The Miami RedHawks (8-5, 6-2) have defeated the Central Michigan Chippewas (8-5, 6-2) in the 2019 MAC Championship Game on Saturday, Dec. 7 at Ford Field in Detroit, Mich. The final score was 26-21 In favor of the RedHawks, who were led by Brett Gabbert’s 196 yards. Both teams will be playing in a bowl game beginning on Saturday, Dec. 20.
Miami got the scoring started quickly as the opening kick off was returned 98 yards before Jaylon Bester scored a one-yard touchdown to put the RedHawks up 7-0 with 13:59 left in the first quarter. Central Michigan tied the game about three minutes into the second quarter as Tommy Lazarro scored from 21 yards out.
The RedHawks regained the lead with a 42-yard field goal from Sam Sloman with 8:26 remaining in the second quarter. Quinten Dormady put the Chippewas up for the first time as he found Tyrone Scott for an 11-yard TD. Central Michigan led 14-10 at halftime as Dormady had 96 yards on a 70.6% completion rate.
Gabbert put Miami back in the lead with a 31-yard screen pass to Jack Sorenson, which put the RedHawks up 17-14 with 12:05 left in the third quarter. Miami would pick up six first downs in the third period alone. Sloman connected on a pair of field goals, from 33 yards and 48 yards, respectively, to extend Miami’s lead to 23-14.
Central Michigan fought back into the game as Lazarro scored from four yards out to cut into the deficit, but it wasn’t enough in the end. Sloman knocked through a 42-yard field goal to seal the win as Miami came away with the 26-21 victory. He was named Special Teams Player of the Game. It is the third championship in Miami school history.
“We have a special group. We have the last few years. They care about each other and they do the right things. Central deserved this as much as we did,” Miami head coach Chuck Martin said on the field following the win. “I’m crazy proud of these guys. We thought we had a good group of guys and we finally did it today.”
Eastern Michigan fell to Central Michigan earlier in the season on Saturday, Oct. 5 in Mount Pleasant. The Chippewas ran away with the game, winning 42-16, as Ward finished with 132 yards and two touchdowns. The last time EMU faced Miami was on Wednesday, Nov. 15, 2017. The Eagles won 27-24. Shaq Vann averaged 4.4 yards per carry in the win.
“What most people don’t realize is that a lot of the players from the MAC either had power five offers and didn’t have the grades or whatever the situation may be or are actually transfers,” former Central Michigan wideout Damon Terry said. “A lot of people think the MAC is some push over kind of football and that’s not the case.”
The MAC finished the season with eight bowl eligible teams, including EMU. The full list consists of Buffalo (7-5), Central Michigan (8-5), Eastern Michigan (6-6), Kent State (6-6), Miami (8-5), Ohio (6-6), Toledo (6-6) and Western Michigan (7-5). Each team will find out where their bowl game will be on Sunday, Dec. 8.