This past week in the Mid-American Conference.
Northern Illinois became the first team to win three conference games in 2018 as they defeated Ball State for the ninth consecutive time. Buffalo bounced back with a win at Central Michigan.
Western Michigan picked up their fourth straight win overall an 2-0 in conference play with a win over Eastern Michigan handing the Eagles their fourth consecutive loss.
Ohio and Toledo opened MAC play with victories. The Bobcats needed a score with 1:28 remaining to win at Kent State while the Rockets took down Bowling Green in a slugfest to retain the I-75 trophy.
Miami won their second conference game defeating Akron sending the Zips to their second straight loss in their MAC opener.
Here is a look at the twelve teams with the season reaching the halfway point.
AKRON (2-2, 0-1):
The Zips opened their MAC schedule last Saturday dropping a 41-17 decision to Miami at InfoCision Stadium. It was Akron’s second consecutive loss after starting the season at 2-0.
After falling behind 14-0 I the second quarter, UA scored 17 unanswered points to take their only lead of the game 17-14 in the third quarter when LB Ulysses Gilbert took a fumble 46-yards for the score. It was the fourth defensive touchdown by the Zips this season. From that point on it was all Miami as the visitors scored the last 27 points of the game.
QB Cato Nelson was only 19-of-35 for 203 yards with a touchdown and three interceptions as the offense only gained 259 yards, were intercepted three times and lost two fumbles. WR Andre Williams had seven catches for 6 yards. DB Jordan George led the defense with seven total tackles (six solos)
This Saturday, Akron travels to Western New York to battle the Buffalo Bulls who are 5-1 on the season overall and 2-0 in MAC play after their 34-24 win last week at Central Michigan.
BOWLING GREEN (1-5, 0-2):
The Falcons traveled to Toledo last Saturday and gave the arch-rival Rockets all they could handle trailing by only three going into the fourth quarter before UT scored three rushing touchdowns to break the game open sending BGSU to a 52-36 defeat
In the game, the Falcons had 481 yards on the afternoon with 182 coming on the ground. QB Jarret Doege completed 18-of-34 passes for 289 yards and three touchdowns. WR Scott Miller had three receptions for 75 yards and a score while RB Andrew Clair rushed for 118 yards on only 12 carries with a pair of touchdowns. LB Jerry McBride led the defense with 11 total tackles (four solos).
This Saturday BGSU returns home to battle the Western Michigan Broncos who are 4-2 overall, 2-0 in MAC play and are riding a four-game winning streak after defeating Eastern Michigan 27-24.
BUFFALO (5-1, 2-0):
The Bulls bounced back after suffering their first loss of the season last week to Army defeating Central Michigan 34-24 to go 5-1 on the campaign their best mark after six games since 1983 when they were still in Division III. In addition, it was UB’s first ever win over the Chippewas in Mount Pleasant.
UB used it running game for victory as they amassed 295 yards on the ground (422 yards of offense). RB Kevin Marks had a career-best 167 yards and a touchdown while Jaret Patterson had 121 yards of his own. Marks has seven touchdowns on the season seventh best in the Football Bowl Subdivision. QB Tyree Jackson completed only 10-of-20 passes for 127 yards and a touchdown, his 17th of the season which leads the MAC and eighth in the FBS. WR KJ Osborn had four receptions for 80 yards. The defense had two sacks, two forced fumbles, and two interceptions. They were led by LB Khalil Hodge who had seven total on the afternoon.
This week, the Bulls look to go 6-1, would be their best start since 1959 and become the first MAC team to become bowl eligible in 2018. The Akron Zips come to Amherst at 2-2 overall after starting the season 2-0 and are 0-1 in MAC play after falling last Saturday at home to Miami 41-17.
KENT STATE (1-5, 0-2):
Last Saturday was homecoming at Dix Stadium and the Golden Flashes the Ohio University Bobcats for 58:32 seconds only to fall 27-26 their fourth consecutive loss overall and sixth in MAC play dating back to last season.
KSU stunned Ohio on the game’s first play (a 75-yarder by QB Woody Barrett to WR Isiah McKoy). They led 14-0 after the first quarter, 17-7 at halftime and 23-14 after three quarters. The visitors then scored to a touchdown to take their first lead of the game. KSU ha a chance to win the game, getting the ball to midfield before Barrett threw deep and was intercepted on the final offensive play of the game.
Barrett finished the contest completing 27-of-35 passes for 271 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions. RB Justin Rankin had 16 carries for 123 yards, McKoy had eight catches for 118 yards and that score. The defense had two sacks, two forced fumbles, and three fumble recoveries. LB Kesean Gamble led with eight total tackles (seven solos). PK Matthew Trickett was named MAC East Special Teams Player of the Week as he kicked four field goals including a career-best 49-yarder right before halftime.
KSU looks to end this losing streak this Saturday as they travel down to Miami to face the Redhawks who are only 2-4 overall but 2-1 in MAC play as they defeated Akron last week in the Rubber City 41-17.
MIAMI (2-4, 2-1):
The Redhawks rebounded from their heart-breaking one-point loss last week to Western Michigan as they went to Akron and defeated the Zips 41-17.
MU led 14-0 in the second quarter. However, the Zips scored 17 unanswered points to take the lead in the third quarter. Miami took the lead for good on a three-yard scoring run by Kenny Young as they scored the last 27 points of the contest.
QB Gus Ragland was 24-of-33 for 214 yards and a touchdown. Young had 7 yards rushing including a 74-yard touchdown scamper in the fourth quarter. WR Dominique Robinson had five catches for 77 yards. The MU defense did their part with five takeaways while holding the Akron offense to only 259 total yards. DB De’Andre Montgomery led the defensive 11 with seven total tackles (five solos) with LB Brad Koenig added four with a fumble recovery and a pair of interceptions. Koenig was named MAC East Defensive Player of the Week.
This week the Hawks return home to battle Kent State. The Golden Flashes are 1-5 on the season and 0-2 in MAC play after losing a heartbreaker at home to Ohio last week 27-26
OHIO (3-2, 1-0):
The Bobcats needed every second of the clock last Saturday as they won their second straight game and their MAC opener at Kent State defeating the Golden Flashes 27-26.
The victory was Ohio’s second straight overall, sixth consecutive MAC opener and gave Head Coach Frank Solich his 100th victory with the Green an White only the third head man in Ohio football history to reach that mark (Don Peden & Bill Hess the others)
QB Nathan Rourke engineered the game-winning drive (81-yards in nine plays) capping the drive with an eight-yard scoring run breaking a couple of tackles en route to the end zone. On the afternoon he was a sizzling 18-of-20 passing for 284 yards and a touchdown and ran for 72 yards. He was named MAC East Offensive Player of the Week. WE Papi White had five catches for 89 yards. The defense had a pair of sacks, two forced fumbles two interceptions, and a fumble recovery. LB Evan Croutch had 17 total tackles (nine solos) while DB Javon Hagen sealed the game with an interception on KSU’s final offensive play (second straight week he has an INT late in the fourth quarter). He also had 10 total stops in the contest (nine solos).
Ohio completes this two-game road trip this Saturday as they travel to Northern Illinois. The Huskies are 3-2 overall with all their victories coming in MAC play including last week’s 24-16 win at Ball State.
BALL STATE (2-4, 1-1):
The Cardinals came back to earth last week after winning their MAC opener with 52 points and over 600 yards of total offense against Kent State, BSU fell to the Northern Illinois Huskies for the ninth consecutive time 24-16.
BSU trailed the entire game. However, a touchdown and a two-point conversion, late in the fourth quarter gave them hope. The defense held NIU getting the ball back but on the final play of the game, a desperation pass was batted away in the end zone.
QB Riley Neal completed 32-of-56 passes for 260 yards. RB James Gilbert had 79 yards in 19 carries scoring BSU’s only touchdown (a three-yarder in that fourth quarter). WR Justin Hall had seven receptions for 59 defense.
The Cardinals head to Central Michigan this Saturday to face the Chippewas who are 1-5 overall and 0-2 in MAC play after falling to East Division-leading Buffalo 34-24.
CENTRAL MICHIGAN (1-5, 0-2):
The Chippewas dropped their second straight game last Saturday falling to the Buffalo Bulls at Kelly Shorts Stadium 34-24.
CMU on the scoreboard was still in the game with the rampaging Bulls trailing by only 24-17 going into the fourth quarter. However, UB added a touchdown and a field goal in that final stanza to put the game out of reach. QB Tony Lazzaro led the Chips ground game with 102 yards on 18 carries but passing was only 9-of-23 for 117 yards and a score also threw four interceptions. RB Devin Spaulding had four catches for 43 yards as well as WR JeCorey Sullivan his four accounted for 74 yards and a touchdown. CMU’s defense had two sacks, an interception, and a pair of forced fumbles. They were led by LB Malin Fountain and LB Alex Briones each with 11 total stops.
This week the Chippewas finish this two-game homestand as the Ball State Cardinals come to town. BSU is 2-4 on the season and 1-1 in MAC play after falling at home to Northern Illinois 24-16.
EASTERN MICHIGAN (2-4,0-2):
The Eagles had a 17-14 lead at Western Michigan going into the fourth quarter, only to see the Broncos score two touchdowns in those final 15 minutes to hand EMU their fourth consecutive loss 27-24.
EMU did get the game close in the final moments when QB Mike Glass connected with WR Blake Banham with 20 seconds remaining, however, WMU recovered the onside kick. Glass completed 15-of-24 passes for 155 yards he also was the leading rusher with 101 yards on 17 carries and a four-yard touchdown for the Eagles first lead of the game. WR Arthur Jackson had six receptions for 62 yards. The defense had three forced fumbles, an interception, three pass breakups, and a fumble recovery. DB Vince Calhoun led the defense with six solo tackles and a pass breakup. P Jake Julien was named MAC West Special Teams Player of the Week for the third time this season
The Eagles return home to “The Factory” better known as Rynearson Stadium this Saturday to battle Toledo. The Rockets are 3-2 overall after winning their MAC opener last week defeating arch-rival Bowling Green for the ninth consecutive time 52-36.
NORTHERN ILLINOIS (3-2, 3-0):
The Huskies became the first team to win three MAC games this season as they defeated Ball State in Muncie 24-16. It was their second straight win overall and their ninth consecutive victory over BSU.
Huskies had the lead throughout the contest beginning with a first-quarter touchdown by QB Marcus Childers of 13 yards to WR P.J. Brown. Add to that a couple of scores from RB Tre Harbison. However, the Cardinals scored late in the game and go the ball back in the final moments but the defense got a pair of big stops late to close the game out.
RB Marcus Jones led the ground game with 130 yards on 12 carries. Childress completed 18-of-29 passes for 143 yards and the score to Brown who had seven catches on the afternoon for 49 yards. The NIU defense had a pair of sacks. Five pass breakups, a forced fumble, fumble recovery, and five pass breakups. LB Antonio Jones-Davis led the defense with 16 total tackles (12 solos) with a sack.
This week, the Huskies welcome the Ohio University Bobcats to DeKalb. Ohio has won two straight and is 3-2 on the season after winning their MAC opener last Saturday at Kent State in come-from-behind fashion 26-24.
TOLEDO (3-2, 1-0):
The Rockets rebounded from their loss at Fresno State opening MAC play with a 52-36 win over arch-rival Bowling Green defeating the Falcons for the ninth consecutive time and retaining possession of the I-75 trophy.
UT opened an early lead only to see BGSU match them score for score leading by one three 31-28 going into the fourth quarter. RB Bryan Roback scored three rushing touchdowns (seven, five, and 21 yards) to put the game out of reach.
QB Eli Peters, in his first collegiate start, went 17-of-35 for 184 yards and three touchdowns. RB Shakif Seymour had 101 yards on the ground in 18 carries. UT had 288 rushing yards on the afternoon. WR Cody Thompson had six catches for 78 yards and a score. The defense eight pass breakups with a forced fumble, and a fumble recovery. Senior LB Richard Olekanma had eight total tackles. The special teams also had a blocked punt, a blocked field goal attempt, and P Bailey Flint ran for a first down.
This week the Rockets make the short trip up US 23 to Ypsilanti to face Eastern Michigan. The Eagles have lost four straight after starting the season at 2-0 losing last week at Western Michigan 27-24.
WESTERN MICHIGAN (4-2, 2-0):
The Broncos are the hottest team in the conference after picking up their fourth straight victory scoring two fourth-quarter touchdowns to defeat Eastern Michigan at home 24-17 improving their record to 2-0 in MAC play.
The game was close throughout with WMU holding a 17-14 lead after three quarters but then broke the game open with those pair of scores in the final quarter.
QB Jon Wassink completed 16-of-27 passes for 235 yards and a touchdown (a 15-yarder to RB La’Vante Bellamy who also had 76 yards rushing on 17 carries. WR Jaylen Reed had six catches for 69 yards. The Broncos defense had a sack, two forced fumbles, and a fumble recovery. DB Alex Grace had 12 total tackles (seven solos) while DT Randolph Holley had a sack, six total tackles, and a forced fumble and was named MAC West Defensive Player of the Week.
This Saturday the Broncos head to Bowling Green to face the Falcons who are 1-5 overall and 0-2 in MAC play after giving their arch-rival Toledo Rockets all they could handle before being handed a 52-36 defeat.
There you have it. Inside MAC FOOTBALL for week number six.
Buffalo could be the first MAC team to be bowl eligible in 2018 wit ha win over Akron. Western Michigan looks for their fifth straight win at Bowling Green. The pre-season division favorites, Ohio and Northern Illinois meet in DeKalb.
Toledo looks for their second straight MAC win while Eastern Michigan looks to end their four-game losing streak. Ball State and Central Michigan each look to get back on the winning track while Miami looks for its third MAC win as they host Kent State.
SEE YOU AT THE STADIUM