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INSIDE MAC FOOTBALL 2018 : WEEK TWO

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The Mid-American Conference opened its 2018 football season last weekend going 5-6 with wins for Toledo, Eastern Michigan, Ohio, Buffalo, and Ball State (all against FCS competition).

 


Amongst the losses, Western Michigan and Miami fell in shootouts. Kent State, Central Michigan, Bowling Green, and Northern Illinois had leads early but to Power Five schools while Akron’s game with Nebraska was canceled due to rain and thunderstorms.

 

Here is a look at the 12 teams after week one:

 

EAST DIVISION:

 

AKRON:

The Zips traveled to Lincoln, Nebraska on Saturday to play the Nebraska Cornhuskers from the Big Ten. The game had a short weather delay during pre-game warmups. When the game kicked off an NU was ready to start play the officials called the teams off the field for a second weather delay. This one lasted two hours and 40 minutes with heavy rain and lightning around Memorial Stadium. At 9:55 CDT (10:55EDT) the game was canceled.

 

There was a possibility of the game being played Sunday morning at 10:30 CDT, however, the logistics for the Zips of getting hotel rooms and meals as long as the weather forecast again called for thunderstorms. UA decided to go home. Neither team has a joint open date.

 

Akron now will begin their season on Saturday against Morgan State from the MEAC (FBS) who started their season with a loss to Towson 36-10. The game will be the 10th anniversary of InfoCision Stadium. The Bears were the first opponent in the facility back in 2009.

 

BOWLING GREEN:

The Falcons opened their 2018 season last Saturday as they traveled to the Pacific Northwest to battle Oregon falling 58-24. BGSU got off to a good start with a 10-7 lead scoring on their first two possessions. The nationally-ranked Ducks, however, took over in the second quarter scoring 30 unanswered points on five straight possessions to take control of the contest.

 

WR Scott Miller had a career day with 13 receptions for 166 yards and two touchdowns. QB Jarret Doege completed 22-of-38 passes for 253 yards while RB Andrew Clair rushed 25 times for 113 yards. The defense was led by Brandon Harris who had seven total tackles (six solo)

 

BGSU opens their home schedule on Saturday as the Terrapins of Maryland come to Perry Stadium. The Terps coming off their season-opening win over Texas. The Falcons won the last meeting in 2016 at College Park

BUFFALO:

The Bulls opened the 2018 campaign with a 48-10 win Saturday over Delaware State at UB Stadium.

 

The day belonged offensively to QB Tyree Jackson who threw for a school-record six touchdowns while going 17-of-27 through the air for only 189 yards. The six scores garnered him MAC East Offensive Player of the Week, WR Anthony Johnson led the receivers for four catches for 57 yards. The defense held the Hornets (FCS-MEAC) to just 257 total yards and forced four turnovers.

 

UB will get a tougher test this Saturday as they travel to Philadelphia to battle the Temple Owls from the American (AAC) looking to bounce back after being stunned in their opener by Villanova on a last-second field goal 12-10.

 

KENT STATE:

The Golden Flashes opened their season last Saturday at Illinois losing 31-24 in Sean Lewis’ first game as a head coach. KSU opened a 17-3 lead at halftime. The Fighting Illini then scored on four consecutive possessions to take a 24-17 lead. KSU then fought back in the third quarter to tie the score 24-24 before the home team scores two touchdowns in a 62-second span at the end of the third and the beginning of the fourth quarter to take the victory.

 

The new spread offense gained 453 total yards and was led by Sophomore Woody Barrett the JUCO transfer completed 28-of-41 passes for 270 yards and two touchdowns. Barrett also was the Flashes leading rusher with 117 yards and a score. Mike Carrigan led the receivers with eight catches for 62 yards along with hauling in the tying touchdown in the third quarter. The defense had four sacks, three pass breakups, and two forced fumbles. They were led by Jim Jones who had 11 total tackles (five solo) and was named MAC East Defensive Player of the week.

 

KSU opens their home schedule on Saturday as the Bison of Howard (FCS-MEAC) comes to Dix Stadium. The game will be Howard’s second straight against a MAC opponent as they narrowly lost at Ohio 38-32.

 

MIAMI:

The Redhawks opened the season with their homecoming game at Yager Stadium. However, it was the visiting Marshall Thundering Herd from Conference USA who came away from Oxford with a 35-28 victory.

 

It was a game that had a weather delay of its own when the game started the two teams posted 987 yards of total offense along with the 63 total points. QB Gus Ragland completed 25-of-46 passes for 357 yards and three touchdowns. Alonso Smith led the running game with 35 yards and a score he also led the receivers with six catches for 47 yards and six points. Fellow RB Kenny Young also dented the scoresheet with a 34- yard run. The defense was led by Junior McMullen who had eight total tackles (six solo).

 

This Saturday MU will face one of their arch-rivals as they travel to Paul Bown Stadium in Cincinnati to battle the Bearcats in the traditional Battle for the Bell. The Bearcats picked up a 28-17 win in their season opener at UCLA.

 

OHIO:

The Bobcats used a 99-yard kickoff return by DL Knock at the start of the second half to jump-start the team and came up with a come-from-behind 38-32 win over Howard in the season opener Saturday at Peden Stadium.

 

The offense came in the form of backup Quentin Mitchell who came into the game in the second quarter for the ineffective Nathan Rourke and completed 17-of-25 passes for 237 yards and two touchdowns. WR Papi White had eight receptions in the contest for 154 yards and a score while the running game was led by A.J. Ouelette who gained 59 yards on 17 carries. S Kylan Nelson led the defense with nine total tackles (seven solo). DL Knock was named MAC East Special Teams Player of the week for his kickoff return for a score

 

The Cats have a bye this week and will return to action on Saturday, September 13th when they travel to Virginia to face the Cavaliers of the ACC.

 

WESTERN DIVISION:

BALL STATE:

Thursday night, the Cardinals began their 2018 season with an emphatic 42-6 win over FCS member Central Connecticut State at Schunemann Stadium. The win was BSU’s ninth straight home-opening win as they amassed a school record 652 yards in total offense.

 

Two offensive players made their return to the lineup after missing a majority of last season with injuries. Fourth-year junior Riley Neal completed 23-of-30 for 259 yards and two touchdowns both going to true freshman WR Yo-Heinz Tyler of 20 & 63 yards. Another making a return to action was junior James Gilbert who had 14 carries for 100 yards and a touchdown reaching the century mark for the eighth time in his career. The defense had 21 players make two or more tackles in the contest and were led by fifth-year senior LB Jeremiah Jackson with a career-best seven stops

 

Next up for the Cards is a short trip to South Bend to play the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame who defeated Michigan in their season opener 24-17

 

CENTRAL MICHIGAN:

The Chippewas traveled to Bluegrass country to open their 2018 facing the Kentucky Wildcats from the SEC losing 35-20. It was a tale of two halves in this one as CMU took it to the Cats trailing only 21-20 at halftime. However, the home team took control in the second half dominating the time of possession scoring a touchdown in the third and fourth quarter to put the game out of reach.

 

Offensively, Tony Poljan in the first collegiate start completed 17-of-27 passes for 137 yards and led the ground game with an additional 47 yards as CMU only gained 255 yards of total offense. The defense was led by DB Devonni Reed who had a career-high 14 tackles (11 solo) as well as a 20-yard fumble recovery for a touchdown in the second quarter. He was named MAC West Defensive Player of the week.

 

The Chips open their home schedule this Saturday as Kansas from the Big XII come to Mount Pleasant. KU looks to rebound after losing their season opener at home to Nicholls State (FCS-Southland) 26-23.

EASTERN MICHIGAN:

The Eagles opened their 2018 season Friday easily defeating the Monmouth Hawks (FCS-Northeast) 51-17 at Rynearson Stadium. EMU opened a 13-0 lead at the end of the first quarter and 30-3 at halftime and was never behind.

 

The offense racked up 475 total yards and was led by Tyler Wagens the graduate student from Iowa who completed 18 of 21 passes for 25 yards and to touchdowns. WR Blake Banham had eight receptions for 103 yards and a score. The defense was led by Kobie Bantom who had nine total tackles while the defense as a whole had six sacks and an interception.

 

Next week the Eagles head to West Lafayette to meet the Purdue Boilermakers who narrowly lost to Northwestern also on Friday night at home 31-27.

 

NORTHERN ILLINOIS:

The Huskies traveled to Iowa City on Saturday and gave the Big Ten Hawkeyes all they could handle for the first 30 minutes before the bigger, stronger home team took complete control in the second half and came away with a 33-7 victory.

 

NIU managed just 211 yards of total offense as QB Marcus Childers completed just 14-of-25 passes for 105 yards however he did connect with WR Jauan Wesley for a 10-yard touchdown with 2:12 remaining to avoid the shutout. Wesley led the receiving corps with four catches for 43 yards and the score. The defense was led by LB Kyle Pugh who had eight total tackles (six solo). Sutton Smith, the reigning MAC Defensive Player of the Year had five tackles (four solo) along with a fumble recovery.

 

This Saturday the Huskies welcome the first PAC-12 team to play in DeKalb as the Utah Utes come into Huskie Stadium. They are 1-0 on the season after a 41-10 win over Weber State (FCS-Big Sky) last week in Salt Lake City.

 

TOLEDO:

The Rockets began their defense of their Western Division and MAC Championship on Saturday night with an emphatic 66-3 win over VMI at the Glass Bowl. UT led 42-3 at halftime and never trailed in the contest. It was the largest margin of victory by the Rockets since 1951.

 

The offense had 603 yards on total offense and was led by QB Mitchell Guardagni in his first collegiate start completed 11-of-16 passes for 265 yards and three touchdowns. 11 different receivers who caught at least one pass and they were led by WR Desmond Phillips who had four receptions for 49 yards. RB Seymour Shakif had two touchdowns. The defense held the Keydets (FCS-Big South) to just 227 yards of total offense while registering four sacks, two interceptions as well as 10 three-and-outs. The defensive eleven were led by Jamal Hines with seven total tackles. Cody Thompson won MAC West Special Teams player of the week as he had a blocked punt and recovered the ball for a touchdown

 

The Rockets have a week off before returning to action on Saturday, September 13th when the Miami Hurricanes come to the Glass City for a nationally televised game.

 

WESTERN MICHIGAN:

The Broncos battled the Orange of Syracuse on Friday night at Waldo Stadium with the visitors from the ACC emerging victorious 55-42 in a game that saw 1,181 yards of total offense.

 

Trailing 24-7 at the end of the first quarter and 34-7 at halftime. WMU put on a great rally scoring 28 points in the third quarter to get to within six points 41-35. However, the Orange scored two touchdowns in a 62-second span late in the third and early in the fourth to put the game out of reach.

 

QB Jon Wassink had a career day completing 19-of-36 passes for 379 yards and two touchdowns. LaVerne Bellamy rushed 11 times for 120 yards and a pair of scores. Senior D’Wayne Eskridge had right receptions for 240 yards and two touchdowns while true freshman Jaylen Reed had seven catches for 121 yards and a score. Eskridge was named MAC West Offensive Player of the week. The defense was led by LB Aly Fayed with five total tackles, a sack, and an interception.

 

This Saturday the Broncos take the short trek east on Interstate 94 to Ann Arbor to play the Michigan Wolverines at the place they call ‘The Big House’. The Wolverines look to bounce back after losing their season opener at Notre Dame 24-17.

 

There you have it. INSIDE MAC FOOTBALL for Week One. This Saturday, Ohio, and Toledo will have a bye. The biggest game of the week is in Cincinnati (MU-Cincinnati), Ann Arbor (WMU-Michigan), and South Bend (BSU-Notre Dame.

 

Five other teams will open their home schedule while Akron will open their account on the 2018 season, weather permitting.

 

I’LL SEE YOU AT THE STADIUM

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