Not winning more than two games in a row or losing in back-to-back contests, Miami (Ohio) hovered around .500 all throughout the 2022 season. It all led to the RedHawks ending the regular season at 6-6 before losing 24-20 to UAB in the Bahamas Bowl.
Now Miami is seeking to play at a higher level more consistently in 2023, which could happen with a healthy Brett Gabbert at quarterback. And if that’s accomplished, the team could end up competing for a MAC Championship.
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Miami (Ohio) Football’s MAC Title Odds
Miami’s odds to win the MAC are +800, via BetMGM.
Miami (Ohio) Football’s Over/Under Win Total
Miami’s win total Over/Under is 6.5, with Under 6.5 at +145 and Over 6.5 at -175.
Miami (Ohio) Football’s Schedule
9/1 at Miami (Florida)
9/9 at UMass
9/16 at Cincinnati
9/23 vs Delaware State
9/30 at Kent State
10/7 vs Bowling Green
10/14 at Western Michigan
10/21 vs Toledo
10/28 at Ohio
11/8 vs Akron
11/15 vs Buffalo
11/25 at Ball State
Bold indicates MAC contests.
Key Miami (Ohio) Football Returners
2022 All-MAC 2nd Team
P Dom Dzioban
LB Matthew Salopek
Brett Gabbert Returning For Miami’s Offense
Brett Gabbert was regarded as one of the best quarterbacks in the MAC going into the 2022 season. The brother of NFL quarterback Blaine Gabbert made the all-conference third team in 2021 after throwing for 2,648 yards, 26 touchdowns, and six interceptions.
Then he started just four games in 2022 and missed the rest of the season due to a non-throwing shoulder injury. The 6-foot, 215-pound redshirt junior who has started games since 2019 is ready to help lift Miami’s offense to new heights after the RedHawks ranked second to last in the MAC in scoring offense (20.2 points per game) and total offense (305.6 yards per game).
Aveon Smith did fill in admirably for Miami last season. The 6-1, 215-pound redshirt sophomore was the first player in RedHawks history to lead the team in passing (1,299 yards) and rushing (553 yards) in the same season while throwing for 11 touchdowns and five picks and running for six touchdowns. Miami also added former Colorado and Houston quarterback Maddox Kopp in the offseason.
Miami will be without Mac Hippenhammer, a second-team all-conference wide receiver in 2022. However, the team’s next two leading receivers last year, wideout Miles Marshall and tight end Jack Coldiron, are back. The RedHawks also bolstered their receiving corps in the transfer portal with Cade McDonald (Michigan State), Joe Wilkins Jr. (Notre Dame), and Gage Larvadain (Southeastern Louisiana).
The RedHawks also return running back Keyon Mozee, who was second on the team with 471 rushing yards to go with two touchdowns, and added South Carolina running back transfer Rashad Amos.
Miami, which allowed the third-most sacks (38) and totaled the fourth-fewest rushing yards (140.1 per game) in the MAC last season, lost a few key offensive linemen. That includes Rusty Feth, a center who made the all-conference second team last year.
But the RedHawks also return a few players with starting experience like Sam Vaughan, who started last season’s opener at left tackle before missing the rest of 2022 due to an injury, as well as Will Jados, Kolby Borders, and Reid Holskey. John Young, a transfer from Kentucky, also joined Miami’s offensive line.
Matthew Salopek Sets Tone For Miami’s Defense
The RedHawks’ defense is in good shape. They return 12 of their top 15 tacklers from a year ago.
And this is a unit that led the MAC in scoring defense (22.6 points per game allowed) and was third in total defense (373.1 yards per game allowed). Miami does lose players like Ryan McWood, a second-team All-MAC linebacker in his final college season, and John Saunders Jr., a standout defensive back who was on the all-conference third team before heading to Ole Miss. But the RedHawks still have plenty of talent on the defensive side of the ball.
Matthew Salopek was second on the team and fourth in the MAC last year with 124 total tackles while adding 3.5 sacks and nine tackles for loss. The redshirt junior made the all-conference third team in 2022.
Brian Ugwu, a redshirt junior defensive lineman, led Miami with nine tackles for loss and was second with five sacks to go with 43 tackles. Corey Suttle, another redshirt junior defensive lineman, was first on the team with six sacks while adding six tackles for loss and 31 total tackles.
In the secondary, defensive backs Yahsyn McKee, Eli Blakey, and Michael Dowell each tallied six pass breakups. McKee and fellow defensive back Jacquez Warren also picked off two passes each in 2022.
The RedHawks also picked up Jeremiah Caldwell, a defensive lineman from Louisville, and Jackson Kuwatch, a linebacker from Ohio State, in the transfer portal. All-MAC second-team punter Dom Dzioban, who paced the conference with 27 punts inside the 20 and 14 punts of 50-plus yards while averaging 42.4 yards per punt, should also help the RedHawks gain favorable field position.
Overall, Miami’s defense has a chance to be among the best in the MAC and Group of Five.
Miami (Ohio) Football Season Prediction
Miami won’t win the MAC but will go over its predicted win total of 6.5.
That said, it’s a narrow path for the RedHawks to get to that point. They would likely need to be at least .500 or better in their non-conference slate.
But that’s not impossible. They travel to play Miami (Florida) and Cincinnati, but they get to play at UMass and Delaware State at home, which should be a pair of victories.
The RedHawks are capable of going 3-0 in their first three conference clashes against Kent State, Bowling Green, and Western Michigan. But then they also have to face Toledo and Ohio in back-to-back matchups, and winning either of those will be challenging.
The last three games will be the most crucial stretch of the season for Miami if it’s going to reach seven wins. If the RedHawks do lose to Toledo and Ohio, they’ll want to bounce back after a bye week and defeat Akron.
From there, the RedHawks host Buffalo and play at Ball State. If Miami can even split those contests, that’s a seventh win.
This appears to be the most logical path for the RedHawks to finish the 2023 regular season with a winning record.