The Mid-American Conference (MAC) took place last Tuesday, exactly three hours before kick-off between Miami and Ball State. announced on Twitter that the winner of the game would be driving to the Bahamas Bowl that night.
To qualify for the bowl, a team must win six games in a season. At the start of Tuesday, both Miami and Ball State were 5-6.
On Tuesday, the RedHawks spectacularly bought their ticket to paradise. The RedHawks meet the University of Alabama-Birmingham (UAB) Blazers in the Bahamas Bowl on Friday, December 16 at 11:30 a.m. EST. If you are unable to make it to Nassau, Bahamas for the game, it will be broadcast on ESPN that day.
How they got there
At the start of the fourth quarter, Miami was down 17-6. This year’s Cardinals have a strong rushing offense led by sophomore Carson Steele, college football’s sixth leading rusher of 2022. Miami’s defense, however, held up strong. The offensive, on the other hand, had obviously stalled by then.
Then, after two Miami punts in the fourth quarter, it really looked like Ball State was headed for the Bahamas. But Miami’s defense held up strong. Finally, on Miami’s third drive of the last quarter, the offense got going.
After four complete passes and a pass interference penalty on that drive, Miami found themselves on Ball State’s 18-yard line. The pocket collapsed on the last play of the drive and Aveon Smith, redshirt first-year quarterback, rolled to the right and kept running. He juketed a Cardinal defender and then turned on the jets to the end zone. 17-12 ball condition.
After a first down, Ball State got a fourth and one on their next drive. They needed a yard to effectively seal the game. Somehow, Miami’s defense came back into play once again.
Smith got the ball back with 3:05 left. A little over a minute later, he found redshirt junior receiver Miles Marshall charging down the right touchline. Dropping into the end zone, Marshall made the biggest, most beautiful catch of the Miami season to give the RedHawks an 18-17 lead. It was number two the next day in SportsCenter’s top ten games.
Miami didn’t convert the following two-point try, but it didn’t matter. The RedHawk defense once again stood strong to seal the win.
The Bahamas Bowl
The Bahamas Bowl is one of college football’s most coveted bowl destinations. In previous years, participating teams have stayed at the luxurious Atlantis Resort on Paradise Island, which is technically part of Nassau, Bahamas.
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The game will be played at Thomas A. Robinson National Stadium in Nassau.
The Bahamas Bowl Matchup
Miami will play UAB in the Bahamas Bowl. UAB placed fourth at Conference USA that year. The Blazers boast national leading rusher DeWayne McBride, who has gained 1,713 yards this season despite missing one of the UAB games. McBride also finished second in Division I with 19 rushing touchdowns. The RedHawks will have their hands full containing Mcbride, who has averaged 7.4 yards per carry this season.
Smith will look to solidify his place as Miami’s starting quarterback of the future. Star junior quarterback Brett Gabbert, who missed all but four games this season through injury, announced his move from Miami earlier this week.
Last year Miami won the inaugural Frisco Football Classic 27-14 against North Texas. The RedHawks are seeking their second bowl win under eighth-year head coach Chuck Martin.
The Bahamas Bowl will be the first of 43 bowl games to be played on the college football slate in 2022.
Game begins Friday, December 16 at 11:30am EST.