Updated: Sep 7
When the Kentucky Wildcats kickoff the 2022 season on Saturday, they will do so against a Miami (OH) RedHawks team that will be overmatched on both sides of the ball. This Saturday’s game will make the 14th meeting between Kentucky and Miami. The Wildcats sport an 8-4-1 series lead, winning the last three meetings. The RedHawks are making the trip to Lexington for the first time since 2013. That trip was when Mark Stoops earned his first win at Kentucky, one of only two he achieved that season.
While this is not a cupcake game in the truest form, the Wildcats had better not let themselves be looking ahead to week 2 against the Florida Gators. This Miami team is not your usual non-conference pushover. Actually, it is my opinion that Miami (OH) is the best football program in the Mid-American Conference. The school owns the following MAC records:
All-time wins (707)
Conference wins (306)
MAC titles (16)
Bowl wins (8)
The RedHawks, formerly the Redskins until 1996, have been led by many famous coaches over the history of their program, who used Oxford as a starting point to great coaching careers. Nicknamed the “Cradle of Coaches," they have a great history and are a proud program on that feat.
Miami is coached by Chuck Martin, who is a Brian Kelly disciple. Martin has had some success at Miami, most recently going 17-13 the last three seasons. He has a 13-6 record against MAC opponents in that same time frame. However, he has not had any success against Kentucky. I do not expect that to change this Saturday.
While Kentucky can not overlook the RedHawks, Miami is simply overmatched by Kentucky athletically. One example is that the largest RedHawk starting defensive lineman is 6’2” and 290-pound defensive tackle, Austin Ertl. Kentucky’s smallest offensive lineman is starting center Eli Cox, who is 6’4” and 300 pounds. This is one of many areas where the Wildcats are physically superior to their week 1 opponent.
However, there is one area that Miami has players that could give Kentucky fits: the passing game. The RedHawk starting quarterback is Brett Gabbert, the older brother of Blaine Gabbert, who played for Missouri and is a Tampa Bay Buccaneer. The elder Gabbert was not blessed with his brother’s height, however, as Brett Gabbert only stands at 6’0”. This is not the typical height for a quarterback and our defensive linemen’s height may make passing lanes hard to find for Miami. If Gabbert does find a way to throw the ball, he has two weapons that could test Kentucky’s secondary.
I do not think that Kentucky is in any danger of losing Saturday. I also believe that they will cover the spread, which currently sits at UK -16. Look for Kentucky’s size and athleticism to overpower the RedHawks and pull away with a comfortable lead after halftime.
We're just two days away from our first win of the season.