The best team in the MAC for much of the last two seasons finally has the hardware to go with their record.
Using the same formula that has carried them to success this year, Miami (OH) notched a 26-21 win over Central Michigan in the MAC Championship Game to cap off a wild and strange 2019 in the midwestern league in an appropriate manner.
This being the MAC, you would think that would be behind an offense piling up points and yards a plenty. That’s not the RedHawks way however as the program fueled by their defense and special teams came up big again in those areas. That included a game-opening 97 yard kick return to the doorstep, stuffing a fake punt later on and some clutch kicks off the leg of Sam Sloman.
After a lackluster first half offensively, Miami did get things going after the break. Freshman QB Brett Gabbert wound up throwing for 196 yards and a touchdown while tailback Jaylon Bester managed 66 yards and a score rushing. Wideout Jack Sorenson was the real threat with the ball in his hands though as he notched 123 yards and the lone touchdown that came via the pass.
The result denied the Chippewas a chance for a storybook ending to their remarkable turnaround story under new head coach Jim McElwain. They still managed to win the MAC West just a year after notching only one victory but coming up just shy of winning the league has to still sting. Tennessee/Houston transfer Quinten Dormady threw for 232 yards, a TD and a pick in the losing effort while Tommy Lazzaro was a threat with his legs in rushing for two scores.
CMU had the better offense overall, but outside of two sustained drives and a final rally that came within a Hail Mary of happening, it just wasn’t enough in the end.
The victory instead gives the RedHawks their first conference title since 2010 and eight wins since that season as well. Chuck Martin has done a masterful job guiding this group in conference play recently and now can celebrate finally reaching the mountain top and making #MACtion all Miami’s.