Wednesday, December 7, 2022
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CFB Week 12 Conference Notes: Mid-American Conference

THIS WEEK IN THE MAC CONFERENCE

GOIN’ BOWLIN’
• With its 52-49 win over Toledo, Nov. 2, Eastern Michigan is bowl eligible for the fourth time in the previous five full seasons, and just the sixth time in program history. EMU has now claimed bowl eligibility in three consecutive seasons for the first time in program history.

• With its win at Central Michigan on October 23, 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.

• Western Michigan earned its sixth win of the season last week, making it bowl eligible for the third time under Tim Lester (Idaho Potato Bowl, 2018, First Responders Bowl, 2019)

• CMU’s victory against Kent State made the Chippewas bowl eligible for the 12th time in the last 15 seasons (2020 excluded) including eight of the last nine non-COVID years. CMU’s last bowl appearance was against San Diego State in the 2019 New Mexico Bowl.

B1G WINS
• The MAC has won a regular season game vs. Big Ten opponents in each of the last 15 consecutive seasons (2006-2021), the longest streak in MAC history. Bowling Green’s 14-10 win at Minnesota on Sept. 25, 2021 extended the streak.

During this 15-year stretch, MAC teams have defeated 12 different Big Ten programs—Illinois (4); Indiana (5); Iowa (3); Maryland (1); Michigan (1); Michigan State (1); Minnesota (3); Nebraska (1); Northwestern (3); Penn State (1); Purdue (6) and Rutgers (2) for a total of 31 wins during this stretch. Miami (13), Bowling Green (9), Toledo (6), Central Michigan (6) and Northern Illinois (6) have the most wins vs. Big Ten opponents.

FLY THE FLAG!
• In addition to Bowling Green’s 14-10 win over Minnesota, Northern Illinois and Western Michigan are also “Flying the Flag” after taking down a pair of ACC foes.
Northern Illinois topped Georgia Tech in thrilling fashion, 22-21.

With the win, the Huskies improved to 3-8 all-time versus teams from the Atlantic Coast Conference. The win also marks the 15thstraight year that a team from the MAC has collected a road win over an autonomous five opponent. Western Michigan topped Pittsburgh, 44-41, on the road in front of 40,581 fans at Heinz Field. The win is the first over a Power 5 conference team for head coach Tim Lester. The Broncos put up 510 yards of offense on Pitt in the win.

NEW FACES
• Ohio University Head Football Coach Frank Solich announced that he is stepping down from his position to focus on his health, after an unprecedented successful sixteen seasons leading the Bobcats, which included eleven bowl appearances, four Mid-American Conference East titles and a Top 25 ranking. Following Solich’s announcement, Director of Athletics Julie Cromer announced that Associate Head Coach and Offensive Coordinator Tim Albin has agreed to become the new head football coach, agreeing to a four-year contract. Albin joined the Ohio

Football coaching staff as offensive coordinator in 2005, reuniting with Frank Solich after four seasons together at Nebraska. The 2021 season will mark Albin’s 17th year in Athens. Since his arrival in Athens, Albin has produced offensive units that have consistently ranked among the top of the Mid-American Conference.

• Maurice Linguist was named the University at Buffalo’s 26th head coach on May 8, 2021. It will be a homecoming of sorts for Linguist who was the Bulls’ defensive backs coach in 2012 and 2013. Linguist is regarded as one of the nation’s top recruiters and has excelled in coaching at both the Power Five level and the NFL. He comes to UB from Michigan where he served a brief stint as defensive backs coach/co-defensive coordinator since January. He joined the U-M coaching staff after spending the 2020 season as cornerbacks coach with the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys.

EXCELLENCE ON & OFF THE FIELD
Western Michigan graduate student Mike Caliendo, Ball State senior Bryce Cosby and Eastern Michigan senior Mike Van Ho- even were named to the 2020-21 CoSIDA Academic All-America Division I Football Team. Caliendo was the only first team selection from the MAC, while Cosby and Van Hoeven were named to the second team.

FOUR MAC STUDENT-ATHLETES SELECTED IN 2021 NFL DRAFT
• The MAC had four draft selections in the 2021 NFL Draft. West- ern Michigan WR/KR/PR D’Wayne Eskridge was selected by Seat- tle in the second round (56th overall), while Buffalo DE Malcolm

Koonce was selected 79th overall in the third round by the Las Ve- gas Raiders. Western Michigan offensive lineman Jaylon Moore became the second Bronco taken in the 2021 NFL Draft, while Tommy Doyle became the first Miami offensive lineman drafted since Brandon Brooks was taken in the third round of the 2012 Draft by the Houston Texans. Moore was selected by the San Francisco 49ers in the fifth round (155th overall), while Doyle was taken by the Buffalo Bills in the fifth round with the 161st pick.

DOUBLE THE MACTION
• For the first time since 2003, the MAC had two teams ranked in the final Associated Press Top 25 Football Poll. Ball State was ranked No. 23, while Buffalo comes in at No. 25. It marks the first- time in program history for both schools to have a team finish the season ranked within the Top 25. In 2003, Miami (No. 10) and
Bowling Green (No. 23) finished the season in the AP Top 25. Ball State finished the season with back-to-back wins over ranked opponents, defeating the Bulls when they were No. 23 and then knocking off No. 19 San Jose State in the Offerpad Arizona Bowl on New Year’s Eve. SJSU is No. 24 in the final poll. Coach Mike Neu’s Cardinals finished 7-1 overall, winning their first-ever bowl game, their first MAC championship since 1996 and their first MAC West Division title since 2008. BSU’s seven-game winning streak at season’s end is tied for the fourth-longest active streak in the FBS.

Buffalo went 6-1 on the season, won the MAC East Division and won a bowl game for the second straight season. The Bulls defeated Marshall, 17-10, in the 2020 Camellia Bowl. The Bulls were ranked as high as 23 by the AP this year. Buffalo finished the 2020 season ranked fifth in the nation in scoring offense (43.4) and second in the nation in rushing offense (287.4).

MAC PROGRAMS IN BOWL GAMES
In the last nine bowl seasons, every MAC football program has received a bowl invitation. Leading is Ohio with bowl invitations in eight of the last nine bowl seasons.

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