the first opponent of the Urban Meyer era. The Buckeyes won that one 56-10.
Ohio State last faced a team from the MAC in 2016 when the Buckeyes beat Bowling Green 77-10. The Buckeyes are 184-48-10 all-time against teams from Ohio and last lost to one when Oberlin prevailed 7-6 in 1921.
Their only loss to a current MAC member came in 1894 when John Heisman coached Akron (then Buchtel College) to a 12-6 win over the Buckeyes.
6. Several Ohio State coaches are part of Miami’s “Cradle of Coaches” tradition.
The most famous is, of course, Woody Hayes. The Clifton native was the coach in Oxford before leading the Buckeyes for 28 seasons and winning five national championships.
Others with connections to both Ohio State and Miami include Paul Brown, Sid Gillman, Bill Mallory, Ron Zook, Bo Schembechler, Springfield North grad Randy Ayers, Thad Matta, Jim Tressel and current offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson.
(This is not a comprehensive list.)
Troy native Randy Walker and Dayton native Ron Hunter are also members of the Cradle of Coaches Association, a group established in 1971 to recognize the role Miami coaches have contributed to the sports world.
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