Week 10 MAC Previews
Tue., Nov. 2 @ 7:00 pm ET
Ball State Cardinals at Akron Zips
Ball State Cardinals
Ball State and Akron are set to square off for the 25th time in series history Tuesday night inside InfoCision Stadium. It is the first #MACtion game for both teams this season. The Zips have won the last two duels, once in Muncie in 2016 and once in Akron in 2017. However, the Cardinals had won five consecutive matchups prior to that from 2005-14. Ball State holds a 6-5 advantage in the series history as the road team. Tuesday night’s affair is set to be the first midweek #MACtion between the cross-divisional squads.
Ball State has been key at making adjustments at halftime this season. The Cardinals are among the league leaders in second-half defense during league action, and the data supports that. Ball State has given up just 9.0 points per game in the second half of conference games, trailing only Toledo (3.8) and Miami (8.5). In addition, the Cardinals
Eight weeks into the 2021 season, fifth-year WR Justin Hall is averaging 137.0 all-purpose yards per game, good for 18th-most in the country and first in the Mid-American Conference. Hall is third in the country in average all-purpose yards among players who have logged at least one yard through rushing, receiving, punt return and kickoff return only to Trestan Ebner (Baylor) and Jayden Reed (Michigan State).
In his first career start at Eastern Michigan, true freshman RB Carson Steele had a career-high 138 rushing yards on 18 carries and one touchdown. He became the first Ball State player to have over 100 yards on the ground this season and is the first to eclipse the 100- yard plateau since Tye Evans at Toledo on Nov. 28, 2020 (101 yards, 25 att.). Steele had 117 yards on 15 carries in the second half alone, including 59 yards on 11 carries in just the fourth quarter to help ice away the game.
Ball State has three of the top 10 tacklers in the Mid-American Conference in S Bryce Cosby, ILB Clayton Coll and ILB Jaylin Thomas. Cosby and Coll are tied for seventh in the league with 66 tackles apiece, while Thomas is ninth with 64.
Ball State has 24 graduates on its roster, which is tied for the 10th-most in the country with Liberty, per the National Football Foundation. The Cardinals trail only Illinois (29), Baylor (28), Western Kentucky (27), Arizona (26), Louisiana Tech (26), Minnesota (26), Pittsburgh (25), South Alabama (25) and SMU (25)
INSIDE THE SERIES: AKRON
Ball State and Akron are set to square off for the 25th time in series history Tuesday night inside InfoCision Stadium. It is the first #MACtion game for both teams this season. The Zips have won the last two duels, once in Muncie in 2016 and once in Akron in 2017. However, the Cardinals had won five consecutive matchups prior to that from 2005- 14. Ball State holds a 6-5 advantage in the series history as the road team. Tuesday night’s affair is set to be the first midweek #MACtion between the cross-divisional squads.
FIRST TO 30
Since 2015, midweek #MACtion has had a good indicator in determining a winner. Over the last six years, the first team to score 30 points is 74-4 in league games played between Tuesday-Thursday, good for a 94.9 win percentage. In that span, there have only been 23 games (out of 101) that a game has not had a team that has not scored at least 30 points.
FAST STARTS … LIKE, REALLY FAST
Over two of the last four games, Ball State has been up 7-0 before some fans have reached their seats. Against Army, WR Justin Hall returned the opening kickoff 99 yards for a touchdown in just 12 seconds. At Western Michigan, QB Drew Plitt connected with WR Jalen McGaughy for a 75-yard touchdown pass on the first play from scrimmage that took only 11 seconds. Ball State is one of just three teams to score on its first offensive play multiple times this season, joining Hawai’i and Michigan State. In addition, the Cardinals have scored on their opening drive in each of the last five games, which includes four touchdowns and a field goal.
The defense has showed up in a big way since the beginning of the second half at Wyoming. Over the 22 quarters played since then, the Cardinals have allowed just 116 points defensively, which does not count a pick-6 and two safeties. That averages out to 21.1 points per game, which would rank 40th in the country.
FORGED BY FIRE
The Ball State football team returns 16 “super seniors” who were thrown into the fire as freshmen in 2017, playing a major part for a Cardinals team that struggled to 2-10 (0-8 MAC). But the class gained invaluable experience and has grown steadily during its time in Muncie. The class helped the Cardinals improved to 4-8 (3-5) in 2018 and then 5-7 (4-4) with three tight league losses in 2019. Then they led the program to a major breakthrough in 2020 with a 7-1 (5-1) record, a MAC championship and the first bowl win in program history.
MORE ON THE EXPERIENCE
403 … That is the number of career starts that returned for Ball State entering 2021. On offense, the Cardinals returned 197 games of starting experience, led by RG Curtis Blackwell who is now up to 43 starts. QB Drew Plitt is not far behind, having started 34 career games, including 31 consecutive contests. On defense, S Bryce Cosby has started 51 career games, including the last 39. OLB Christian Albright is right behind, having started each of the last 43 games for the Cardinals.
ATTACKING THE BALL
Ball State has three of the top 10 tacklers in the Mid-American Conference in S Bryce Cosby, ILB Clayton Coll and ILB Jaylin Thomas. Cosby and Coll are tied for seventh in the league with 66 tackles apiece, while Thomas is ninth with 64.
Akron leads, 12-11-1
Arth vs. Ball State: First Meeting
Last Meeting: Akron def. Ball State, 31-3 (Akron, Ohio – Oct. 7, 2017)
Last Meeting in Akron: Akron def. Ball State, 31-3 (Akron, Ohio – Oct. 7, 2017)
Akron is meeting Ball State for the 25th time in program history and first since the 2017 campaign, with the Zips owning a 12-11-1 series advantage. In the last meeting between the two schools, Akron registered a 31-3 triumph past the Cardinals on Oct. 7, 2017 at InfoCision Stadium-Summa Field. The series between the two schools dates back to the 1964 campaign when Akron earned an 25-15 road victory over Ball State.
SCOUTING BALL STATE
Ball State enters play on Tuesday, Nov. 2 on the heels of seeing its three-game winning streak snapped following a 24-17 home setback to Miami on Oct. 23.
Senior QB Drew Plitt has passed for 1,591 yards en route to connecting on 11 touchdowns through the air. Freshman RB Carson Steele has sparked the Cardinals’ rushing attack running for 428 yards, including finding the endzone five times. Senior WR Justin Hall and junior WR Jayshon Jackson have registered 506 and 480 yards, respectively, en route to six combined touchdowns.
Defensively, the duo of senior S Bryce Cosby and senior ILB Jaylin Thomas have combined to record 130 tackles, including posting 66 and 64 stops, respectively. Cosby owns team-high marks in tackles for a loss (6.0) and sacks (4.0).
As a unit, the Cardinals average 24.5 points per game, while registering 334.4 yards per game, including throwing for 218.6 yards and rushing for 115.8 yards per tilt.
Ball State is ranked sixth in the NCAA in kickoff returns (30.29), 17th in blocked punts (1), 22nd in punt return defense (3.00), 27th in defensive touchdowns (1), 36th in blocked kicks (1), 37th in fewest penalty yards (46.38), 38th in fewest penalties (5.50) and 44th in fourth down conversions (.600). Individually, Hall is leading the NCAA in kickoff returns (35.6), while ranking third in kickoff return touchdowns (1), sixth in combined kick returns (444), 16th in all-purpose yards (137.0), 32nd in receptions per game (6.0) and 40th in touchdowns (8), while Plitt is rated 39th in completions per outing (19.0) and 47th in completion percentage (.639) and passing touchdowns (11).
IN OUR LAST MEETING (OCT. 7, 2017 – AKRON, OHIO)
Akron entered the second half with a 14-point advantage and tacked on 14 more points en route to a 31-3 win over Ball State during Homecoming game at InfoCision Stadium– Summa Field on Oct. 7, 2017.
Thomas Woodson completed 17 passes for 211 yards with two touchdowns. WR A.J. Coney hauled in six passes for a team-best 90 yards, while WR Kwadarrius Smith caught three passes for 74 yards and a touchdown and WR Austin Wolf was targeted four times for 57 yards and a touchdown. On the ground, RB Deltron Sands racked up 53 yards on six carries with a 32-yard touchdown run, while RB Manny Morgan used eight carries for 44 yards.
Defensively, the Zips issued five sacks and three interceptions while limiting the Cardinals to just three points. LB Ulysees Gilbert III and LB Andrew Hauser led Akron with 13 tackles apiece. Gilbert added a sack for eight yards of loss, while Hauser grabbed his first career interception.
AKRON FOOTBALL HAS
• Been selected to finish fifth in the MAC East in 2021 by the media and coaches polls.
• Appeared in a bowl twice in three seasons, a program first [2015, 2017]
A WIN WOULD GIVE AKRON
• Its third victory of the 2021 season
• Its fourth victory under head coach Tom Arth
• Its first home conference triumph of the 2021 campaign
Akron dropped a 45-10 Mid-American Conference decision to Buffalo at InfoCision Stadium-Summa Field on Saturday, Oct. 23 as the Bulls led 24-10 at halftime and scored 21-unanswered points while generating 484 yards total of offense.
The Zips registered 304 total yards, including 229 yards on the ground as freshman RB Jonzell Norrils (Toledo, Ohio) led the way. On his first touch in three games, Norrils traveled 74 yards for a touchdown.
The 74-yard run marks a career long for Norrils and the longest run for the Zips since Tra’Von Champman broke-off a 70-yard run for a TD against Miami in 2016. Norrils finished the game with 155 yards on 11 carries for a 14.1 yards per carry average.
The Akron defense was paced by redshirt junior S Jaylen Kelly-Powell (Detroit, Mich.) with a career-high 16 tackles followed by freshman LB Andrew Behm (Appleton, Wisc.) and redshirt sophomore LB Jeslord Boateng (Dublin, Ohio) with career-best totals of 14 and 11, respectively.
• Playing in his first game in three weeks, RB Jonzell Norrils rushed for a career-high 155 yards versus Buffalo, including a 74-yard touchdown run on his first hand-off of the game. Earlier in the season, Norrils posted a career-best mark in rushing attempts (15) against Temple on Sept. 11, a week after scoring his second-career touchdown with a four-yard reception in the fourth quarter versus Auburn on Sept. 4.
• Led by a career-best 16-tackle effort from S Jaylen Kelly-Powell, seven different Zips established career-high marks in tackles versus Buffalo. Additionally, LB Andrew Behm, LB Jeslord Boateng, junior DL Ryan McClain (Albuquerque, N.M.), junior DB Charles Amankwaa (Hillsborough, N.J.), redshirt junior DL Angelo Howze (Fishers, Ind.) and freshman S Rishad Hence (Detroit, Mich.) registered 14, 11, five, four, three and one tackles, respectively.
• Senior QB Kato Nelson (Hollywood, Fla.) is the lone Zip to have played against Ball State during his Akron career as he was a perfect 1-for-1 for 38 yards in the Zips’ 31-3 triumph on Oct. 7, 2017.
• QB DJ Irons recorded an Akron season-high 25 rushing attempts against Buffalo on Oct. 23 en route to collecting 54 yards on the ground. The Zips finished the game setting season-high totals in rushing attempts (45) and rushing yards (229) versus the Bulls.
• Akron has posted the edge in time of possession in six of the Zips’ eight contests this season.
• ILB Jeslord Boateng leads the team in total tackles (59), solo tackles (26), assists (33) and in tackles for a loss (7.0). He registered a career-best three tackles for a loss against Buffalo on Oct. 23.
• Akron is 17-of-25 in the red zone this season, including 13 touchdowns and four field goals this season after going 12-for-14 a year ago with nine touchdowns.
• Akron is rated 17th in the NCAA in time of possession (32:02), 25th in fumbles recovered (6), 26th in fewest penalty yards per contest (44.38), 28th in fewest penalties per game (5.12), 33rd in completion percentage (.655), 40th in fewest penalties (41), 44th in team passing efficiency (145.63), 46th in fewest penalty yards (355) and 48th in turnovers gained (11).
• WR Konata Mumpfield is ranked 18th in the NCAA in receiving touchdowns (6), while DB Charles Amankwaa is rated seventh in the NCAA in interceptions (3) and 22nd in interceptions per game (0.4).
• WR Konata Mumpfield registered a career-high 109 yards receiving on a career-best 10 catches at Miami, a week after recording 106 yards receiving with a pair of touchdown catches at Bowling Green on Oct. 9. He joined teammate Michael Mathison with a 100-yard receiving game this season.
• QB Zach Gibson threw a career-high three touchdowns in Akron’s games at Bowling Green and Miami on Oct. 9 and Oct. 16, respectively.
• With his interception versus Bowling Green, DB Charles Amankwaa picked off a pass for Akron in three consecutive games. He leads the Zips with a trio of interceptions on the campaign and recorded a career-high four tackles, including three solo stops at Miami on Oct. 16
• WR Konata Mumpfield has scored a touchdown in five of Akron’s eight games this season, including a stretch of five consecutive games, including a 45-yard scoring strike from QB DJ Irons against Ohio on Oct. 2.
• Freshman RB Blake Hester (Ashland, Ky.) posted a career-best 120 yards rushing and garnered a pair of touchdown runs at Bowling Green on Oct. 9, while QB Zach Gibson threw a career-high three touchdowns for the Zips.
• Junior TE Nik Ognenovic (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) added his first career catch as a Zip with a 21-yard touchdown reception in the third quarter at Bowling Green on Oct. 9.
• Akron garnered five turnovers at Bowling Green on Oct. 9, its highest single-game total since Toledo committed five total turnovers in the Mid-American Conference Championship game on Dec. 2, 2017.
• TE Tristian Brank (Asheville, N.C.) scored his first career touchdown with a nine-yard reception in the third quarter against Ohio on Oct. 2. He culminated his day posting three catches for 23 yards.
• S Jaylen Kelly-Powell led the Zips in tackles versus Ohio on Oct. 2 with then career-high marks in tackles (11), solo tackles (5) and assists (6).
• Registering their first career sacks at Akron against Ohio on Oct. 2 was redshirt sophomore LB Reggie Corner, Jr. (Canton, Ohio), who posted a solo sack for six yards of loss, while redshirt junior LB Brandon Bischof (Akron, Ohio) and senior DL Zach Morton (Detroit, Mich.) combined on a sack.
• Twenty different Zips registered a tackle versus Ohio on Oct. 2, including a career-high 10 tackles from freshman S Ronald Jackson, Jr. (Detroit, Mich.).
• LB Bubba Arslanian registered his 250th career tackle with his first stop at Ohio State on Sept. 25.
• RB Blake Hester established career-best marks in rushes (20) and rushing yards (124) versus Bowling Green on Oct. 9, while setting career marks in receptions (3) and receiving yards (22) against Ohio State on Sept. 25.
• Akron’s 514 yards of total offense versus Bryant represented the Zips’ highest total since registering 626 against Savannah State on Sept. 19, 2015.
• Nine different Akron receivers pulled in a reception for the Zips against Bryant, the most for Akron since the same number recorded a catch at UMass on Sept. 28, 2019.
• QB DJ Irons threw for a career-high 296 yards and three touchdowns, while rushing for a career-best 136 yard rushing against Bryant en route to collecting 432 yards of total offense.
• QB DJ Irons is off to a solid start to his Akron career connecting on 77-of-117 passes for 890 yards and eight touchdowns. He was perfect in debut as a Zip against Auburn, completing 13-of-13 passes for 129 yards with his first passing touchdown coming to Norrils in the fourth quarter. He followed with a 19-of-23 effort for a career-high 296 yards versus Bryant.
• Akron’s freshmen duo of TE Tristian Brank and freshman WR Oran Singleton, Jr. (Clewiston, Fla.) recorded career-highs in receiving yards posting 46 and 36 yards, respectively, against Bryant.
• Redshirt freshman RB Anthony Williams, Jr. (Chicago, Ill.) recorded a career-best 39 yards rushing on nine carries before scoring a one-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter against Bryant for his first career touchdown at Akron.
• The Zips posted 14 tackles for a loss for 59 yards in a 35-14 victory over Bryant. ILB Jeslord Boateng led the way for Akron with three tackles for a loss, including a sack, while redshirt junior LB Michael Scott (Tallahassee, Fla.) garnered a career-best two sacks for the Zips.
• LB Bubba Arslanian recorded a team-best 17 tackles against Temple.
• WR Michael Mathison registered his first career 100-yard receiving day versus Temple pulling in career-high marks in catches (8) and yards (101).
• Bubba Arslanian’s 17 tackles versus Auburn represent the ninth-highest single-game effort in the NCAA this season.
• Five Zips made their first starting appearance against Auburn in 2021 season opener as ILB Jeslord Boateng, DL Zach Morton and S Ronald Jackson, Jr. started on defense, additionally WR Konata Mumpfield and RB Jonzell Norrils received starts on offense.
• Junior CB Jalen Hooks (Warren, Ohio), CB Charles Amankwaa and DL Angelo Howze each registered a tackle for a loss against Temple.
• QB Kato Nelson is Akron’s active career leader in rushing attempts (365), pass attempts (808), pass completions (424), passing yards (5,370) and passing TD’s (35) and is responsible for 37 career offensive TD’s.
• Eight different Zips pulled in a reception for Akron against Auburn. WR Michael Mathison led the Zips with a career-high seven catches for 68 yards. Adding four, three, two, two and two receptions, respectively, was junior WR George Qualls, Jr. (Caruthersville, Mo.), WR Konata Mumpfield, RB Jonzell Norrils, RB Anthony Williams, Jr., and WR Oran Singleton, Jr. • In his Akron debut as punter, redshirt sophomore Ethan Slike (Greensburg, Pa.) registered five punts for 250 yards, including a career-long of 60 yards. He followed with three punts for 154 yards and a 51.3 yard average against Temple.
• Akron didn’t commit a turnover in the Zips’ season opener at Auburn matching the feat a year ago in a 31-3 triumph past Bowling Green on Dec. 5, 2020.
• For the first time since battling Florida Atlantic on Dec. 19, 2017 at the Cheribundi Tart Cherry Boca Raton Bowl, the Zips were involved in a game where neither team committed a turnover. The last Akron regular season contest in which this occurred happened on Sept. 28, 2013 at Bowling Green.
• Four of Akron’s 2021 opponents played in bowl a year ago: Auburn, Ball State, Buffalo and Ohio State.
• DB A.J. Watts established career-high marks for tackles (12) and solo stops (9) against Kent State (Nov. 17).
Tue., Nov. 2 @ 7:30 pm ET
Eastern Michigan Eagles at Toledo Rockets
Eastern Michigan Eagles
TOLEDO, Ohio (EMUEagles.com) – After a 10-day break, the Eastern Michigan University football team will be back in #MACtion when it heads to the Glass City for the first of three consecutive Tuesday night affairs, starting with the University of Toledo, Nov. 2. The Eagles and Rockets will kick off at 7:30 p.m. inside the Glass Bowl.
A game with major implications, Eastern (5-3, 2-2 MAC) aims to become bowl eligible yet again with a win. The Eagles dominated Bowling Green, 55-24, in their most recent contest, Oct. 23. Meanwhile, Toledo (4-4, 2-2 MAC) hopes to maintain the momentum it built against Western Michigan on the same day, after handling the Broncos, 34-15, at home. The game will be televised on ESPN2 with John Schriffen providing the play-by-play and Rene Ingoglia serving as the analyst. WEMU (89.1 FM)
and the Varsity Network app will provide audio coverage of the game with Matt Shepard and Rob Rubick calling the action from the field.
THE RETURN OF #MACTION: EMU’s clash with Bowling Green, Oct. 23, was the last regular season Saturday game of the year for the Green and White as it turns its attention to midweek conference games, known as #MACtion. The Eagles’ next three games will be played on Tuesday nights, beginning with EMU’s game at Toledo, Nov. 2, and finishing with home games against Ohio, Nov. 9, and Western Michigan, Nov. 16.
WITH A WIN: A win over Toledo would give Eastern Michigan bowl eligibility for the fourth time in the previous five full seasons, and just the sixth time in program history. A win would also give EMU bowl eligibility in three consecutive seasons for the first time in program history (excluding COVID-shortened 2020 season).
CLOSING IN NOVEMBER: EMU is 10-8 in the month of November the last five years. In the five seasons prior, Eastern combined for a total of seven wins during the entire 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2015 campaigns. Furthermore, if you exclude last year’s COVID-adjusted season when the schedule began in November, then EMU’s winning percentage jumps to .714 (10-4).
FEW AND FAR BETWEEN: EMU is off to a 5-3 start for the first time since 2016. EMU has won five of its first eight games two times under eighth-year Head Coach Chris Creighton. Prior to Creighton’s arrival, the Green and White had not accomplished the feat since the 1995 season.
FAST TO FIVE: EMU has five wins in its first eight games for the 36th time in its 130-season history. Just seven of those hot starts have come since Eastern began play as a member of the Mid-American Conference in 1976. In its time as a MAC member, just 11 EMU teams have reached five-or-more wins for the entirety of a season. Chris Creighton has led five of those teams, including this year’s squad.
BIG WIN OVER BOWLING GREEN: With its 55-24 win over Bowling Green, EMU has now taken three consecutive contests against the Falcons, dating back to 2016. Prior to its current stretch, EMU had not bested BGSU in three straight games since it did so in consecutive seasons between 1987-89. Additionally, EMU’s 55 points scored were the most it has ever scored against Bowling Green. EMU’s previous best against the Falcons came more than a century ago, when it scored 45 against BG, Oct. 12, 1920.
HIGH-SCORING HISTORY: EMU’s 55 points at Bowling Green are the 10th most points in a single game in program history and the third-most by an EMU team on the road. Eastern scored 62 points at Akron, Nov. 24, 2001, and 56 at Northeastern, Nov. 1, 1969. EMU’s highest single-game point total is 76, which was scored against Toledo A.A., Nov. 3, 1894.
MOST OVER A MAC: Eastern’s 31-point margin of victory at BGSU, Oct. 23, was the most for the team over a MAC opponent since it defeated Northern Illinois by a margin of 28 points, 45-17, Nov. 19, 2019. The 31-point margin is the second-largest against a fellow MAC school under eighth-year Head Coach Chris Creighton (42 vs. Ball State, Nov. 2, 2017).
TWO TIMES 20: EMU scored 20+ points in back-to-back quarters (24 – 2nd, 23 – 3rd) in its game at Bowling Green, Oct. 23, something it has never accomplished in the modern statistical era (1999-Present). Prior to the contest against BGSU, EMU had not scored 20+ in two quarters in a game since 2016, when it did so against Mississippi Valley State (21- 1st, 26- 3rd), Sept. 2. Additionally, EMU’s 24 second-quarter points were the most for the team in a 15-minute block since it put up the same number in its game against Northern Illinois, Nov. 19, 2019.
BLOCK, RUN, SCORE: Freshman tight end Jere Getzinger became the first EMU player to block a punt since Sept. 21, 2019 when he did so with 3:35 left in the second quarter against Bowling Green. His teammate and fellow freshman, David Carter Jr. was able to secure the kick and return it 42 yards for an EMU touchdown. Carter is the first Eagle to return a blocked punt for a TD since Mathew Sexton did it against Central Connecticut in 2019.
BIG-TIME BLOCKERS: EMU has now blocked 17 total kicks (punt, FG, extra point) since the start of the 2014 season. David Carter Jr.’s punt block-TD at BGSU, Oct. 23, is the fourth for EMU during that span. Furthermore, special teams coordinator Jay Nunez and company have now blocked at least one kick a year dating back to the 2016 season.
TAKING ADVANTAGE OF TAKEAWAYS: EMU has forced 10 turnovers in 2021, and has scored points off of each (7 touchdowns, 3 field goals). EMU has scored 58 points off those turnovers, twice as a direct result of the play, and nine times in its subsequent offensive possession. The Eagles turned two turnovers into touchdowns in their most recent contest, at BGSU, Oct. 23. WIN THE TURNOVER BATTLE: A common goal in Head Coach Chris Creighton’s program, Eastern has won or tied (26 wins, 4 ties) the turnover battle in 30 of its last 32 victories under Creighton. EMU won the turnover battle, 2-1, against Bowling Green, Oct. 23.
BEST IN CONFERENCE PLAY: The Eagles put together their best collective offensive performance against a conference foe this season at BGSU, Oct. 23. Conference-season-highs were set in the following categories: points (55), first down differential (+6), rushing yards (130), offensive turnovers (0), completion percentage (76.9%), fewest penalties (3), total yards (455), and return yards (157).
TOLEDO, Ohio – Toledo hosts Eastern Michigan on Tuesday, Nov. 2 (7:30 p.m./ESPN2) in a key MAC West Division game that could have important implications in the race for the MidAmerican Conference Championship. Toledo (4-4, 2-2 MAC) and EMU (5-3, 2-2) are in a five-way tie for second place in the West Division, two games behind division leader Northern Illinois (4-0). Since both the Rockets and Eagles have lost to NIU this season, both teams are effectively three games behind the Huskies with four games left. The winner may still have an outside chance to catch NIU, especially if the Huskies lose their game at Kent State on Nov. 3.
The Rockets are fresh off a 34-15 victory over Western Michigan in the Glass Bowl on Saturday. Redshirt freshman Dequan Finn threw for two long touchdown passes and the Toledo defense shut out a potent Bronco offense in the second half to lead the Rockets.
Finn was just 3-of-14 at the half but keyed a second half comeback that saw Toledo outscore the Broncos 21-0 in the final 30 minutes after trailing 15-13 at halftime. Toledo’s defense stopped WMU three times on fourth down, converting that into 10 points, and came up with a 35-yard touchdown on a fumble recovery, one of three TDs in the third quarter. Finn ended the game 8-of-24 passing for 138 yards and two scores. Junior Bryant Koback led the rushing attack with an even 100 yards on 17 carries. Toledo’s defense held a Western offense that scored 64 points a week ago to just 398 yards. Eastern Michigan is coming off a 55-24 rout of Bowling Green last week.
Rocket Round-Up • Toledo ranks first in the MAC in scoring defense (18.3) and defensive passing efficiency (112.3), second in total defense (326.9), and fourth in rushing defense (146.1).
•The Rockets rank seventh in scoring offense (28.5) and total offense (378.0).
• Toledo ranks second in the MAC in turnover margin (+0.9) and first in fewest turnovers (four in eight games).
• Junior Bryant Koback rushed for 100 yards vs. WMU and now has 3,261 career rushing yards, seventh place on Toledo’s all-time list. He needs 76 yards to pass David Fluellen (3,336 yards from 2010-13) for sixth place.
• Junior defensive tackle Desjuan Johnson was named MAC West Defensive Player of the Week following his performance vs. WMU last week in which he had six tackles, two tackles for loss, one sack, one forced fumble and a QB hurry. He is tied for the MAC lead with 8.0 tackles for loss.
•Zachary Ford’s 35-yard fumble return for a touchdown was the first score on a fumble recovery by a Rocket since Allen Covington picked one up and went 67 yards vs. Arkansas State in the GoDaddy Bowl on Jan. 4, 2015.
•Toledo’s defense stopped Western on fourth down three times in three attempts and broke up seven WMU passes.
TOLEDO GAME NOTES
• Toledo is 4-4, 2-2 MAC following its 34-15 win over Western Michigan on Oct. 23.
• Junior defensive tackle Desjuan Johnson is tied for the lead in the MAC with 8.0 tackles for loss.
• Bryant Koback has 3,261 career rushing yards, seventh place on Toledo’s all-time list. He needs 76 yards to pass David Fluellen (3,336 yards from 2010-13) for sixth place. The all-time leader is Kareem Hunt (2013-16) with 4,945 yards.
• Sophomore Devin Maddox leads the MAC in punt return average, gaining 13.3 yards per attempt. His 32-yard punt return in the second quarter vs. WMU was the longest of his career.
• Redshirt freshman quarterback Dequan Finn completed 8-of-24 passes for 138 yards and two TDs vs. WMU. Of his eight completions, two were scores and five were for at least 15 yards.
• Senior wide receiver Bryce Mitchell caught a 28-yard touchdown pass in the second quarter but had to leave the game on Toledo’s next possession with an apparent injury.
• Senior Danzel McKinley-Lewis’ 34-yard TD catch in the third quarter was his first touchdown reception of the season and seventh of his career.
• Zachary Ford’s 35-yard fumble return for a touchdown was the first score on a fumble recovery by a Rocket since Allen Covington picked one up and went 67 yards vs. Arkansas State in the GoDaddy Bowl on Jan. 4, 2015.
• Toledo’s defense stopped Western on fourth down three times in three attempts.
• The Rockets broke up seven WMU passes, including four passes knocked down at the line of scrimmage, two from junior outside linebacker Jamal Hines
Toledo leads, 36-12. The Rockets have won 19 of the last 21 games in the series, including a 45-28 victory in Ypsilanti last season.
LAST TIME VS. EMU
Toledo’s 45-28 win at Eastern Michigan in Ypsilanti was not as close as the final score indicated. Toledo led 38-7 late in the third quarter before yielding three late scores to the Eagles. Junior Bryant Koback rushed for a season-high 149 yards and a touchdown to lead Toledo to the victory. The Rockets were buoyed by a strong defense that held Eastern Michigan to 277 yards of total offense, including just 97 in the first half in which the Rockets led 24-7.
Tue., Nov. 2 @ 7:30 pm ET
Miami RedHawks at Ohio Bobcats
REDHAWKS LOOK TO KEEP PACE IN MAC EAST WITH TRIP TO OHIO
The Miami football team travels to face the Ohio Bobcats on Tuesday, Nov. 2 in a crucial Mid-American Conference divisional game. Opening kick is slated for 7:30 p.m.
FIRST AND TEN
• Miami football ranks first all-time in the Mid-American Conference in wins (704), conference wins (301), MAC Championships (16) and bowl wins (7). The RedHawks also captured the 2019 MAC Championship with a 26-21 win over Central Michigan.
• Although Miami was 4-26 in Coach Martin’s first 30 Mid-American Conference games, the RedHawks are 28-10 in the last 38 games versus schools from the MAC, the best record in the conference during that span.
• Miami went 2-1 in 2020, missing the final three contests of the year due to COVID. The RedHawks beat Ball State, the eventual MAC Champions, to open 2020, 38-31.
• The RedHawks clinched the MAC East Division Championship with a 6-2 record in 2019 and went 2-1 in 2020. Miami has now had a winning conference record in four of the past five years.
• Martin, in his eighth year leading the RedHawks, has had many of the same coordinators in the previous six seasons. Offensive Coordinator Eric Koehler has been with Martin all eight years on the offensive side of the ball. Spence Nowinsky (fourth year) and John Hauser (eighth year) manage the defense.
• Miami is 9-2 in one-score games, dating back to the 2018 campaign. The RedHawks were 5-0 in one-score games in 2019, including a 26-21 victory over Central Michigan in the MAC Championship Game. Miami’s 31-26 loss to Minnesota earlier this year ended Miami’s consecutive one-score win streak at eight.
• In its last 33 contests, Miami has had a lead at some point in 29 of those games. The only four setbacks were a 42-10 loss at Buffalo in 2020 and three different losses in 2021.
• Miami competed in the 2020 LendingTree Bowl, its fourth bowl eligible season in the last five years. From 2006-15, Miami was bowl eligible just twice.
• Miami’s defense has forced a turnover in 33 of its last 49 games and is 21-12 in contests when it forces a turnover. The RedHawks’ defense has also recorded a sack in 38 of its last 49 games.
ABOUT CHUCK MARTIN
• Head coach Chuck Martin, who earned that title on Dec. 3, 2013, brings an impressive resume to Oxford, Ohio.
• Not only was he 74-7 in six years at Grand Valley State (2004-09), he has coached in seven national championship games in the past 19 seasons. Martin has an all-time head coaching record of 110-57.
• He has twice been named the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) National Coach of the Year and has been a coordinator on both sides of the ball.
• Martin was inducted into the Hall of Fame at Grand Valley State University on Oct. 23, 2015.
Series Record: …………………………………………………………….Miami leads 54-40-2
At Oxford:…………………………………………………………………….Miami leads 32-15-2
At Athens: ……………………………………………………………………..Ohio leads 25-22-0
Most Miami points: ……………………………………………………… 49 (49-31) in 2003
Most Ohio points: ……………………………………………………………………… 45 in 2017
Combined points: ……………………………………………. 80 (49-31) in 2003
Biggest Miami win:………………………………………………………….45 (45-0) in 1909
Biggest Ohio win: ……………………………………………….31 (34-3) in 2015
Current streak: …………………………………………………………….. Miami – 2
Ohio is 1-7 on the year, but has lost its last three games by a combined 11 points. Quarterback Kurtis Rourke leads the offense with 157.7 yards passing and 22.5 yards rushing per contest. In all, the Bobcats average 193.4 yards rushing per contest in 2021. SERIES VS. OHIO Miami is 54-40-2 all-time versus Ohio, which includes a 30-28 win in 2018 and a 24-21 victory in 2019. The RedHawks are 22-25-0 all-time in Athens. The Miami/Ohio rivalry had competed every year since 1945 until the 2020 contest was cancelled due to COVID concerns.
LIGHTS, CAMERA, MACTION
Tuesday’s contest is the first of three-straight midweek games for the Red and White. Miami also heads to Buffalo on Tuesday, Nov. 9 and hosts Bowling Green on Tuesday, Nov. 16. The RedHawks wrap up the season finale at Kent State on Saturday, Nov. 27.
ANOTHER NOVEMBER TO REMEMBER?
Since 2016, the RedHawks are 13-3 in the month of November. Miami was 3-0 in 2016, 2-1 in 2017, 3-0 in 2018, 3-1 in 2019 and 2-1 in 2020 (season started in November).
NOTES FROM BALL STATE
• Brett Gabbert was nearly perfect on the afternoon, completing 20-of-24 passes for 207 yards and two scores.
• Sterling Weatherford had a game-saving interception with 60 seconds left in the contest to secure the Miami win.
• Jack Sorenson had his third straight 100-yard performance, finishing the game with eight grabs for 138 yards.
• Sophomore Matthew Salopek had a career-high 17 tackles as the RedHawks held Ball State to just 327 yards of offense.
While Miami’s 2019 MAC Championship victory was two seasons ago, Miami still has 13 starters returning in 2021 that started in that championship game. On offense:
Andrew Homer, Rusty Feth, Jaylon Bester, Tyre Shelton, Brett Gabbert, Pete Nank, Caleb Shaffer and Jack Sorenson all started in the 26-21 win over CMU. Defensively, Mike Brown, Sterling Weatherford, Ryan McWood, Kameron Butler and Ben Kimpler return in 2021. In all, Miami has 26 players on the 2021 roster that participated in the 2019 MAC Championship Game.
Miami finished a perfect 5-0 at home during the 2019 season (1-0 in 2020) and has won 12 straight at Yager Stadium. Miami’s last home loss was on Sept. 29, 2018. In all, when Miami hosts Buffalo on Oct. 16, it will be 1,137 days since Miami’s last loss at home.
Since early in the 2016 season Miami has lost back-to-back MAC games just once in that span. In fact, Miami is now 9-1 following a MAC loss under Martin, dating back to Oct. 15, 2016.
MARTIN VS. THE MAC SINCE 2016
Miami is 28-10 versus MAC opponents over its last 38 games, best in the conference in that span. Over that time, Miami has outscored its opponents 1,079-816.
THE OPENING KICK
The Ohio football team (1-7, 1-3 MAC) is back in action to start midweek MACtion this Tuesday, Nov. 2 when the Bobcats host Miami (4-4, 3-1 MAC) for the 97th edition of the ‘Battle of the Bricks.’ Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. inside Peden Stadium. The game can be seen on ESPNU where Mike Couzens and Dustin Fox will have the call. The Bobcats’ matchup can also be heard on the Ohio Sports Network from Learfield. Russ Eisenstein returns for his 14th season as the “Voice of the Bobcats” and will be joined by Ohio alum Rob Cornelius, who has been a part of the broadcasts for two decades.
SERIES HISTORY VS. MIAMI
This is the 97th all-time meeting between the Bobcats and Miami, with Ohio trailing the series, 40-54-2. Ohio and Miami last met Nov. 6, 2019, with falling, 24-21 inside Peden Stadium. The Bobcats and RedHawks did not battle last season due to Covid-19. Ohio looks to snap a two-game losing streak against the RedHawks.
LAST MATCHUP VS. MIAMI
Ohio and Miami last met Nov. 6, 2019, with falling, 24-21 inside Peden Stadium. Ohio outgained Miami, 374-278, but lost the turnover battle, 2-0, with two lost fumbles. Nathan Rourke finished the contest with 89 rushing yards on 16 attempts while completing 15 of his 27 passing attempts for 133 yards. He has now scored 46 career rushing touchdowns, moving him into second place in program history as he passed Kalvin McRae (45; 2004-07). Tuggle added 74 rushing yards on 12 touches while hauling in a team-high four receptions. Defensively, redshirt senior free safety Javon Hagan (Jacksonville, Fla.) registered a team-high nine total tackles with a team-high five solo stops. Miami freshman quarterback Brett Gabbert completed 10-of-18 passes for 149 yards and a score while junior running back Jaylon Bester compiled 84 rushing yards and two rushing touchdowns on 15 attempts. Three RedHawks registered double-digit tackles, with McWood leading the way
Miami enters the matchup with the Bobcats with a 4-4 record and a 3-1 mark in MAC play, while currently leading the MAC East. Miami averages 22.9 points a game, while allowing 22.2 points a game. The RedHawks average 138.0 rushing yards per game, while also averaging 242.0 yards in the air. Quarterback AJ Mayer has played in seven games, going 67-of-124 with 943 yards and six touchdowns, while Brett Gabbert has played in five games, going 66-of-113 for 929 yards and eight touchdowns.
On the ground, Keyon Mozee has 342 yards on 80 carries with three touchdowns, while on the receiving end, Jack Sorenson adds 42 catches for 703 yards on five touchdowns.
LAST TIME OUT
The Ohio Bobcats (1-7, 1-3) fell to the Kent State Golden Flashes (4-4, 3-1) on Saturday afternoon (Oct. 23) by a score of 34-27. In a game that saw 37 total points scored in the second half, the Bobcats were led offensively by Kurtis Rourke, who threw for 308 yards and rushed for a career-high two touchdowns; while on the defensive side of the ball, Cannon Blauser led the effort with a career-high 14 total tackles, including 1.5 tackles for loss.
Ohio is 1-7 overall and 1-3 in the MAC after falling to Kent State last Saturday. Overall, the Bobcats are averaging 21.1 points per game to go along with 360.1 total yards per game. De’Montre Tuggle leads the ground game with 553 yards, while averaging 69.1 yards per game with four touchdowns. O’Shaan Allison adds 303 yards on the ground, while Armani Rogers adds 459 yards on 70 carries and a team-leading six touchdowns. Quarterback Kurtis Rourke is 103-of-150 with 946 yards, four touchdowns and four interceptions. Meanwhile, quarterback Armani Rogers is 29-of-46 with 350 yards. Tyler Walton leads the receivers with 25 catches for 277 yards and two touchdowns.
AN NCAA RECORD THAT MIGHT NEVER BE BROKEN
On Oct. 16 at Buffalo, quarterback Armani Rogers, on the first play of Ohio’s second drive, took the ball to his left, sprinting 99 yards for the touchdown. The run set a new NCAA record for the longest run by a quarterback. The mark was previously held by Mark Malone who ran for a 98-yard touchdown in 1979.
WHAT A GAME FOR KURTIS
Quarterback Kurtis Rourke led Ohio against Kent State last Saturday. Rourke led the Bobcats this past week against Kent State. After entering the game in the first
quarter, Rourke set career highs by completing 31-of-38 passes, good for an 81 percent completion rating. He also passed for a career-high 308 yards. On the ground, Rourke rushed for 49 yards on seven carries, scoring two of the Bobcats’ three touchdowns.
MAC MALE SCHOLAR ATHLETE OF THE WEEK
After his performance against Kent State, Kurtis Rourke was named the MAC Mal Scholar Athlete of the week on Oct. 27.
Wed., Nov. 3 @ 7:00 pm ET
Central Michigan Chippewas at Western Michigan Broncos
Central Michigan Chippewas
The Starting Lineup
SETTING THE SCENE
• Central Michigan (4-4, 2-2 Mid-American Conference) heads to Kalamazoo on Wednesday for a rivalry game at Western Michigan (5-3, 2-2 MAC).
• The contest is scheduled for a 7 p.m. kickoff and will be broadcast on ESPNU with Drew Carter (play-by-play) and Eric Mac Lain (analyst) calling the action.
• A win over Western Michigan will give Coach McElwain 60 career victories.
CENTRAL MICHIGAN-WMU SERIES
• Central Michigan has met Western Michigan 92 times, with the Chippewas holding a 39- 51-2 all-time series record. WMU won the last meeting, 52-44, in Mount Pleasant, the highest scoring game in series history.
• The road team has won this match up in seven of the last nine meetings.
• Central Michigan’s last victory against the Broncos came at Waldo Stadium in 2017, 35-28. CMU trailed 28-14 in that game entering the fourth quarter but scored 21-unanswered points in the final frame to earn the victory.
• Since transitioning to Division I in 1975, CMU is 27-18-1 against WMU.
• Several of Central Michigan’s greatest games in program history have taken place against its in-state adversary, including wins in 1975, 1980, 1998, 2000, 2004, 2007, 2010 and 2017.
BATTLE FOR THE CANNON TROPHY
• Today’s winner will capture the CMUWMU Rivalry Trophy, given each year to the winner of the Central-Western game.
• Since it debuted in 2008, WMU has captured the trophy eight times while CMU has won it five times.
• The student government associations at CMU and WMU collaborated to create the trophy. One side of the wood statue is maroon and lists each of CMU’s victories over the Broncos. The opposite side is brown and notes each of the Broncos’ wins in the series.
• A cannon sits atop the trophy, representing the cannon that is fired at CMU’s Kelly/Shorts Stadium and WMU’s Waldo Stadium.
• Running back Lew Nichols III has followed up an outstanding season last year when he became the sixth CMU player to be named the Mid-American Conference Freshman of the Year with another great year. Nichols leads the MAC with 919 rushing yards, ranking fourth in the nation. His per game average of 114.88 also leads the league and ranks eighth nationally.
• The previous CMU winners of the MAC FOTY award were quarterbacks Jeff Bender (1988) and Dan LeFevour (2006), running backs Silas Massey (1995) and Jerry Seymour (2003), and wide receiver Antonio Brown (2007).
• Last season, Nichols ran for a team-high 508 yards on 78 carries, an average of 6.5 yards per carry. He had five total touchdowns (four rushing, one receiving) and caught 10 passes for 109 yards.
• Nichols was named to the Doak Walker Award Watch List. The award goes to the top running back in college football.
• Nichols passed 1,000 career rushing yards in the game at Miami (Ohio). That game was the running back’s 15th career game but he is a redshirt freshman due to preserving his redshirt by only playing four games in 2019 and having the 2020 season not count against his eligibility.
• Nichols also ranks fourth in the nation in all-purpose yards with 1,130. The redshirt freshman has 31 receptions for 211 yards this season. The 31 catches ranks fifth in the nation among running backs
• Nichols needs 81 yards to become the first CMU freshman to rush for 1,000 yards since Ontario Sneed with 1,065 yards in 2005.
News & Notes
• Bernhard Raimann is one of the rising stars in college football with a unique backstory.
• Raimann started playing football at age 14 in Vienna, Austria as a wide receiver/ cornerback. He came to the United States as an exchange student in 2015 and lived with the Ferris family (father, Rollie, lettered at CMU from 1995-97, and son, Tyden, is currently a member of the CMU roster). Raimann played at Delton-Kellogg HS and earned a scholarship offer from CMU.
• Signed with the 2017 class but grey-shirted as he went back to Austria to complete his mandatory military service.
• Arrived at CMU in January 2018 at 6-foot-7, 240-pounds, played in all 12 games and started four as a tight end during the 2018 season.
• Raimann played the 2019 season at tight end, seeing action in all 14 games with seven starts and caught 10 passes for 76 yards.
• During the shortened spring practice in 2020, moved to left tackle and started all six games at left tackle during the 2020 season.
• Raimann was named to the 2022 Reese’s Senior Bowl watch list. He was also included on Bruce Feldman’s Freaks List, coming in at No. 26.
• Raimann graduated in May, 2021 with a 3.80 grade point average as an actuarial science & statistics double major with a mathematics minor. He is currently in an
accelerated master’s program in applied statistics and analytics.
• He received the MAC Medal of Excellence in 2021, one of the top awards for student-athletes in the conference. It is given to individuals who exhibit athletics
excellence, leadership, and service. Reimann also earned the CMU Pat Podoll Outstanding Academic Achievement Award. The award goes to two senior student-athletes, one male and one female, with the highest grade point average among all senior student-athletes.
• Central Michigan features one of the best receiving duos in the nation in junior Kalil Pimpleton and JaCorey Sullivan, a senior.
• Both earned First Team All-MAC honors in 2019 while Pimpleton was also named a first-team all-leaguer as a punt returner. Pimpleton earned second-team honors last
season at wide receiver.
• The pair have combined to catch 216 passes for 2,729 yards and 16 touchdowns over the past three seasons.
• Both hail from Muskegon and were born one day apart (Pimpleton is the oldest). They have been playing football together since fourth grade and were teammates on the Muskegon High School team that posted a 12-2 record and finished as the state runner-up in 2016.
• Pimpleton played quarterback in high school while Sullivan was a wide receiver. The two connected on a pass last season with Pimpleton tossing a 30-yard strike to
Sullivan in the Western Michigan game. It was Sullivan’s longest reception of the season.
• Pimpleton has been named to the Paul Hornung Award Watch List. The award goes to the most versatile player in college football. Last season, he carried the ball 16 times for 134 yards and completed five of his eight pass attempts for 149 yards.
• CMU leads the Mid-American Conference in passing offense with 288.0 yards per game. This is more than 30 yards per game then second place Eastern Michigan (256.6). Central Michigan only averaged 202.3 yards passing per game last season. CMU has three receivers with at least 30 catches this year – Kalil Pimpleton (38), Dallas Dixon (36), Lew Nichols (31) and JaCorey Sullivan (30)
• Explosive plays were a big part of Central Michigan’s success the past 3 years. In CMU victories, the Chippewas have had 34 scoring plays that covered at least 25 yards.
• The Chippewas have been strong with their third-down defense this season, allowing opponents to convert just 33 of 113 opportunities (29%). That is first in the MAC and ranks sixth in the nation. Last year, CMU allowed opposing teams to convert 45% (40-89) of their third-down opportunities.
• Central Michigan continues to be one of the top teams in stopping the run. CMU is only allowing 134.1 rushing yards per game this season, which ranks second in the MAC. Central Michigan ranked third in the MAC (130.5 per game) last season in rushing yards allowed. The Chippewas ranked second in the MAC and 24th in the nation in rush defense in 2019, allowing 122.8 yards per game.
• At LSU, the Chippewas scored a defensive touchdown for the first time in coach McElwain’s tenure. CMU’s Devonni Reed returned an interception 20 yards for a TD versus the Tigers. The last time CMU scored a defensive TD was in the 2018 season finale against Toledo, a fumble return by defensive end Mike Danna. Central Michigan’s last interception returned for a score came at home against Eastern Michigan in 2017.
SPECIAL TEAMS NOTES
• True freshman Josh Rolston took over the kickoff duties this season and already has 17 touchbacks this year compared three by CMU in the entire 2020 season. CMU’s
opponent average starting yard line this year is the 28 compared to the 31 last season.
• Marshall Meeder was recognized as the MAC West Division Special Teams Player of the Week and named a Star of the Week by the Lou Groza Award after kicking four field goals against Toledo including the game winner. Meeder connected from 46, 51, 44 and 38 yards in overtime to becoming the first Chippewa since David Harman in 2012 to make four field goals in a game.
HAIRSTON EXPLODES ON THE SCENE
• Troy Hairston II became just the third CMU student-athlete to earn the MAC Defensive Player of the Year Award last season, joining Dan Bazuin (2005) and Ray Bentley (1982).
• Hairston led the MAC in both sacks (5.5) and tackles-for-loss (12) in 2020. Nationally, he ranked second in tackles-for-loss and 10th in sacks per game. He shared the Defensive Player of the Year Award with Ball State linebacker Brandon Martin.
• The senior defensive end is a converted linebacker who also earned First Team AllMAC honors last season.
• Hairston has been named to the Bednarik Award Watch List. The award goes to the top defensive player in college football.
• Hairston came to CMU as a regular student in the Fall of 2016 and joined the program as an equipment manager in the following spring. He earned a walk-on spot during preseason camp in 2017 and saw his first action in 2018 on special teams and at linebacker.
• Hairston leads the MAC with 8.0 tackles-forloss this year and is second in sacks with 5.5.
COMEBACKS UNDER COACH MAC
• Three times during Coach McElwain’s tenure the Chippewas have come back from double-digit deficits in the fourth quarter to win a game.
• CMU trailed 41-31 at Ball State in 2019 heading into the fourth quarter. A pair of Tommy Lazzaro rushing touchdowns including one with 1:01 left in the game
helped Central Michigan post a 45-44 victory. CMU trailed by 17 three times in that game (20-3, 34-17 and 41-24).
• Last season, Central Michigan headed into the fourth quarter trailing at Eastern Michigan, 20-6, before 25 points in the final frame gave CMU a 31-23 victory. The
Chippewas scored 17 points in the final 4:34 of the game to secure the victory.
• Against FIU earlier this year, CMU trailed 27-10 with 11 minutes left in the game before three Daniel Richardson touchdown passes gave Central Michigan a 31-27
victory. The final score was a 27-yard pass to Dallas Dixon with 1:18 left in the game. The Chippewas had 293 yards of total offense, 267 passing, in the fourth quarter.
• The victory over FIU was the biggest fourth quarter comeback by a CMU squad since the 1987 season. The Chippewas rallied from 17 down at home against Western
Michigan that year, capturing a 30-27 victory over the Broncos.
• Linebacker Troy Brown burst onto the scene in 2019, earning First Team All-MAC honors and the Herb Deromedi Team Most Valuable Player Award. He followed that up with first team all-conference honors last season. He is trying to become the first CMU linebacker since Nick Bellore (2008-10) to earn first team all-conference recognition three times.
• Over the past two seasons, Brown has posted 133 tackles (106 solo), 24.5 tacklesfor-loss and 5.5 sacks. Those are the program’s top marks in total tackles, solo
tackles and TFLs.
• Brown has been named to the Bronko Nagurski Trophy and Bednarik Award watch lists.
• In 2019, Brown ranked second in the MAC and 20th nationally in solo tackles and was 23rd nationally in tackles-for-loss.
• Brown, a junior, moved to linebacker from the secondary prior to the 2019 season. He played almost exclusively on special teams as a redshirt freshman in 2018.
• Brown was selected a team captain in 2019.
JOIN THE PARTY
• Dallas Dixon was a breakout player for the Chippewas in 2020 after sitting out the previous season due to transfer rules • Despite missing the final two games last season, Dixon was second among CMU players in receiving yards (263) and fourth in receptions (13). He opened the scoring against NIU with a 58-yard touchdown
grab on CMU’s second offensive play of the game. It was CMU’s longest reception of the season.
• Dixon averaged 20.2 yards per catch, which ranked fifth in the conference and 16th nationally.
• The junior played at Northern Michigan in 2017, catching 11 balls for 260 yards and two touchdowns. He didn’t play football in 2018.
• Luke Elzinga earned the Ray Guy Award Punter of the Week for his performance at LSU earlier this season.
• Elzinga, a freshman from Grand Rapids, punted six times for 294 yards, an average of 49.17 yards per punt. Four of his punts were downed inside the LSU 20-yard line, his longest punt traveled 60 yards, and three of his punts went at least 50 yards. Only two of Elizinga’s punt were returned for a total of minus-1 yard.
• On the season, Elzinga is averaging 41.8 yards per punt. Fourteen of his 37 punts have been downed inside the opponent 20-yard line and he has seven 50+ boots. He
ranks fifth in the MAC in punting average and tied for second in punts downed inside the opponent 20-yard line.
• CMU had both its place kicker and punter earn First Team All-MAC honors last season. Luke Elzinga was the first CMU punter to earn first team all-conference recognition while Marshall Meeder was the third Chippewa PK selected to the first team. The others were Rade Savich, 1977, and Chuck Selinger, 1993.
• Meeder made all eight of his field goal attempts and 16 of his 17 extra point tries in the 2020 season, ranking second on the team with 40 points. He made four field goals from 40 yards or more and two of 50 plus, including a career-best 53-yarder at Toledo. That kick was the longest by a MAC placekicker in 2020 and it ties for the fourth longest in CMU history. He was named to the The Athletic Freshman All-America Team.
Meeder, a freshman from Eaton Rapids, is one of 30 placekickers nationwide named to the Lou Groza Collegiate Placekicker Award Watch List. He is the lone student-athlete from a MAC school on the list.
• Elzinga ranked second in the MAC last year with a 43.2-yard average and 13 of his 33 punts were downed inside the 20-yard line. Six of his punts in 2020 traveled 50 yards or more and his 76-yarder against Ohio was the longest by a MAC punter in the 2020 season.
• Elzinga, a redshirt freshman from Grand Rapids, is one of 51 punters nationwide named to the Ray Guy Award Watch List.
• Long snapper Frank Lama was fantastic last season with zero failed snaps on extra points, field goal tries, or punts. Lama was named by Phil Steele to the all-conference third team.
Western Michigan Broncos
BRONCOS VS. CENTRAL MICHIGAN
• Wednesday marks the 92nd all-time meeting between the institutions. WMU has not played more contests against any opponent in its history.
• The rivalry dates back to 1907, and has been played every year since 1973.
• The Broncos lead the all-time series, 51-38-2.
• WMU has won three in a row, six of the last seven, and eight of the last 10 since 2011.
SCOUTING CENTRAL MICHIGAN (4-4, 2-2 MAC West)
• The Chippewas went 2-2 in non-conference play with wins over Robert Morris (45-0) and Florida International (31-27), and losses at Missouri (34-24) and LSU (49-21).
• CMU opened MAC play with a 28-17 setback at Miami, and a 30-27 win at Ohio. The Chips then came away with a dramatic 26-23 overtime victory over Toledo at home.
• Last week on Oct. 23, Central Michigan led 28-10 in the first half and 35-18 with under 10 minutes to go against Northern Illinois in Mount Pleasant, but fell short as the visiting Huskies responded with two touchdowns, a two-point conversion, and came away with a 39-38 victory. CMU had a chance to take the lead with seven seconds remaining, but missed on a 40-yard field goal attempt.
THE LAST MEETING
• For the third year in a row the Western Michigan football team secured the Victory Cannon Trophy as the Broncos defeated Central Michigan, 52-44 on the road at Kelly/Shorts Stadium on Nov. 19, 2020.
• The two teams combined for over 1,000 yards of offense with WMU outdueling CMU 628-406. Kaleb Eleby finished the night with a career-high 382 yards passing and a career-mark of five touchdown passes. Eleby also rushed for a touchdown. Redshirt senior wide receiver D’Wayne Eskridge led all Broncos with 212 yards receiving and three touchdowns on just four receptions. Receiver Jaylen Hall had a career-high 110 yards receiving with two touchdowns on four catches, while running back La’Darius Jefferson had a fantastic showing with 33 rushes for 150 yards. Sean Tyler rushed for 97 yards and a touchdown on 15 carries before leaving with an injury.
• WMU’s defense recorded four sacks on the night, while A.J. Thomas and Marcus Kneeland finished tied for the team lead with six tackles each. Thomas had two tackles for loss, including a sack.
• Central Michigan jumped out to a 14-0 lead after a quick three-play 75-yard drive to open the game and followed it up with a short touchdown drive after an Eleby interception just 3:32 into the game. From there the Broncos rattled off 38 straight points to flip the game on its head
BRONCOS IN THE BACKFIELD
• WMU’s one-two punch of sophomore Sean Tyler and junior La’Darius Jefferson have combined for 1,156 yards on 239 carries (4.8 avg) with 13 touchdowns.
• Tyler has 106 rushes for 631 yards and four scores, while Jefferson has 133 carries for 525 yards and nine touchdowns.
• Both Tyler and Jefferson have each had nine or more carries in all eight games this year. •Senior running back Jaxson Kincaide figured heavily into the mix against Kent State, rushing for 61 yards and two touchdowns on just nine carries.
THIRD DOWN DOMINATION
• In Western Michigan’s five wins the season, opponents combined to go 11-for-59 on third downs, converting at just a 18.6 percent rate.
• On the season, opponents are 28-for-98 on third downs, 29.2 percent, good for seventh in the nation.
LIVING IN THE MOMENT
• Redshirt Junior linebacker Corvin Moment is third in the MAC in tackles for loss (9.5), and has been one of the most consistent performers on the WMU defense.
• In addition to his TFLs, Moment has totaled 47 tackles, 2.5 sacks, and THREE forced fumbles.
BACK WITH A VENGEANCE
• Senior linebacker A.J. Thomas missed four games due to injury this season, and since his return he has been a man possessed.
• In his three games back, he totaled nine solo tackles against Ball State, finished with three tackles, a pass breakup and a sack against Kent State, and had six
tackles at Toledo.
• In the season opener, he had 10 total tackles at Michigan.
• The Bronco defense finished with eight sacks as a unit against San Jose State, the most since they came away with eight sacks against Central Michigan in a 49-10
win on Oct. 1, 2016. The team has only had two games with eight or more sacks since 2006.
• Defensive linemen Ali Fayad (6.5) and Ralph Holley (5.0) are FIRST and FOURTH, respectively, in sacks in the conference.
SHUTTING DOWN THE RUN
• After opening the season giving up 335 rushing yards to the Michigan Wolverines the Broncos have clamped down on the run.
• WMU allowed just 28 yards on the ground in the win over Illinois State and then just 75 in the victory at Pittsburgh, and 60 during the win vs. SJSU. Against Buffalo, the Bulls ran for 131 yards. Against Ball State, the Cardinals ran for just 65 net yards, averaging 2.3 yards per carry.
• The Broncos lead the MAC in rushing defense (126.3 yards per game), and total defense (320.8 yards per game).
Wed., Nov. 3 @ 7:00 pm ET
Northern Illinois Huskies at Kent State Golden Flashes
Northern Illinois Huskies
• NIU plays on the road in back-to-back games for the only time this season when the Huskies travel to Kent State for a Wednesday night #MACtion contest at Dix Stadium.
• The Huskies have won five straight, the latest a 39-38 nail-biter at Central MIchigan as freshman Kanon Woodill kicked a game-winning field goal with 54 seconds to play.
• Woodill and quarterback Rocky Lombardi, who threw for a career high 348 yards on 17-of-27 passing with three TDs at CMU, earned NIU’s ninth and 10th MAC Player of the Week honors of the season.
• NIU and Kent State meet for the first time since 2017; the Huskies have won the last 10 meetings dating back to 2001
• After going 0-6 a year ago, NIU’s turnaround has come with a roster that includes 75 players who finished high school in 2020 or 2021 and 11 more who graduated in 2019; of those 86 players, 48 have seen action for NIU in 2021 and 32 are listed on the two-deep this week.
• A nation-leading five of the Huskies’ eight games to date have been decided by a touchdown or less; NIU won the Georgia Tech, Toledo and Central Michigan games by scoring in the last minute of play.
• Four different NIU players have run for 100 or more yards in a game seven times this season with freshmen accounting for six of those performances, most recently by Jay Ducker with 210 and 183 yard efforts versus Bowling Green and Central Michigan, respectively.
• Second-year freshman C.J. Brown leads the Huskies in tackles from his safety spot with 58, while rover Dillon Thomas’ five tackles for loss and three sacks top the NIU charts in those categories.
• NIU boasts the No. 12 rushing offense in the country and the top rushing offense in the MAC with a per game average of 232.9 yards per game.
• NIU head coach Thomas Hammock, a two-time first team CoSIDA Academic All-American who rushed for over 1,000 yards for the Huskies in 2000 and 2001, is in his third season as head coach at his alma mater. He is one of three former NIU players on the football coaching staff.
LIGHTS, CAMERA, MACTION: After a 10-day “mini-bye” as league teams transition to the traditional Mid-American Conference weekday schedule in November, NIU returns to the road to face Kent State and will play back-to-back road games for the only time this season.
BOWLING, AGAIN: With the win at CMU, NIU won its sixth game and secured bowl eligibility for the first time since 2018. One of the MAC’s premiere programs this century, the Huskies will play in a bowl game for the 11th time in the last 14 years and for the 13th time since 2004 – a span of 18 years. Thomas Hammock is the fifth coach to take the Huskies to a bowl game during that time.
FIVE IN A ROW: NIU’s current five-game winning streak is its longest since the 2018 team won six straight games between Sept. 29 and Nov. 7 en route to a spot in the MAC Championship game. That streak included five league wins and a 7-6 victory at BYU.
PERFECT IN CONFERENCE: NIU is the only MAC team to win each of its first four conference games. The last Huskie team to go 4-0 in conference games was the 2018
squad that won its first six league contests.
LAST TIME OUT: Freshman kicker Kanon Woodill booted a 26-yard field goal with 54 seconds to play and Central Michigan’s last second field goal attempt was thwarted by a bad snap as the Huskies overcame a 17-point third quarter deficit to earn a 39-38 win in Mt. Pleasant. Trayvon Rudolph caught six passes for 160 yards and two touchdowns, including a 75-yarder, completed a two-point conversion pass and ran for seven yards to convert a fourth down on the game-winning drive. Quarterback Rocky Lombardi threw for 348 yards, Jay Ducker ran 31 times for 183 yards and the NIU defense held CMU to 10 second-half points.
SOLID START: With a 6-2 record through eight games, NIU has matched its best start since 2017. The last Huskie team to win seven of its first nine games was the 2014 group that went 10-2 in the regular season and went on to win the MAC Championship.
FULL SLATE: After playing a six-game, all Mid-American Conference schedule in November and December last year, NIU and the rest of the MAC have returned to a full 12-game slate in 2021. The Huskies faced their five MAC West foes and played one crossover game versus Buffalo out of the East Division in 2020.
HUSKIES IN THE MAC: NIU is 160-111-2 all-time in Mid-American Conference play. The Huskies are 124-66 (.653) in league action since re-joining the MAC in 1997. Since 2010, NIU is 69-21 (.767) against the MAC with three undefeated campaigns, two one-loss seasons, seven division championships, including a run of six-straight. The Huskies are in their 36th season as a member of the league in 2021, including an initial stint from 1975-85.
BEASTS OF THE EAST?: NIU has won 26 of its last 30 regular season games versus MAC East Division opponents and is 30-5 versus MAC East teams since 2008. Buffalo
joined Miami and Ohio as the only MAC East foes to defeat the Huskies in regular season games with its 49-30 win over NIU last year in the only “crossover” game played during the shortened COVID-19 season. The Huskies are 4-3 versus the MAC East in conference title games since 2010, defeating Ohio (2011), Kent State (2012), Bowling Green (2014) and Buffalo (2018), while falling to Miami (2010) and Bowling Green (2013 & 2015). NIU vs. the MAC East (regular season since 2008)
Buffalo 6-1 Bowling Green 5-0
Kent State 6-0 Miami 4-2
Akron 5-0 Ohio 3-2
MIDWEEK MACTION: NIU is 23-9 in league games played on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays since 2010, including a 10-3 mark in MACtion road games.
SERIES HISTORY: Wednesday night’s game between Kent State and NIU will be the 29th meeting all time between the two schools, making the Golden Flashes NIU’s most frequent MAC East foe. NIU leads the all-time series, 21-7, and has won the last 10 games between the teams dating back to 2001, although NIU and Kent State have not played since 2017. The Huskies are 8-5 all-time in games played in Kent with wins in each of the last four meetings in Dix Stadium. In MAC competition, NIU leads the all-time series 19-3, including a 44-37 double overtime victory in the 2012 MAC Championship game.
INFREQUENT FOE: After facing the Golden Flashes six times in seven years between 2011 and 2017, NIU and Kent State will meet for the first time in four seasons on Wednesday, and the Huskies have not played at Dix Stadium since the 2016 season finale. Linebacker Lance Deveaux Jr. is the only player who was on NIU’s current roster for that game; he recorded a tackle for loss and a pass break up as a true freshman.
Kent State Golden Flashes
The Opening Kick
• Kent State picked up their first MAC road victory of the season, 34-27 at Ohio University
• Dustin Crum threw for 257 yards and a score and ran for 93 more and a second score, Crum earned MAC Player of the Week honors
• Dante Cephas kept his hot streak going, recording 103 yards receiving and Crum’s one touchdown pass
• Cephas is in the top three of the MAC in receptions, yards and TDs
• He was named to the Biletnikoff Award Watch List this week, the award is given to the top pass catcher in the FBS that season
• The Flashes ran for exactly 200 yards against the Bobcats, they sit
16th in the FBS and average over 220 yards per game
• Kent State has done it with balance:Cooper, Crum and Xavier Williams all rank in the MAC’s top-20 rushers
• Kent State brings back the vast majority of its starters on offense and defense in 2021. The Flashes bring back 19 of 25 starters in 2021 including nine each on the offense and defense
• Headlining the returners is quarterback Dustin Crum, Crum was named to six different watch lists in 2020 and produced a 12:2 TD/ INT ratio and led the MAC in completion percentage at 73.2
• Since becoming the starter in week two of 2019, Crum has thrown 41 touchdowns against just six interceptions
• Crum was named to the Davey O’Brien Quarterback class of 2021, putting him on the ballot to be one of 16 semi-finalists
• The veteran defense has swarmed to the ball this season, they are second in the FBS with 13 interceptions and are third in the NCAA with 19 forced turnovers
• Elvis Hines, Montre Miller and Keith Sherald are all tied for seventh in the NCAA with three picks each
• Twenty-one of the returning Golden Flashes (26%) have already earned their undergraduate degree and are either in post-graduate or graduate school classes this fall
• One of those graduates is wide receiver Isaac Vance, who has had a busy offseason. Vance has been named to the NCAA StudentAthlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) as he serves as the president of SAAC at Kent State and sits on the MAC’s executive SAAC board. Vance also is one of two student-athletes that sits on the Division-I
Football Oversight Committee