COVID-19 cancels RedHawks game against Kent State


Photo provided by ESPN and RedHawk Football

Senior Jack Sorenson (#13) races his shadow on the way to a score after catching one of four touchdown passes from quarterback Brett Gabbert, in the RedHawks’ 38-7 win over Akron on Nov. 28.

By Ally Gallagher

After a cancellation in week three due to opponent Ohio University’s  positive COVID tests, Miami’s football team has stumbled upon another stroke of bad luck. The RedHawks’ week five game against the Kent State Golden Flashes, scheduled for this Saturday, Dec. 5, alsohas been canceled.

“The Kent State University at Miami University football game on Saturday, Dec. 5 has been canceled due to roster issues with the Kent State football team related to positive COVID-19 tests and subsequent contact tracing,” the Mid-American Conference said in a statement released Dec. 3. “The game has been declared a no contest.”

A “no contest” game means that the matchup will not be rescheduled, and it is not included in either teams’ record. 

The RedHawks have been unlucky this season with cancellations. Two games in the MAC have been canceled due to coronavirus complications — both were matchups that included Miami, but Miami has yet to be responsible for a cancellation.

Upon being notified of the cancellation in a Wednesday morning conference call with MAC commissioner John Steinbrecher, Miami Director of Athletics David Sayler said he immediately began looking for a replacement game.

“I began reaching out to various individuals about possibly coming to Oxford as an opponent for us,” Sayler said. “I spoke with multiple other athletic directors, conference office staff and the FBS football scheduling company, Gridiron, to inquire about a possible game for the RedHawks, even on short notice.”

Unfortunately, Sayler came up empty-handed. 

“There were a few small chance possibilities throughout the day that may have been able to work,” Sayler said. “But unfortunately, by the end of the day on Wednesday, I knew there was nothing that would work.”

Saturday, Nov. 28, Miami traveled to Akron, defeating the winless Zips 38-7.

The squad received multiple accolades for the win, which ended an 18-day layoff. Among those recognized are: Brett Gabbert, Manning Award Star of the Week; Jack Sorenson, College Football Performance Awards (CFPA) Honorable Mention National Performer of the Week; and Kameron Butler, Mid-American Conference East Division Defensive Player of the Week.

Gabbert, Miami’s first-string quarterback, returned to the field against the Zips after a head injury sidelined him in week one. The sophomore threw four touchdown passes, all of which landed in the hands of redshirt senior Sorenson.

Head Coach Chuck Martin expressed excitement about the game in the RedHawk Football weekly update, Nov. 30. He said the team “forced the issue on both sides of the ball.”

The red and white will have to keep that momentum until they head back on the road, to Bowling Green, Dec. 12. 

“Now we turn our focus to our game at Bowling Green next week,” said Sayler. “While I am disappointed that another game could not be found, I am proud of the efforts and commitment of all of our student-athletes.”

Assuming the Dec. 12 game is played without further COVID interference, it will be the RedHawks’ last game of the regular season.

The conference championship, scheduled for Friday, Dec. 18, will be a face-off between the MAC east and west division champions. Due to the nature of the season, tiebreakers might be needed.

According to a report on ESPN, “The conference said that winning percentages will be used to determine divisional tiebreakers, followed by head-to-head results. If needed, the league would then work through its normal tiebreaker process.”