Friday, March 31, 2023

CFB Week 4 Previews: Mid-American Conference

Saturday, September 25
Bowling Green (1-2) at Minnesota (2-1) | Noon (ESPNU)
Bowling Green returns to the road to face the Minnesota Golden Gophers of the Big Ten Conference…LB Darren Anders is one of two players in the nation this season with 25+ tackles (29), one interception, one fumble recovery, one forced fumble and one sack. Utah’s Devin Lloyd is the other player. Anders currently ranks No. 17 in the nation and No. 2 in the MAC with 9.7 tackles per game…QB Matt McDonald is No. 14 in the nation and No. 2 in the MAC in completion percentage. He also ranks No. 1 in the MAC in completions per game (23.33), passing yards (716) and passing yards per game (238.7). McDonald is 3rd in the MAC in total offense (231.3).

Miami (1-2) at Army (3-0) | Noon (CBS Sports Network)
Miami concludes its non-conference schedule this Saturday with a trip to face the Army Black Knights. Led by a strong rushing attack and key defensive plays, the RedHawks downed Long Island 42-7 for their first win of the season. Miami out-gained LIU 523-216 and held a 229-39 advantage on the ground. While the defense did not force a turnover, they did have 11 tackles for loss and held LIU to just 1.0 yard per carry on the ground.

FIU (1-2) at Central Michigan (1-2) | Noon (ESPN+)
Central Michigan hosts FIU for its final road non-conference game of the season. In CMU’s last home game, the squad tallied a shutout against Robert Morris, its first since a 37-0 victory over UMass in 2013. CMU dominated the game, holding RMU to three first downs, 109 total yards (13 passing, 96 rushing) and 1-12 on third down…The Chippewas have been strong with their third-down defense this season, allowing opponents to convert just 8 of 34 opportunities (24%). That leads the Mid-American Conference and ranks sixth in the nation.

Ohio (0-3) at Northwestern (1-2) | Noon (BTN)
Ohio continues their three-game road trip on Saturday, Sept. 25 when they Bobcats head to Evanston, Ill. for a matchup with Big Ten opponent, Northwestern. Ohio is 0-3 to start the season for the first time since 2008, in a year in which they started the season 0-4 following their last matchup with Northwestern. Overall, the Bobcats are averaging 16.3 points per game to go along with 301.0 total yards per game…O’Shaan Allison leads on the ground with 167 yards, while DeMontre Tuggle adds 122 yards and one touchdown…Quarterback Kurtis Rourke is 40-of-70 with 416 yards, three touchdowns and one interceptions. While, Tyler Walton leads the receivers with 14 catches for 118 yards and two touchdowns.

*Toledo (1-2) at Ball State (1-2) | 2:00 pm (ESPN+)
Toledo is coming off a 22-6 home loss to Colorado State on Sept. 18. Toledo’s defense held CSU’s offense out of the end zone but five Ram field goals and a 70-yard punt return for a touchdown was enough for the win. The Rockets rank first in the MAC in total defense (347.7) and second in scoring defense (21.3). Bryant Koback has 2,824 career rushing yards, eighth on Toledo’s all-time list. He needs 296 yards to pass Jalen Parmele (3,119 from 2004- 07) for No. 7 on the list. Ball State lost at Wyoming last Saturday, 45-12. Despite trailing in the all-time series 24-21-1, the Cardinals have won the last two duels vs. Toledo, including last season’s 27-24 win at the Glass Bowl. In MAC play alone, QB Drew Plitt has thrown for 3,992 yards with 31 touchdowns compared to 14 interceptions while completing 64.2 percent of his passes through 17 games under center in league action.

Texas St. (1-2) at Eastern Michigan (2-1) | 2:00 pm (ESPN+)
Eastern Michigan will close out its 2021 non-conference schedule when it welcomes Texas State University to “The Factory” Saturday, Sept. 25, for the first-ever meeting between the two schools. The Eagles are 2-1 after putting together an impressive 42-28 road victory over Massachusetts Saturday, Sept. 18. The Eagles dominated on the offensive side of the ball, amassing better than 500 yards en route to their best point total of the young season. Although EMU has never played Texas State, it does have plenty of experience against Sun Belt Conference opponents. Eastern holds a 5-7-1 record against teams in the Sun Belt, earning wins over Arkansas State (1976), Coastal Carolina (2019), Louisiana-Lafayette (2006), and Louisiana-Monroe (1970 & 1975), with its last matchup against a Sun Belt member coming in the 2019 season-opener, at Coastal Carolina, Aug. 31. EMU won that game, 30-23.

San Jose St. (2-1) at Western Michigan (2-1) | 2:00 pm (ESPN+)
This is the first meeting between Western Michigan and San Jose State University. WMU has never beaten a team from the Mountain West Conference. Western Michigan defeated Pittsburgh, 44-41, on the road in front of 40,581 fans at Heinz Field on Saturday afternoon. 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. Western Michigan turned the ball over zero times in the win over the Panthers. The Broncos have given up the ball zero times in two of the three games so far this season. Sophomore wide receiver Corey Crooms had a career-high eight receptions in the win over Pittsburgh. He also recorded a career-high 161 yards receiving and his second touchdown reception of the season.

Maine (1-2) at Northern Illinois (1-2) | 2:30 pm (ESPN3)
NIU puts a wrap on its 2021 non-conference schedule when the Huskies welcome the Black Bears of Maine to Huskie Stadium. The Huskies and Maine meet for the first time, the second non-conference debut opponent for NIU this season; NIU also plays a current Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) team for the first time. The Huskie offense has already proven to be more potent than the 2020 version; NIU’s six rushing TDs this year are one less than the seven totaled in six games in 2020 and NIU’s 190.3 rushing yards per game are 63 more per game than the Huskies had a year ago. While Harrison Waylee’s consecutive 100-yard rushing game streak was snapped at four by Michigan, the freshman from Iowa continues to lead the MAC and rank in the top 12 in the country in rushing yards (119.0/game). Waylee ran for
a career high 179 yards versus Wyoming, the highest total by a Huskie since 2016.

Kent State (1-2) at Maryland (3-0) | 3:30 pm (BTN)
Kent State is coming off a hard-fought 30-7 loss at Iowa. Keshunn Abram had a career day for the Flashes, grabbing six passes for 138 yards and a score. Kent State finished third last year in rushing yards per game averaging 283. This season, they rushed for 494 against VMI and 226 against Texas A & M, the most allowed by the Aggies in nearly two years even after tough sledding against Iowa, the Flashes still rank 9th in rushing in the FBS, averaging 266 yards per game.

Buffalo (1-2) at Old Dominion (1-2) | 6:00 pm (ESPN+)
This is the first meeting between Buffalo and Old Dominion. Buffalo is coming off a hard-fought 28-25 loss to #16 Coastal Carolina last Saturday. The Bulls lead the MAC in scoring offense (32.3) and scoring defense (21.0). Defensive end Taylor Riggins led the Bulls with seven tackles, two sacks, three tackles for loss and two forced fumbles. Through three games this season, the Bulls have run more plays and won the time of possession against each opponent. The Bulls ran 28 more plays than Wagner, 22 more plays than Nebraska and seven more plays than Coastal Carolina.

Akron (1-2) at No. 10 Ohio State (2-1) | 7:30 pm (BTN)
The University of Akron football team returns to the road this week traveling down I-71 for an in-state showdown with No. 10 Ohio State. Akron football team captured its first win of the 2021 season as redshirt sophomore QB DJ Irons led the way with 432 yards of total offense and four touchdowns en route to a 35-14 win over Bryant at InfoCision Stadium-Summa Field on Saturday. Akron generated 514 yards of total offense as Irons collected 296 passing yards and a team-high 136 yards rushing. Irons completed 19-of-23 passes with three touchdowns. Akron limited Bryant to just 146 yards of total offense, 117 yards passing and 29 yards
rushing. Redshirt junior LB Bubba Arslanianled the Zips with 12 total tackles.

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