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Week 5 Previews: Mid-American Conference

Saturday, October 2
Western Michigan (3-1, 0-0 MAC) at Buffalo (2-2, 0-0 MAC) | Noon ET (CBSSN)
Buffalo football team will open Mid-American Conference play on Saturday when it hosts Western Michigan at UB Stadium. Buffalo is coming off a 35-34 win at Old Dominion last Saturday. Wide receiver Quian Williams led the Bulls with nine receptions for 134 yards and a touchdown in the game. Western Michigan is 3-1 on the season and is coming off a 23-3 win over San Jose State last Saturday. The Broncos are led by quarterback Kaleb Eleby who has passed for 902 yards and seven touchdowns on the season – both tops in the MAC. Western Michigan leads the all-time series, 7-2. The Broncos won the last meeting, 71-68, in seven overtimes at UB Stadium in 2017.

Toledo (2-2, 1-0 MAC) at UMass (0-4) | Noon ET (Flo Sports / NESN+)
Fresh off a big conference victory, the Toledo Rockets will close the book on their non-conference slate with a matchup at UMass. Toledo (2-2, 1-0 MAC) knocked off defending MAC champion Ball State, 22-12, in Muncie, Ind. on Sept. 25. Toledo’s defense did not allow an offensive touchdown for the second straight game and held the Cardinals to 312 yards of total offense. The Rocket defense has now gone eight straight quarters without allowing an offensive touchdown. Offensively, redshirt freshman quarterback Dequan Finn ran for a game-high 106 yards, including a 70-yard touchdown. Junior Devin Maddox once again sparked the Toledo offense with a long touchdown, this time hauling in a 69-yard catch for a score in the first quarter. UMass is looking for its first win following losses to Pittsburgh, Boston College, Eastern Michigan and Coastal Carolina.

Eastern Michigan (3-1, 0-0 MAC) at Northern Illinois (2-2, 0-0 MAC) | 2:30 pm ET (ESPN+)
Eastern Michigan enters the league-opener with a 3-1 record after a historic offensive performance over Texas State, Sept. 25. Meanwhile, NIU is 2-2 after getting its offense going in a 41-14 home win over Maine, Sept. 25. With a win, EMU would move to 4-1 for the first time since the 2016 season. EMU senior quarterback Ben
Bryant threw for a career-high three touchdowns against Texas State, Sept. 25. His performance marked the 42nd time in program history that an EMU QB has thrown for three scores. NIU quarterback Rocky Lombardi became the first Huskie since Anthony Maddie in 2016 (versus Ball State) to gain 400 yards of total offense in a game when he passed for 282 yards and ran for 119 in NIU’s 41-33 win over Maine last week to garner MAC West Co-Offensive Player of the Week honors. With 487 yards through the first four games of 2021, tailback Harrison Waylee is off to the best start by a Huskie runner since 2006, when NIU Hall of Famer Garrett Wolfe ran for 828 rushing yards in the first four games of the season.

Central Michigan (2-2, 0-0 MAC) at Miami (1-3, 0-0 MAC) | 3:30 pm ET (ESPN+)
Central Michigan comes into Saturday’s contest at 2-2- overall with wins over Robert Morris and Florida International. Offensively, the Chips average 30.3 points per game and are led by a pair of quarterbacks in Jacob Sirmon (170.5) and Daniel Richardson (109.3), both who average over 100 passing yards per game. Defensively they allow 27.5 points per game and are led Troy Hairston who has 3.0 sacks on the season. Miami’s defense has forced a turnover in 30 of its last 45 games and is 19-11 in contests when it forces a turnover. The RedHawks’ defense has also recorded a sack in 34 of its last 45 games. Miami finished a perfect 5-0 at home during the 2019 season (1-0 in 2020) and has won 10 straight at Yager Stadium. Miami’s last home loss was on Sept. 29, 2018. In all, when Miami hosts Central Michigan on Oct. 2, it will be 1,099 days since Miami’s last loss at home.

Bowling Green (2-2, 0-0 MAC) at Kent State (1-3, 0-0 MAC) | 3:30 pm ET (ESPN+)
Bowling Green stays on the road when the Falcons travel across Ohio to Kent State on Saturday. The Falcons went to Minnesota and came away with a 14-10 win over the Golden Gophers on Saturday afternoon at Huntington Bank Stadium. Matt McDonald rushed for two touchdowns as the Falcons (now 2-2) ended Minnesota’s 21-game non-conference win streak, the longest in the nation. It was BGSU’s first win over a member of the B1G since beating both Purdue and Maryland on the road in 2015. Kent State is coming off a hard-fought loss at Maryland. Dante Cephas had a career day for the Flashes, grabbing 10 passes for 151 yards and a score. Cephas is the first Flashes’ receiver with a 10-catch day since Isaiah McKoy did it in 2018 at Ball State. Even after tough sledding against Iowa and Maryland, the Flashes still rank 14th in rushing in the FBS, averaging 237 yards per game.

Ohio (0-4, 0-0 MAC) at Akron (1-3, 0-0 MAC) | 3:30 pm ET (ESPN3)
Ohio (0-4) opens MAC play this week when they head to Akron (1-3) to take on the Zips Saturday, Oct. 2. Kickoff is set for 3:30 p.m. Overall, the Bobcats are averaging 13.8 points per game to go along with 312.8 total yards per game. O’Shaan Allison leads on the ground with 202 yards, while DeMontre Tuggle adds 164
yards and one touchdown. Quarterback Kurtis Rourke is 65-of-99 with 582 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions. Akron enters the matchup with Ohio, 1-3 overall after falling to Ohio State, 59-7 on Saturday. The Zips’ lone win came against Bryant on Sept. 18. Overall, Akron averages 19.0 points per game and 323.3 yards per game, with 115.5 rushing and 207.8 passing yards per contest. Quarterback DJ Irons leads Akron, going 58-of-87 with three interceptions and 648 yards and six touchdowns. Irons also leads the Zips in rushing, taking 46 attempts for 182 yards and two touchdowns.

Army (4-0) at Ball State (1-3, 0-1 MAC) | 5:00 pm (ESPN+)
Ball State fifth-year senior wide receiver Justin Hall entered Saturday’s football game versus Toledo 66 yards shy of the breaking the program’s career receiving record. The nation’s active career leader in receptions (281) and the FBS’s leader in consecutive games with a reception (47), Hall wasted little time breaking the
mark. With 6:01 left in the second quarter, he made a 30-yard connection with fifth-year senior quarterback Drew Plitt to climb atop the all-time list. Hall finished the day with game-high 97 receiving yards, including a 35-yard snag on BSU’s first drive of the game, upping his career total to 3,061 and passing Dante Ridgeway’s (2002-04) career mark of 3,030.For the first time since 1996, the Army West Point football team has started off its season 4-0 after defeating the Miami RedHawks by a score of 23-10 on Saturday at Michie Stadium.

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