Much like last week’s opponent Western Kentucky, the history between Kentucky and Miami, Ohio is limited. The series with the Redhawks dates back to 1894, but the two teams have faced off just four times in the modern era. And after this one, there is no indication that the two teams will play each other again in the near future, as Miami already booked Eastern Kentucky and Western Kentucky through 2016.
Miami is known as the “Cradle of Coaches” — a nickname given to the football program known for producing star coaches, including Paul Brown, Woody Hayes, Bo Schembechler, Ara Parseghian, Jim Tressel, Ron Zook, John Harbaugh, and Sean Payton, among many others.
However, the outlook for current head coach of Miami doesn’t look quite as promising, led by third-year head man Don Treadwell. He comes into 2013 after back-to-back 4-8 seasons; this year doesn’t favor the Hawks in a relatively good Mid-American Conference either, headlined by Ohio, Bowling Green, Kent State, and Buffalo.
Kentucky and Miami last played in 2009 at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati. It was week one of that ’09 campaign which saw the Wildcats coming off a 7-6 season and a third-straight bowl victory, this time over East Carolina in the Liberty Bowl. Expectations for head coach Rich Brooks, then in his seventh season in Lexington were undoubtedly high. The results of that first game did not disappoint. Mike Hartline threw two touchdowns and three other Cats rushed in for scores. It was hardly a game.
The first 15 minutes of the ballgame ticked by without a peep from the scoreboard operator, but Hartline opened the flood gates within the first four minutes of the 2nd quarter thanks to a 42-yard interception return by UK safety Calvin Harrison off an errant pass by Miami quarterback Daniel Raudabaugh in the red zone. That set up a four-play drive capped by a 27-yard pass from Hartline to Randall Cobb down the left sideline. A quick three-and-out forced by the Kentucky defense allowed Derrick Locke to score later in the 2nd quarter from 16-yards to put the Cats ahead by two scores. To end the half, Chris Matthews caught a 21-yard pass from Hartline in the final two minutes — the first touchdown catch of his career — to give UK a cozy 21-0 edge over the Redhawks heading into the locker room.
The 3rd quarter was much of the same; Randall Cobb scampered in for a touchdown from 11-yards out, and Trevard Lindley got involved in the scoring too, returning an interception 25-yards for a touchdown to put the Cats up 35-0 heading into the final quarter of play. Moncell Allen got involved near the start of the 4th quarter, finding the end zone from 9-yards out, putting the Cats too far on top for the Hawks to even feel motivated.
The second stringers came in shortly after, and the Cats took home an easy 42-0 victory to open the 2009 season. Kentucky finished with 488 yards of offense and converted 11-of-18 third-downs. Trevard Lindley was named the SEC Defensive Player of the Week for his interception, touchdown, and three pass breakups.
The first meeting between Kentucky and Miami goes all the way back to 1894 when UK knocked off MU 28-6 in Lexington. Kentucky would win again in 1899, 1902, 1903, and 1911 before Miami would get its first victory in the 12-game series. In 1912 Miami won its first game over Kentucky 13-8, and it would be another 79 years until Kentucky beat Miami again.
After a tie in the early 1900’s and two losses in the 1970’s, the Wildcats were victorious over the Redhawks again in 1991, a 23-20 victory to give Bill Curry his first win in the ’91 season. The two teams would not play again until 2009.
Randall Cobb (UK, 2009) — Cobb’s sophomore season was the breakout year where Big Blue Nation and the rest of the college football world learned about the “Legend of Cobb.” It was this first game of the 2009 season that Cobb began his run — not as a quarterback — but as a wide receiver and Mr. Do-It-All. He caught seven passes for 96 yards against Miami, and scored a pair of touchdowns, one coming from a scramble out of the Wildcat formation.
Mike Hartline (UK, 2009) — With much of the details of Kentucky and Miami’s history missing from the record books (thanks to the series dating back so far), Mike Hartline’s game against the Redhawks in 2009 seems a strong choice for top performances. His 18-for-27 day with 222 yards passing and two touchdowns capped off a powerful showing of the Cats’ offense. Nine different receivers caught passes against the Hawks, and Hartline’s 8.2 yards-per-attempt helped him earn an outstanding 79.6 QBR.
Rob Carpenter (Miami, 1974) — The box score from this game cannot be found in any online archives, so it is tough to say just how well Carpenter performed in his game against Kentucky. However, we know Miami won the game 14-10 en route to a 10-0-1 record, and a Tangerine Bowl (Capital One Bowl) victory over Georgia. Carpenter wasn’t the lead back for the Redhawks his sophomore season, but he did finish the year with 781 yards from scrimmage and 13 touchdowns, and it cemented his position as the lead back as a junior and senior. He would go on to have a 10-year NFL career with the Houston Oilers, New York Giants, and Los Angeles Rams.
BIGGEST MOMENT FOR UK
Miami University was the fifth team outside the state of Kentucky that the UK football program ever played in just its fourth year of existence, following the revival in 1891. Because the records of those early games have turned to dust in the online archives, by default a more recent contest must be chosen.
Perhaps the most prominent storyline from an otherwise snoozer of a ballgame was Chris Matthews’ first career touchdown catch in 2009. With less than five minutes remaining in the 1st half of the game and already up 14-0, Mike Hartline connected with Matthews on a 22-yarder for a first down just outside of Miami’s red zone. The very next play Hartline went to Matthews again, this time for 21-yards and a score to give UK a three-touchdown edge.
Matthews would finish his two-year career at Kentucky with 93 receptions and 1,279 yards with 12 touchdowns.
The Wildcats are favored by 17 points in this one, an especially high mark considering the recent results against Western Kentucky. But Miami is coming off an equally humiliating defeat at the hands of Marshall, who rattled off 38 unanswered points in the 2nd half of their week one game. It is a safe bet that the Redhawks will be glad the series with UK does not continue beyond 2013, so long as everything goes according to plan.
Eastern Kentucky, Michigan, and Cincinnati, along with Marshall will fill in the Hawks out-of-conference slate in 2014, and Western Kentucky will play a home-and-home in 2015 and 2016. And for Kentucky, another MAC team replaces Miami for 2014, the Ohio Bobcats. Outside of Louisville, UK’s 2015 and 2016 out-of-conference schedules are empty, so another MAC team could very likely find its way onto the calendar in the future.