Final Score: RedHawks 10 – Golden Flashes 3, Attendance: 22,792
Weather: Sunny and Warm, 70; Ticket Price: $30 Gate – Face $15; Parking $10
“RedHawk Delight” by Tree
The RedHawks play at Yager Stadium situated in the beautiful campus of Miami University. The campus is stunning and so I recommend building in some time to stroll the campus. You’ll probably be tempted to pull out textbook and start reading in under a tree. It is the quintessential college campus. The stadium itself is fairly small, but fitting with the overall campus design. It does have some unique features. It is a standard bleacher setup with bench seats in the majority of the stands but there are some sections with seat backs. The student section appeared to be the entire visitors’ side of the field. With a smaller enrollment, their presence was not much of a factor. The end zone opposite the scoreboard has two unique sections, the Red Hawk zone, which offers special VIP treatment. On the other side of those bleachers is the “All you can eat” section. I am not sure that I want to be able to consume unlimited quantities of hotdogs and sodas, particularly given that there’s nothing special to the concessions menu. Judging by the number folks in that section, I was surprisingly not alone in that assessment. There are no seats under the scoreboard and with the diminutive size of the stadium just about every seat provides a good view of the game. The video screen was on the small side but it was clear
I attended the game with my friends Becca and Murry so we scored a family pack of four general admission tickets for $60. This pack included a free Miami baseball cap, a free hotdog and a coke. A great deal even if we had to eat the 4th ticket. What was more impressive was that I was able to buy those tickets over the web at 2am the night before. Buying the tickets was a little confusing but, otherwise, the website was one of the best I have been to. We picked up our tickets at will call and walked through the main gate right into the Cradle of Coaches monument. Miami has an impressive football history and some famous coaches have honed their craft in tiny Oxford, OH. Statues of such coaching luminaries as Woody Hayes and Ara Parseghian welcomed fans to the game. Past the statues was a small, but well run Fan Zone.
Directly after that was small brick and iron wrought fence where Murry and I strolled up to get a very upfront view of action on the field. While I wouldn’t recommend peering through the fence for the entire game, it was kind of fun to do for a few plays. We then picked up our free hats, dogs and cokes and headed to the general admission seats on the visitor side. We easily grabbed lower level seats right on the 50 yard line. However, the sun was surprisingly hot for a late October afternoon. Becca wisely suggested a walk over to shaded home side of the field at half time. We sauntered over to the shade and again snagged seats near the 50 yard line, slightly higher up but with seatbacks. Such opportunities abound at MAC games and it is one of the biggest positives to attending conference games.
I wouldn’t say Oxford, OH is in the middle of nowhere, but you won’t be hopping off the interstate to get there either. It was an easy hour and half drive from Cincinnati, the last half on small state roads passing farmers stands and farms. I was half expecting to see the Walton’s working their farm. Once in town, the route to the stadium was clearly identified. Parking was $10 and since I was early, I got a spot close to the stadium. I was then able to tailgate with the locals. As with most smaller and/or less popular schools, the opportunity to tailgate requires much less money and/or planning. At the larger stadiums, I found that the good lots usually require a pass that is generally limited to season ticket holders. It translates to buying a pass at inflated prices. At Miami I was able to roll in and have a great time tailgating. The fans were friendly and had all the hallmarks of a classic college environment: grills, corn hole, beer, etc.
Both programs were having down years so I had little hopes of it being a good game. However, it was competitive if not exactly exciting. Miami drove down and scored early in the first quarter on a QB draw. Kent State countered with a field goal in the second quarter. It was pretty much back forth with no one being able to punch it in. Miami scored again in the third quarter. Kent State made a valiant effort in the fourth but they missed a chip shot field goal. They still had one chance left but Miami’s D, made consecutive stops on third and fourth down when the Golden Flashes only need one yard. Miami took over with about two minutes to go and ran out the clock thanks to their RB, Andrew Hendrix. He was the key to the RedHawk offense, rushing for over 100 yards.
This was the third game of the weekend for me. I had seen Miami hammer Virginia Tech on Thursday night, followed that up with Cincinnati beating up the Bulls of South Florida on Friday night. It got progressively warmer each day and by Saturday it was positively balmy. I had set up my tent with SoManyStadiums.com signage and lots of fans came over to talk football. They were knowledgeable and it was a pleasure talking to them. Becca and Murry then arrived which was the icing on the cake of a great day.
While I would not put Yager Stadium on the must see list. I would not hesitate to recommend it as an enjoyable venue. If your favorite team was playing the RedHawks in Oxford, it would be worth the trip. While Miami’s program is currently in a slump, the program has certainly produced its share of quality professionals and teams in general. If the RedHawks rise again in MAC prominence, I might find myself back in the friendly confines of Yager Stadium.