MACtion has returned. The annual MAC midweek tradition features two in-state rivals who are both still in the hunt for a division title as the RedHawks and Bobcats square off on Wednesday night in Athens.
Miami-Ohio (4-4) has struggled to move the ball this year. Freshman QB Brett Gabbert, the brother of former NFL QB Blaine Gabbert, leads a RedHawks offense that averages just 172.4 passing yards per game this season, second-fewest in the MAC. Those numbers are a bit skewed because of Miami’s tough schedule. The RedHawks challenged themselves with road games at Iowa, Cincinnati and Ohio State. Miami has the 79th toughest schedule in the nation.
Ohio (4-4) also played a tough schedule with road games at Pittsburgh and Marshall. The Bobcats will go as far as Nathan Rourke will take them. The senior quarterback has 1,743 yards passing and 536 yards rushing with 18 combined touchdowns this season. Ohio has won three of their last four games after starting the season 1-3.
Both teams are tied atop the MAC East standings with identical 3-1 conference record. The winner on Wednesday will take a huge step towards earning a berth in the MAC Championship Game.
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Game Details: Miami (Ohio) at Ohio
*All odds are courtesy of FanDuel Sportsbook
- Miami (Ohio) is 4-4 ATS this season
- Ohio is 2-6 ATS this season
- Over is 5-3 in Miami (Ohio) games this season
- Under is 4-4 in Ohio games this season
- Miami (Ohio) is 6-1 in last 7 conference games
- Ohio is 1-4 ATS in their last 5 conference games
- Ohio is 0-4 ATS in their last 4 home games
- Under is 8-2 in the last 10 meetings
*All trends are courtesy of Covers
Prediction & Picks
The RedHawks haven’t won in Athens since 2005. That’s the biggest thing that jumped out at me when trying to handicap this matchup. Nathan Rourke is the only player in MAC history to rank in the top 10 for both passing and rushing. Combined he is averaging 284.9 yards per game and is coming off a season-high 127 rushing yards with two scores in a 34-21 win over Ball State last week. It’s hard to see Miami coming into Peden Stadium and pulling out a victory. Take Ohio.
PICK: Miami (Ohio) +7 (-110)
Miami won this game last year in Oxford by a final score of 30-28. It was a perfectly played game defensively for the RedHawks, who held Rourke to just 179 total yards and 16 rushing yards in the game. Despite that stellar defensive performance, the number still went over what 54.5, which is what this year’s total is set at. I think Rourke gets his revenge on Wednesday night, and Ohio might eclipse the 40-point mark on their own.
PICK: Over 54.5 (-110)
This is the type of game Frank Solich and his team always seem to be prepared for. He is one of the all-time great coaches in college football history and I trust him to have the Bobcats ready to roll with the MAC East title hanging in the balance.
PICK: Ohio -4 1st Half (-105)
Follow Jared Smith on Twitter: @jaredleesmith