Losing 76-5 at Ohio State on Saturday was ugly for the Miami RedHawks.
The aftermath might be even uglier.
More than half of Miami’s starters did not participate in a Sunday night walk-through after being injured on some level against the Buckeyes on Saturday, coach Chuck Martin said on Monday morning during his weekly media session.
Miami went into the game missing three starting offensive linemen, and freshman quarterback Brett Gabbert was sidelined after being injured during a scramble late in the second quarter. He still was listed as the starter for the RedHawks’ Mid-American Conference opener against Buffalo on Saturday at noon at Yager Stadium in Oxford, but that might be premature.
“It’s too soon to tell,” Martin said.
Miami slipped to 1-3 overall and 0-3 against Football Bowl Subdivision teams with its second-worst loss to the Buckeyes, who moved up a notch from sixth to fifth in the Associated Press Top 25 poll. The RedHawks worst loss to Ohio State was by 80-0 on Oct. 1, 1904, in Columbus.
That’s not even the worst loss in program history. Wittenberg whipped Miami, 104-0, on Nov. 26, 1891.
Saturday’s outcome has generated the wrong kind of buzz around campus and on social media, which the RedHawks were trying to ignore.
“We’re moving on,” fifth-year senior long snapper Evan Crabtree said. “We’re not down. We’re ready to win a football game. We’ll do what we always try to do – make it a one-week season.
“You can go searching anywhere and find something negative,” he added. “You can go searching and find good stuff. When you lose, you see the negatives. You’ve just got to block it out.”
“Outside of getting ready to play Buffalo, our biggest challenge is getting the kids to feel good about themselves and get them to gain confidence from the game,” Martin said. “There were a lot of long faces after Saturday’s game, and I don’t have a problem with that.”
Saturday’s game wrapped up a brutal non-conference schedule that included games at now-No. 14 Iowa, Cincinnati and Ohio State that Miami lost by a combined 149-32.
“We’re pretty used to this scenario,” Martin said of the RedHawks’ usually grueling non-conference slate, which during his six-year tenure alone has included games at Minnesota, Notre Dame, Wisconsin and Michigan. They involve intricate game-planning, such as practicing for blitz-like pressure on the quarterback from just four defensive linemen. That’s not “real football,” Martin said.
“Somebody asked me what playing Ohio State does for the development of Brett Gabbert,” he said. “I said, ‘Nothing.’”
Somebody asked Martin if playing such games is worth the carnage.
“That’s not a question for me,” he replied.
Next season’s non-conference schedule seems to be a bit more reasonable – or, at least, a bit less imposing. Miami opens at Pittsburgh before playing consecutive home games against Arkansas-Pine Bluff, Cincinnati and Army, with a MAC game most likely wedged in on the Saturday between the Bearcats and Army.
Martin opened his media session with the reminder that Miami led Ohio State, 5-0, and trailed by just 7-5 after one quarter.
“Obviously, it wasn’t the result we were looking for,” he said. “We played our starters for the first two quarters. I couldn’t be more proud of the first quarter. We played as well as we can play. We went in down both of our tackles and a guard. You say, ‘Well, we’d like to do this and this and this, but do we have the time?’ We had first-and-goal at the (3-yard line). It went better than if you had scripted it. You look at the scoreboard at the end of the first quarter, and we have more than a hundred yards of total offense and they have 80. Even on their first touchdown drive, I thought we played good defense. We were flying around.
“We were crazy excited about the first quarter. We got a ton of really good footage from the first quarter.”
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