FRISCO, Texas — A role reversal from Miami University’s football team ended up being the catalyst in the school reversing over a decade of bowl game misfortune on Thursday.
Brett Gabbert threw for 228 and two touchdowns while being helped by a running game that gained 198 yards on the ground as the RedHawks defeated North Texas 27-14 in the inaugural Frisco Football Classic on Thursday afternoon. Miami scored the final 17 points of the game and shut out the Meam Green in the second half to earn the school’s first bowl victory since the end of the 2010 season.
The new bowl had a very unique beginning, as it was created after the season ended so that all 83-bowl eligible teams would have a chance at playing in a bowl — something that either Miami or North Texas would not have had without the last-second invention by the NCAA. From the appearance of being a participation trophy, Miami now can carry a lot of momentum into the next season, and with a trophy to boot.
“A lot of people didn’t want to go to the new bowl,” Miami head coach Chuck Martin said. “We all got memories of a lifetime because smart people put their heads together and got this thing going.”
Gabbert led Miami’s potent passing attack to a top-20 ranking in the FBS, and his two touchdown passes on each side of the halftime break gave the RedHawks control of the game for good; His four-yard score to Kevin Davis with 4:43 left in the second quarter gave the RedHawks a 14-13 lead, and on the first drive of the third quarter, Miami completed a 75-yard touchdown drive with a Gabbert 11-yard strike to Nate Muersch to produce the final points and margin of the game.
“I was going to do everything I had to win this game,” said Gabbert, the game’s offensive MVP and younger brother of NFL quarterback Blaine Gabbert. “Momentum kind of flipped, and we just kind of rolled from there.”
After taking the lead, Miami relied on its run game and defense to salt the contest away, including possessing the ball for the final 9:23 of the contest after the RedHawks stopped North Texas on a fourth down from the 3-yard line. North Texas came into the game fourth in the FBS in rushing offense (245.5), but were held to just 89 yards rushing as a team on Thursday by Miami’s defense.
*Editor’s note: Above the byline is the photo gallery from Thursday afternoon’s game, with all photos taken by Dallas-area photographer Ross James. After clicking on the first photo to enlarge the picture, make sure to press the left and right arrow buttons to scroll through the rest of the pictures. There are currently 11 pictures in total.