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Recruiting on the line when Kentucky plays Miami

CINCINNATI | Kentucky will cross the Ohio River to play Miami University this fall, a prelude to a recruiting battle that both coaches relish.

Kentucky coach Rich Brooks said Tuesday there's a lot of high school football talent in the Cincinnati area, one of the reasons why the Wildcats are looking forward to the Sept. 5 game against the RedHawks in Paul Brown Stadium, the home of the National Football League Cincinnati Bengals.

As the northernmost school in the Southeastern Conference, Kentucky has to do a better job of recruiting Cincinnati because it's so close, he said at a news conference with Miami coach Mike Haywood.

"We know that every time we step across the river, we're getting into Big Ten country, so we need to sell the SEC," he said.

Haywood, a former Notre Dame offensive coordinator who was hired at Miami in December, has no players from Kentucky on his spring roster. He's hoping to raise awareness about the RedHawks with possible recruits on both sides of the river.

"This is a great opportunity for us to get some kids to think more about Miami," said Haywood, who inherited a team that went 2-10 — worst in the Mid-American Conference.

Kentucky is coming off a 7-6 season that included a 25-19 win over East Carolina in the AutoZone Liberty Bowl. Seven players on the Wildcats' spring roster are Ohio natives.

Miami athletic director Brad Bates said he starting talking about getting the two teams together almost from the first day he started his job in November 2002.

It was only in the past couple of years that convenient dates started showing up, he said.

The schools hope the 65,535-seat Paul Brown Stadium — named in honor of the late NFL Hall of Fame coach who also happened to be a Miami graduate — will help draw a sellout crowd to a game being dubbed the "Rumble at the River."

Brooks said he doesn't have much tape on Miami but still relishes the chance to play in a big-time atmosphere and in an area the Wildcats don't see too often.

"We've spent a lot of time studying Wildcat film," Haywood said, turning to look at Brooks. "You should know that we already have one game plan. That's one advantage we have."