OXFORD -- A Mid-American Conference team beating a Power Five team is one thing.
A MAC team coming from behind in the fourth quarter to edge a Big Ten team on the road is entirely something else.
Two days after Miami put together a fourth-quarter comeback to stun Northwestern, 17-14, on the Wildcats’ home field at Evanston, Ill., the RedHawks were hurting physically but savoring the accomplishment.
Miami finished the game with 10 unanswered points to log a second non-conference regular-season win for the first time since 2005. The RedHawks beat a Big Ten team for the first time since 2003 – Ben Roethlisberger’s final season as their quarterback.
“We knew it was going to be a tough game,” 6-foot-6, 298-pound sophomore right offensive tackle Reid Holskey said Monday. “We knew we’d have to finish strong. We wanted to win it for the seniors, but we’re all feeling good.”
Despite passing for just 62 yards and being outgained by 86 yards, Miami still was able to put together enough offense when it counted to pull off its first win over a Big Ten team since 2003.
“Obviously, you’re ecstatic about any win, but it’s awesome to beat a Big Ten team on the road,” ninth-year RedHawks coach Chuck Martin said about his first career win over a Power Five team. “It’s a step forward. Defensively, we made fewer mistakes than we did in the first three weeks. We were able to run the ball effectively the whole night, and we were able to stop the run, so we won the battle of the run.
“We didn’t turn the ball over, and we forced two turnovers. We almost had six turnovers. We had multiple chances to get our hands on the ball. We won the special teams. We did everything we said we had to do. We did everything we needed to do to win on the road.
“Obviously, the finish was spectacular,” he added. “From the time it was 14-7, we did everything right. We beat a Big Ten team on the road for the first time since we had a Hall of Fame quarterback.
“It was a pretty awesome day in Evanston.”
The win didn’t come without a toll.
“Northwestern is a typical Big Ten team,” Holskey said. “They’re physical. It was a good battle in the trenches.”
“It was physical, physical, physical,” Martin said. “After one play, the chain guy standing next to me said, ‘Wow.’”
Martin hadn’t been able to get a solid handle on the damage except for seventh-year senior middle linebacker Ryan McWood breaking his hand. McWood had a cast applied and went back into the game, finishing with a team-high 11 tackles – 10 solo.
“That’s how you win games,” Martin said. “We’ll see what happens this week. They were hurting yesterday. A lot of the guys had a hard time lifting weights and even standing straight up. We’re beat up right now.”
The RedHawks will take a 2-2 record into their MAC season, starting with another road trip to Buffalo to face a 1-3 Bulls team that already is 1-0 in the conference after their 50-31 romp over Eastern Michigan. Kickoff is scheduled for 3:30 p.m.
Miami was picked to win the East Division championship in the pre-season MAC coaches’ poll and to finish second behind Kent State in the MAC media poll.
The RedHawks aren’t scheduled to play at home until Oct. 8 against Kent State. Technically, they are 1-1 at home after beating Football Championship Subdivision Robert Morris, 31-14, on Sept. 10 and losing, 38-17, to Cincinnati on Sept. 17 in a “home” game at the Cincinnati Bengals’ Paycor Stadium.
“We’ll have played five games and been home one time,” Martin pointed out. “That’s a lot of wear-and-tear on the kids. Obviously, that’s what you sign up for.
“We like adversity. We’ll be happy to have a second home game in the sixth week. Some guy said to me, ‘How do you like being at Yager?’ I said, ‘It’s awesome to be at Yager. We’re never here.’”
Miami at Buffalo, 3:30 p.m., ESPN+, 980, 1450