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RedHawks cruise past Falcons to bowl eligibility

OXFORD — The Miami RedHawks used an explosive offense and a stifling defense to cruise past the Bowling Green Falcons at Yager Stadium on Wednesday night. The 44-3 victory earned Miami bowl eligibility and allows the RedHawks to keep firm control of the Mid-American Conference East Division.

The RedHawks also paid homage to the Myaamia tribe, the Native American tribe for which the southwest region in Ohio and the university’s name is derived from. There has been an increasing effort to combine the history and traditions of the Native American into the academic curriculum and athletics at Miami University. The football team wore these uniforms against Bowling Green last night.

The scoring started off quickly for the RedHawks, who took the early lead through their defense. On the very first drive for Bowling Green, the Falcons attempted to make a bold statement, going for it on a 4th and 9. However, the gamble backfired horribly, as Miami’s Mike Brown stepped in front of the intended receiver and intercepted Falcon quarterback Grant Loy’s pass. With open field in front of him, Brown continued on the play, scoring a 79-yard pick six to give Miami a 7-0 lead.

After a Sam Sloman field goal made it 10-0, Bowling Green would get on the board through a Nate Needham field goal to make it 10-3 after the first quarter.

However, that was the end of scoring for the Falcons and just the beginning for the RedHawks.

An offensive barrage in the second quarter would allow the RedHawks to put away the Falcons before halftime. Brett Gabbert would connect with Andrew Homer for a 35-yard touchdown pass to begin the scoring. Next, Jaylon Bester would punch it in from one yard out. The combined scores made it 24-3.

The RedHawks weren’t finished. Gabbert would hit Jalen Walker for a 60-yard passing touchdown, before just a minute later Bester broke out a 59-yard touchdown run. The scoreline would be pushed to 37-3, but the damage was all but done.

The second half found considerably less scoring, but the RedHawks defense gobbled up Bowling Green and denied them any points. Miami did add a touchdown in the third quarter, Gabbert and Quentin Hardy combining for a 5-yard touchdown to give the RedHawks the 44-3 win over the rival Falcons.

The victory was important for a variety of reasons. The first is that it shows Miami was not in for a let down game. After an emotional and pivotal victory in Athens last week, the RedHawks defeated Ohio for the Battle of the Bricks and took control of the East Division. They proved that there was no let down against struggling Bowling Green. In the past, the RedHawks and Falcons have had an array of wild contests, but Miami was all business to finish this one off.

Second, Miami is now bowl eligible, reaching their sixth win on the season. This should give the RedHawks confidence moving forward to add more wins to give themselves a better bowl bid. Of course, a bowl bid will be certain if they can win the MAC. Speaking of which…

The RedHawks are in firm control of reaching Detroit. Their win over Bowling Green almost completely solidified Miami a place in the Motor City for the MAC Championship, because Ohio lost at home to Western Michigan on Tuesday night.

Miami now has a 5-1 record in the conference and leads the East Division. Buffalo is in second place with a 3-2 record and Ohio and Kent State are in third with three conference losses.

The most important business is already done for Miami; they have the head to head over all three of the teams chasing them (Buffalo 34-20, at Kent State 23-16, at Ohio 24-21). This means that a victory next week at home against winless Akron would cement Miami’s place in Detroit because at worst Miami would be 6-2 and regardless of what the other three do, they can do not better than 6-2. If this scenario happened, Miami would at worse be tied with everyone, but have the head-to-head tiebreaker.

Now, RedHawk fans may take important note of the Buffalo at Kent State game tonight. Should the Golden Flashes defeat the Bulls, all three of Miami’s chasers will have three losses, meaning the RedHawks will clinch the East without needing to do work tonight. Here are the Mid-American Conference standings:

So if Kent State wins tonight, both the Flashes and the Bulls will have three losses, along with Ohio. This would mean that at best one of those three could only tie Miami, but the RedHawks own the tiebreaker on all three. Therefore a Kent State victory gives Miami the East Division.

It should be an interesting contest…Buffalo needs the win to stay in contention for reaching Detroit (remember they blew a late lead to Northern Illinois in the championship last season). Meanwhile, Kent State understands their fate for the MAC Championship is eliminated, but they still have a slim hope for a bowl game. However, the Flashes must win their last three games of the season to reach that mark. This game will certainly have all the elements of MACtion. This game is on CBS Sports Network at 7pm.

As stated before, Miami has improved to 6-4 and 5-1 in the conference. Depending on the result tonight, Miami could clinch the East Division and make the trip to Detroit for the first time since 2010. The RedHawks won the championship that year over Northern Illinois 26-21. Should the result not go their way tonight, the RedHawks can still clinch next week at home against Akron.

Continue to follow Chatterbox Sports for reports on the RedHawks all season long!

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