Back in September, Adam Mehelic and several of his family members and friends got to see the famed "Horseshoe."
It didn’t go particularly well.
The Ohio State University, which is 13-0 and is seeking its ninth national title, blasted Mehelic’s team by more than 70 points.
No sweat for the 20-year-old 2017 Hudson graduate, though.
As it turned out, such a humbling defeat meant very little to the redshirt sophomore tight end.
That’s because he and his teammates are going "bowling" in January.
Miami University, which makes its home in Oxford, Ohio, recently won its first Mid-American Conference championship since 2010. As a result, the RedHawks are scheduled to play the University of Louisiana at Lafayette in the LendingTree Bowl Jan. 6 in Mobile, Alabama. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. The game is expected to be televised on ESPN.
The 6-foot-3, 260-pound Mehelic, who has done most of his work behind the scenes as a blocker, helped Miami to an 8-5 record. It is the RedHawks’ first bowl game since 2016.
"It’s an exciting time," Mehelic said. "I’ve been reflecting on how well the season has gone. It’s another week to spend with all of my friends to get one more win."
Interestingly enough, winning wasn’t exactly Miami’s forte earlier in the season. Of course, it’s not like the RedHawks faced a bunch of chumps either.
Besides the Buckeyes, Miami also paid visits to the University of Iowa and the University of Cincinnati. Thus, the RedHawks lost three of their first four games, including the lopsided 76-5 defeat at Ohio Stadium.
Mehelic didn’t get too stressed about facing the mighty Buckeyes, though. In fact, he enjoyed every second he played in front of more than 100,000 rabid fans. That included going face-to-face with a likely future NFL star.
"It was memorable blocking [junior defensive end] Chase Young," Mehelic said. "It was definitely a cool feeling. It was great seeing all of my friends from back home. A lot of people were texting me about it."
While their date with the famed Scarlet and Gray left Mehelic and Co. reeling a bit, Miami turned things around once it faced schools more its size.
The RedHawks wound up winning six of their last seven games, including a 26-21 victory over Central Michigan in the MAC Championship game.
"The Buffalo game [a 34-20 RedHawks’ win Sept. 28] was the turning point of the season," Mehelic said. "I played a lot in that game. That was my first actual start."
Mehelic isn’t the only player who represented the 44236 ZIP code in the MAC this fall. Joey Palumbo is a long snapper for Kent State University and Jonah Wieland is a punter for the University of Akron. Mitch Guadagni recently concluded his collegiate career as a quarterback for the University of Toledo.
Mehelic recently got to see Palumbo and Wieland since the three teams are rivals in the MAC’s East Division.
"It was nice to catch up with them," Mehelic said. "I grew up with those guys. I first started playing with Joey in fifth grade when we were on the same team. It’s amazing to see how far he has gone."
Thanks to these four gentlemen, the Explorers had their greatest three-year run in school history. Hudson reached the state semifinals in 2014, 15 and 16. The 2014 squad also won the Associated Press state title.
"It was a different atmosphere in high school," Mehelic said. "It was definitely a special time. I still pay attention to how they’re doing. I still keep up with them."
Mehelic, who is planning to major in sports leadership and management, planned to spend some time in his hometown before returning to Oxford a couple days after Christmas.
From there, Mehelic’s focus will be solely on the Ragin Cajuns, who were the runners-up in the Sun Belt Conference.
By the way, don’t expect the former All-Ohio tight end to take his experience for granted. Win or lose, Mehelic is having the time of his life.
"It has been a very good experience," Mehelic said. "Miami is a very good school. It’s great because of all the guys on the team and the bonds we’ve created. It has been a lot of fun."
Reporter Frank Aceto can be reached at 330-541-9444, firstname.lastname@example.org or @FrankAceto_RPC.