Miami (OH) And Appalachian State To Play For A Cause In The Cure Bowl

The nine-year tradition of two teams coming together to raise awareness and fundraise to battle cancer continues in Orlando, Florida at the Avocados from Mexico Cure Bowl. This event, which has raised more than $4 million over its lifespan, features the Mid-American Conference Champion RedHawks from Miami of Ohio (11-2) and the Appalachian State Mountaineers (8-5), who were runners up in the Sun Belt Conference as this year’s matchup.

The pairing pits the Hawks’ defense – which is ranked 7th in the nation in points allowed per game – against the Mountaineers’ offense, who are 21st in points scored. Under head coach Chuck Martin, Miami (OH) has beaten every team on their schedule except for Miami (FL). After losing to the like-named Atlantic Coast Conference opponent to open the season, the only other loss was to the Toledo Rockets, where they lost starting quarterback Brett Gabbert. They then beat Toledo in a rematch to earn the MAC crown with Aveon Smith at the helm. That victory was the latest in an active streak of five games where the RedHawks have allowed 16 points or less.


Led by linebackers Matt Salopek and Ty Wise, who have posted 134 tackles and 110 tackles respectively, the main way coach Martin can improve his defense’s chance of success over and above their dominant play is to also control the football in time of possession on offense. Running back Rashad Amos is certainly a big part of that endeavor, having recorded 895 yards on 177 carries for 12 touchdowns so far this season. Smith was the next-highest rusher in yards since filling as the full-time starter. With his entering the transfer portal, Henry Hasson is expected to start on Saturday.

Despite Appalachian State’s 8-5 record under head coach Shawn Clark, they may be the most balanced Group of 5 offense that the RedHawks have faced all year. Their quarterback Joey Aguilar has completed 64% of his passes for 3,546 yards with 33 touchdowns and only nine interceptions this year. Despite their top running back Nate Noel entering the transfer portal, Kanye Roberts is still a threat to support the air attack. Roberts has posted 648 yards on 113 carries with seven touchdowns after Noel started the first five games before injuring his ankle.

For all the focus on the Mountaineer offense, their defense has Andrew Parker who has 108 tackles on the year. Parker and that front seven will have the challenge of stopping Amos so that the offense can take control of the game and get as many opportunities for points as they can. If Parker and company can take Amos out of the game, that could challenge the RedHawks’ ability to put points on the board.

But as the ball kicks off at 3:30 pm Saturday at FBC Mortgage Stadium, football fans have something to be excited about and the medical community will remind everyone that when it comes to battling cancer, together we can tackle this.

Kyle Nash

Kyle is from Orlando, Florida

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