Across the (By)Line: Miami Ohio RedHawks


Miami RedHawks quarterback Brett Gabbert scored 26 touchdowns last season and will be at the helm of the Miami offense again this season. Photo by Jessica Monahan | The Miami Student

Cole Parke, Sports Editor

The “Across the (By)Line” series will give Kentucky football fans an in-depth look at their opponent for this week — from the mind of the opposing school’s sports editor.

This week: The Miami Student, Jack Schmelzinger, Miami Ohio

What are the expectations for Miami this season after a bowl-winning 2021? Do you see any upset potential?

Schmelzinger: For Miami fans, this game is all about Brett Gabbert. Blaine’s brother’s name has been hot in national circles this year and for good reason. It’ll be extremely interesting to see what Gabbert can make happen against an SEC defense; last year, he was a step above the Mid-American Conference. This is a prove-it game for Gabbert, especially considering he has another year of eligibility after this one (transfer portal anyone?) and likely NFL aspirations. As for upset potential? All I can say is Wildcat fans can sleep soundly on Friday night.

Which side of the ball is going to have the stronger performance, offense or defense?

Schmelzinger: Miami head coach Chuck Martin was pretty blunt last week in assessing where his team stands.

“Early on our offense will have to carry us,” he said. “We’ll have some growing pains on defense.”

Miami returns nine starters on offense this season (most importantly Gabbert), but is a lot more inexperienced on defense. Last year the RedHawks had 38 sacks on the season, but 22 of them transferred to bigger schools this offseason. It’s still not certain whether Miami will find its groove on D this year, but it seems like pretty safe money to say it won’t happen this week in SEC country. That said, this offense should be fun to watch.

Give me a rundown of what I can expect from Brett Gabbert.

Schmelzinger: For most of the conference schedule last season Brett Gabbert played absolutely out of his mind. First, he tossed a near-perfect game against Ball State (20-24, 207 yards, two touchdowns), before an incredibly gutsy performance against Ohio the next week, where he threw for 492 yards and five touchdowns while trying to claw the RedHawks back from a 28-0 third quarter deficit. They [ultimately] missed a last minute two-point conversion attempt that would’ve tied the game, but Gabbert’s performance was still an instant classic. He finished the season strong after that with four touchdowns in a drubbing of Buffalo and four more in the last game of the year against Kent State. Gabbert is extremely mobile and slippery. He doesn’t have Josh Allen’s size, but he has that type of escapability. When the ball leaves his hand sometimes it doesn;t even look real because he’s smaller but has such a cannon. I hope we get to see a few deep bombs from him.

What is it about Miami that Kentucky is going to have the hardest time with this weekend?

Schmelzinger: To be honest, I doubt Kentucky will have a hard time with much this weekend. If there’s one thing, it will be keeping Brett Gabbert in the pocket. He’s great at avoiding pressure, and he’s dangerous on the run, especially moving to his right.