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122nd Battle for the Victory Bell

Dave Berk - Bearcat Insider

The University of Cincinnati will travel to Oxford, Ohio and Yager Stadium to take on the Miami Redhawks for the 122nd battle for the Victory Bell with 8 p.m. kickoff.  With both teams entering the game with 1-1 records, this battle could play an important role for both teams when it comes to making a bowl game.

Cincinnati at Miami (OH)
When: Sept. 16, 2017 – 8 PM ET – Oxford, OH
Kickoff: 8:00 PM
Facility: Yager Stadium (24,286) FieldTurf
TV: FOX 19 / ESPN 3

For the Bearcats, last season’s 27-20 victory over the Redhawks is a distant memory with new head coach Luke Fickell entering his first Battle for the Victory Bell with a clean slate.


With an 11-game winning streak against their longtime rival, UC looks to close the gap in the second-oldest NCAA FBS rivalry as the Redhawks hold a 59-55-7 record all-time in the match-up.

However, it’s been the Bearcats dominance in the win column since Mark Dantonio’s final season coaching the red and black that has been the story.  Despite the wins, the last four match-ups have seen the Redhawks push the Bearcats to the brink.

Fickell understands rivalries and made it clear during his press conference to stress last week is in the past and all focus is on Chuck Martin and his Redhawk team.  Martin, in his fourth season at the helm of the Redhawks, is looking for his first Victory Bell victory with a large crowd expected at Yager Stadium along with many recruits both programs have targeted.

The Redhawks have so far showed they can play defense as they’ll enter the contest ranked 24-th in the nation in total defense.  The player on defense that has hurt the Bearcats the most over the past few years has been senior Heath Harding.  In three career games against UC, Harding has posted 17.5 tackles and two interceptions.  In two games this season, Harding has 10 tackles to go with a fumble recovery.  Last season saw Harding earn First Team All-MAC and this season he made the Jim Thorpe, Bronko Nagurski and Bednarick preseason watch list.

Senior Tony Reid is the other Redhawk to watch on defense as he was involved in three turnovers in last week’s game against Austin Peay.

Junior linebacker Brad Koenig leads the Redhawks in tackles with 19 total stops.  As a team, the Redhawks have recorded two interceptions.  Giving up just over 100-yards a game on the ground and 159-yards in the air.

Their offense starts with quarterback Gus Ragland who can use his arm and legs to make plays.  On the season, Ragland has passed for 443 yards with five touchdowns and only one interception. Running back Alonzo Smith averages 4.1 yards per carry and Ragland’s main target this season has been James Gardner with 13 receptions for 228-yards and two scores.

On special teams, watch for junior Maurice Thomas.  The Oxford, Ohio native had a 94-yard return against the Bearcats last season and has the tools to break a big play at any time.


Founder of Bearcat Insider in Jan of 2005.

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