It came and went like a flashfire, but after 13 wild weeks, the Mid-American Football regular season has come to its conclusion. All that's left is the MAC Championship Game (Miami vs. Northern Illinois) next Friday and some scattered bowls. So try to hold the optical waterworks ... we'll get through discussiong these final five games. And as it turns out, each one of these games had something insanely impressive happen in them. You don't always get to say that.
Kent State 28, OHIO 6 — What a kick in the pants for the Bobcats, because that division was ohsoclose to being theirs again. But the Bobcats just looked flat, flabby, and tryptophanny. Or maybe the Kent State defense just made them appear that way: seven sacks, four turnovers, one blocked kick, 2-for-16 on third downs, and no TDs. Christ, this was the KSU defense that I thought we'd see all year. It helped them finish 5-7, but had they been like this all year, they would've been the contender, not the spoiler. Oh well. Coach 's out, and OHIO will have to settle for an 8-4 record and a bowl game.
Neat Stats: Total offensive yards for both teams: 424 ... The Bobcats' eight-game MAC road winning streak is over ... The last time OHIO was held to six or fewer points was November 8, 2008 vs. Bowling Green ... KSU freshman defensive lineman Roosevelt Nix added sack total by 1½, giving him a conference-best 10 on the year, as well as 20 tackles for loss ... OHIO has back-to-back winning seasons for the first time since 1979-1980.Northern Illinois 71, Eastern Michigan 3 — Just ... just brutal. I had thought that NIU might take their foot off the gas so that they wouldn't give away much in their satchel of tricks, but they were running reverses and hitting on all cylinders against the 2-10 Eagles. But now NIU is 10-2 and is all warmed up for Miami on Friday in Ford Field.
Neat Stats: NIU had five touchdowns of 60+ yards, and seven touchdowns drives of 1-2 plays ... On those five TDs alone, they had 348 yards. EMU had 149 total yards ... NIU had 544 yards on the ground — second best in school history ... Nobody had more than two touchdowns ... Somehow, the Huskies had to punt twice, but neither went longer than 32 yards ... Suffice to say, 68 points is the Huskies' highest margin of victory ever. It's also the worst loss by an EMU team.
Akron 22, Buffalo 14 — Saw it coming from a mile away. Buffalo's offense and questionable defense continued to flatline throughout the season, and Akron just kept getting slightly better every week. And the two passed each other in opposite directions at just the right time. Hell of a close finish, however ... UB recovered the onside kick and actually made it to the red zone before Brian Wagner forced the fumble.
Neat Stats: Akron avoids their first winless season. They did match 1994's win total, where they went 1-10. In that season, their lone win was also in the final week ... Patrick Nicely had his best passing game for UA, marked by three touchdowns and no interceptions ... This has to be the first time that a team ever lost to back-to-back 10-loss teams (EMU, Akron) ... Buffalo wide receiver Alex Neutz had previously caught touchdowns in their two wins, but no touchdowns in all other games. In this game, he caught both of UB's touchdowns.
Toledo 42, Central Michigan 31 — Short story: the Glass Bowl collapsed under its own weight, and Eric Page spent all afternoon reconstructing it. Once the edifice was back in place, Page had finished with five touchdowns: one passing, two receiving, and two kickoff returns. I'm pretty sure nobody's done this before, but I haven't the foggiest idea how to look it up. Basically Page had 344 all-purpose yards, and everyone else was there to watch. There were no ramificactions either way — CMU is now 3-9 and going back home to watch bowls on TV, while Toledo improves to 8-4 and awaits their own bowl fate. But this game was a reminder of just how scintillating Page will be next year.
Neat Stats: CMU was 6-for-12 on third downs; Toledo was 7-for-15 ... Quietly, Terrance Owens finishes the regular season with 12 touchdowns and two interceptions ... CMU loses to Toledo for the first time since 2004 ... Toledo had six penalties: one sideline interference and five false starts ... The Chips did redeem their special teams day by returning a blocked punt for a touchdown.
Western Michigan 41, Bowling Green 7 — I placed this game at the end in the hopes that you stopped reading two recaps ago. Oh well, worth a shot. WMU was hellbent on becoming bowl eligible, which they did in convincing fashion. They can score properly when asked, and they're starting to get a bit of a running game out of Tevin Drake. After sporadic carries, he has his only 100-yard games back-to-back in the final two games. BG, meanwhile, finishes 2-10, breaking a school record for losses, and limps into the offseason.
Neat Stats: There were no neat stats from this game, actually. So let's do opposite of neat stats: Bowling Green was 1-for-5 on fourth down ... Juan Nunez broke the 1000-receiving yard mark in this game, joining Jordan White, who was already there. They join Hawaii and San Diego State as the only current teams with multiple 1000-yard wideouts ... Kamar Jorden also broke into the club of 1K-yard receivers. I guess that's sort of neat.
Next week: reflections on the seven teams with losing records and how their seasons went. You'll notice a pattern