This past week in the Mid-American Conference.
The Western Michigan Broncos are the hottest team in the conference as they picked up their sixth consecutive win last Saturday at Central Michigan tying Northern Illinois atop the Western Division. In addition, WMU became bowl eligible the second team to do so this season (along with Buffalo).
The Bulls improved to 7-1 their best start since 1959 solidifying their lead in the Eastern Division defeating the Rockets for the first time in the Glass City and joining WMU at 4-0.
Ohio rebounded with an emphatic win over Bowling Green in Carl Pelini’s first game as Falcons head coach. Akron ended a three-game losing streak with an overtime win at Kent State. Eastern Michigan won consecutive games for the second time this season winning at Ball State. Miami fought back fro ma 21-7 third-quarter deficit to force overtime only to lose in double overtime at Army.
Here is a look at the teams after the eighth week of play.
AKRON (3-3, 1-2):
The Zips picked up their first MAC win of the season and ended a three-game losing streak as they defeated their arch-rivals Kent State 24-23 in overtime retaining possession of the Wagon Wheel trophy for the fourth consecutive year.
QB Cato Nelson completed 19-of-35 passes for 219 yards and a touchdown. He also led the team in rushing with 90 yards including a 55-yard weaving run through the KSU defense to tie the score in the third quarter. WR Andre Williams had four catches for 55 yards and the touchdown in overtime which proved to be the winning score. The UA defense had a sack and four pass breakups with LB John Lako having 13 total stops (eight solos).
The week, Akron returns home to InfoCision Stadium to face Central Michigan. The Chippewas are 1-7 overall and 0-4 in MAC competition after losing their fourth straight game last Saturday to Eastern Michigan at home 42-20.
BOWLING GREEN (1-7, 0-4):
After their home loss to Western Michigan, the Falcons relieved Mike Jinks of his duties as head coach with defensive coordinator Carl Pelini named on an interim basis.
Pelini’s first game as BGSU head coach was last Saturday losing at Ohio 49-14. The Orange and Brown started well as QR Jaret Doege connected with WR Scott Miller on the game’s fourth play for a 7-0 lead and then tied the score 14-14 on a seven-yard pass to RB Marlow. From then on, however, it was all Green and White as they scored 35 unanswered points going away with the victory.
Doege completed 19-of-24 passes for 214 yards and the two touchdowns giving him 20 on the season. Miller had a solid game with six receptions for 145 yards and that 57-yard touchdown. However, the Falcons leading rusher RB Andrew Clair only had one carry in the game for six yards. The defense was led by DB Jerry McBridge with 10 total tackles.
The Falcons next play on Wednesday, October 30th as the Kent State Golden Flashes come to Perry Stadium. KSU is also 1-7 overall and will also be looking for their first conference win after a heartbreaking 24-23 home loss to Akron in overtime.
BUFFALO (7-1, 4-0):
The Bulls improved to 7-1 overall their best start since 1959 remaining atop the Eastern Division with a perfect 4-0 mark after beating Toledo last Saturday 31-17 for their first-ever win over the Rockets at the Glass Bowl.
UB trailed 17-7 at halftime but rampaged in the second half as they scored 24 unanswered points as they gained 463 total yards in rainy, blustery conditions, QB Tyree Jackson completed 25-of-46 passes for 326 and two touchdowns both going to WR Anthony Johnson. RB Jaret Patterson led the ground attack with 90 yards on 20 carries with a pair of scores. His 25 yard TD run in the fourth quarter put the Bulls ahead to stay. WR KJ Osborn led the receivers with seven receptions for 90 yards. The defense had two sacks, a pair of interceptions, three pass breakups and two forced fumbles and fumble recoveries. LB Khalil Hodge had 13 total tackles (five of them solos).
The Bulls looks for their eighth win of the season (last time they won eight games was in 2008 when they won the East and the MAC title and fifth in MAC play on Tuesday, October 30th when the Miami Redhawks come to UB Stadium. MU is 3-4 overall but 3-1 in conference play. They lost in double overtime last week at Army 31-30.
KENT STATE (1-6, 0-4):
The Golden Flashes lost a heartbreaker on Saturday at home to their arch-rival the Akron Zips 24-23 at Dix Stadium. The loss was the Flashes fifth straight overall and ninth in MAC play dating back to last season
KSU had a 17-10 lead in the third quarter only to see the Zips tie the game in that period and sent the game into overtime. After Akron scored on their first overtime possession, the Flashes did as well as QB Woody Barrett connected with RB Justin Rankin from 19 yards out. However, the extra point tries that would have put the game into double overtime, failed due to a low snap.
Barrett completed 16-of-30 passes for 188 yards and the score to Rankin. He also led the team in rushing with 81 yards on 16 carries including a 22-yard touchdown run on the final play of the first half to tie the score at 10-10. Antuwan Dixon (59 yards) and Isiah McKoy (26) each had four receptions. The Flashes defense had a pair of sacks and an interception along with four pass breakups. LB Cepeda Phillips lead the tacklers with 12 total stops (10 solos).
KSU gets back into action on Tuesday, October 30th as they travel to Bowling Green to face the Falcons who are also 1-7 overall and 0-4 in MAC play after losing last Saturday at Ohio 49-14 in Carl Pelini’s first game as BGSU head coach for the deposed Mike Jinks.
MIAMI (3-5, 3-1):
The Redhawks finished their non-conference schedule last Saturday as they traveled to the hallowed walls of West Point only to lose to the Black knights of Army 31-30 in double overtime ending their two-game winning streak.
MU trailed 14-0 at the end of the first quarter and 21-7 going into the fourth quarter. They fought back on the arm of QB Gus Ragland who threw two touchdown passes to send the game into overtime. PK Sam Sloman kicked a 33-yard for Miami’s first overtime score. Then in the second OT, Ragland connected with WR Luke Mayock from 18 yards out. They went for two points and the win but under heavy pressure. Ragland’s pass fell incomplete.
Ragland finished the contest with 329 passing yard completing 40-of-53 attempts with four touchdowns to four different receivers. In addition, Ragland was the leading rusher for MU with 56 yards on 14 carries. Jackson Williamson led the receivers with eight receptions for 71 yards. The defense held the triple-option Army attack to 347 total yards along with a forced fumble and two pass breakups. LB Brad Koenig had a career day with 23 tackles (10 solos) with a forced fumble and was named MAC East Defensive Player of the Week.
The Hawks travel to Western New York on Tuesday, October 30th to face the Eastern Division-leading Buffalo Bulls who improved to 7-1 on the season overall and 4-0 in MAC play last Saturday defeating Toledo on the road 31-17
OHIO (4-3, 2-1):
The Bobcats bounced back from their loss last week at Northern Illinois to rout the Bowling Green Falcons on homecoming at Peden Stadium 49-14.
After BGSU tied the score 14-14 early in the second quarter, the Cats scored 35 unanswered points and had 597 yards of total offense their second most yards gained the season with 392 coming on the ground. QB Nathan Rourke was named MAC East Offensive Player of the week as he rushed for 101 yards on only 10 carries and a touchdown while passing just 12 times completing eight of them for 193 yards and a score. WR Papi White led the receivers with 92 yards on two receptions and a pair of touchdowns, The defense has two sacks, an interception, a forced fumble, and recovery. Tyler Gullett led the defense with nine total tackles along with a sack.
The Green and White are back in action on Thursday night as the Ball State Cardinals come to Athens. BSU is 3-5 overall on the season and 2-2 in MAC play after falling at home to Eastern Michigan 42-20.
BALL STATE (3-5, 2-2):
The Cardinals saw their record fall to 3-5 overall and even in MAC play at 2-2 with a 42-20 home loss to Eastern Michigan.
BSU had trouble moving the ball on the ground against the Eagles defense until their final offensive play when RB Will Jones scored on an 80-yard touchdown run. However, the offense managed just 227 yards in the blustery conditions. QB Riley Neal completed 21-of-39 passes for only 157 yards and a score. WR Justin Hall had 1-0 receptions for 81 yards. The BSU defense had a pair of sacks, pass breakups and a fumble recovery. LB Jaylin Thomas had nine total tackles and a sack.
The Cards have a short week as they head to Athens on Thursday night to battle the Bobcats who returned to the winner’s list after scoring 25 unanswered points in defeating Bowling Green 49-14.
CENTRAL MICHIGAN (1-7, 0-4):
The Chippewas suffered their fourth consecutive loss last Saturday as they fell at home to Western Michigan 35-10.
The game was played in heavy rain and strong winds along with a lightning delay. CMU trailed 28-0 at halftime. They had three turnovers in the game with two of them leading directly into touchdowns and could never catch up. The offense managed just 269 yards of total offense. RB Rumello Ross led the ground game with 69 yards scoring CMU’s only touchdown on a four-yard run in the third quarter. QB Tony Lazarro was only nine of 24 passes for 104 yards with WR Julian Hicks catching three of them for 57 yards. LB Malik Fountain led the defense with 15 total tackles (nine of them solo).
This week, the Chips looks for that elusive first conference win of the season as they travel to Akron to face the Zips who ended a three-game losing streak last Saturday with a 24-23 overtime win at archrival Kent State.
EASTERN MICHIGAN (4-4, 2-3):
The Eagles won their second consecutive game after losing four straight as they traveled to Ball State on Saturday and defeated the Cardinals 42-20 to even their record at 4-4 on the season.
EMU had six touchdowns in the contest scored by six different players. QB Tyler Weigers was named MAC West Offensive Player of the Week as he completed 22-of-28 passes for 257 yards and three touchdowns. RB Shaq Vann had 63 yards on 20 carries and a touchdown (one of three rushing scores on the afternoon). WR Arthur Jackson led the receivers with six catches for 59 yards. The Eagles defense had two forced fumbles a fumble recovery, an interception, and five pass breakups. DB Brody Hoying led the defense with 11 total tackles.
This week the Eagles welcome Army to “The Factory” for the final non-conference game of the season. The Black Knights are 5-2 on the season and 2-0 against the MAC after beating Miami at home in double overtime 31-30.
NORTHERN ILLINOIS (4-3, 3-0):
The Huskies had the week off. In their last game on September 16th Huskies came from a 21-9 deficit to score two fourth-quarter touchdowns, along with a two-point conversion, to defeat Ohio 24-21 in the battle of pre-season division favorites at Huskie Stadium. The win was the fourth straight for NIU and made them a perfect 3-0 in MAC play.
QB Marcus Childers had a career-best 169 yards on 23 carries and a touchdown. He also completed 17-of-33 passes for 145 yards. WR JaJuan Wesley had six receptions for 61 yards. The NIU defense had three forced fumbles, an interception, and two fumble recoveries. DE Kyle Pugh had nine total tackles (eight solos). LB Sutton Smith was named MAC West Defensive Player of the week. The reigning MAC Defensive Player of the Year had arguably the biggest play of the game when he sacked Bobcat QB Nathan Rourke then stripped the ball in which was recovered and the offense went in for a touchdown.
NIU gets back into action this Saturday as they travel the intermountain region of Utah to battle the Cougars of BYU who also had the week off and will come into the game also with a 4-3 mark after the 49-23 home win over the Rainbows Hawai’i.
TOLEDO (3-4, 1-2):
The Rockets fell for the second consecutive week as the Buffalo Bulls scored 24 unanswered points in the second half grounding UT 31-17 after the home team had a 17-7 lead at intermission.
The Rockets used an 80-yard touchdown run by RB Brogan Roback on the first possession of the game to give the Rockets the lead.QB Eli Peters came into the game for an injured Mitchell Guardagni was only able to complete five-of-17 passes in the swirling wind of the Glass Bowl for 128 yards. 80 of those yards came on a reception to WR Dionte Johnson who had 97 yards on two receptions. Toledo’s defense did have five sacks, three interceptions, and nine pass breakups. LB Jordan Fisher had 12 total tackles.
It is a short week for the Midnight Blue and Gold as they get back into action on Thursday as they travel to Western Michigan to face a Broncos squad that have won six straight games following their 35-10 win at Central Michigan.
WESTERN MICHIGAN (6-2, 4-0);
The Broncos picked up their sixth consecutive win last Saturday as they went to Central Michigan and defeated the Broncos 35-10. The win made WMU the second team in the MAC to become bowl eligible joining Buffalo and improved to 4-0 in conference play joining UB and Northern Illinois as well as tying the Huskies for the top spot in the Western Division.
The Brown and Gold built a 28-0 lead and were never headed as they retained possession of the Victory Cannon Trophy. RB La’Vante Bellany had 145 yards rushing on 19 carries and a touchdown. Bellamy was part of a ground attack that amassed 305 yards. QB Jon Wassink only threw six passes completing five of them in conditions that saw heavy rain and strong winds as well as a lightning delay. The defense had five sacks, two interceptions, three pass breakups and a pair of forced fumbles and recoveries. LB Alex Grace was named MAC West Defensive Player of the Week as he had 11 total tackles (nine of the solo) with a pass breakup and an interception.
WMU gets right back into action this Thursday night as the Toledo Rockets come to Waldo Stadium for a Western Division battle. UT is 2-3 overall and 1-2 in MAC play after falling at home to Eastern Division-leading Buffalo 31-17.
There you have it. Inside MAC FOOTBALL for week number nine.
It’s the start of MACTION with a pair night games on Thursday with Ball State traveling to Ohio and Toledo heading to Western Michigan in a Western Division showdown.
Then on Saturday, Central Michigan looks for that elusive first win heading to Akron, while Eastern Michigan hosts Army with the Black Knights looking to go 3-0 against the MAC in 2018 and Northern Illinois puts its four-game winning streak on the line at BYU
SEE YOU AT THE STADIUM