MAC Football Week 4 Roundup

Bernard PIerce basically ran through the entire state of Maryland without stopping for gas.

Lots of madness around the conference on Saturday. Beyond three wins over FCS schools, there were also victories against the ACC and a service academy. Plus, a new contender in the MAC East! Sufficient takes on each of the 12 games:

TEMPLE 38, MARYLAND 7 — The Bernard Pierce line is ridiculous (32/149/5 TD) and maybe that helped out Chester Stewart's day going 9-for-9 and 140 yards. And it wasn't necessary run-to-set-up-the-pass, since the first play was a Stewart to Evan Rodriguez strike for 54 yards. T'was a game of redemption for the quarterback who was thought to be the backup all year, even though he didn't pass all that much. Now suddenly Mike Gerardi is left holding the clipboard.

But the trick is how to weigh this game in the annals of victories over BCS conference games. It's not like Maryland is awful. They beat Miami of Florida, who beat Ohio State. They played West Virginia hard and while the UConn win last year was a key victory for the Owls, that would be hilariously good for the confidence once the Huskies reached a BCS bowl. Maryland, unlikely as it is would be, could contend for the ACC. We see no reason to hope this happens.

This was also Temple's first-ever  victory against the ACC.

MICHIGAN STATE 45, CMU 7 — Even when the score was 7-0 after one quarter, it didn't really seem like the Chippewas were going to keep this interesting. CMU still plays like they're the worst team in the MAC West, and even though Michigan State has some downright nasty defenders, they only gathered 112 yards along with throwing four interceptions and basically getting disrupted on several plays.

Bright spots: Jahleel Addae had a nice interception and Kevin King blocked a punt to set up their only score of the game.

PENN STATE 34, EMU 6 — With every passing game like this against quality competition, the luster on Eastern's promise fades just a bit. It's not to say they can't get to five or six wins this year, but it'd have been nice to convert either of those sub-25-yard field goals into touchdowns. They were tackled for a loss 14 times and turned it over a few times. The sweetest play of the game was a Justin Cudworth strip on a goal-line pass play that bounced out of the end zone for a touchback.

SYRACUSE 33, TOLEDO 30 (OT) — I've already said enough. But they lost more than just the game: Adonis Thomas broke his arm and is going to miss a month. They also lost Desmond Marrow in a scary moment on the field and suffered a concussion. They are in scramble mode as they prepare for Temple next week.

BGSU 37, MIAMI 23 — Let's officialize it: Bowling Green is the sleeper of the MAC East. How better to solidify oneself in the conference than to win on the turf of the defending conference champs?

Back-and-forthness was finally stopped in a silly manner when Anthon Samuel broke the game open in the fourth quarter with a 96-yard touchdown run. He left with an injury, though, and that's concerning.

As the Extra Points Are Hard storyline adds another chapter, each team missed a PAT. But Kyle Burkhardt was yanked from extra-point duties on that opening score and Stephen Stein did business onward, totaling four PATs and a 35-yard field goal.

For Miami they didn't accrue much on the ground (thanks to six sacks) but Nick Harwell hauled in eight catches for 139 yards and Wes Williams was the benefactor in a great batted ball for a 6-yard interception return touchdown.

AKRON 36, VMI 13 — And UA is on the board. To say they have as many wins as last year by virtue of an FCS game may seem petty but remember they did lose to Gardner-Webb last year. So, baby steps.

And even if Clayton Moore's three touchdowns and Jawon Chisholm's 188 yards were against VMI, it was necessary to see this happen just so they do have the potential to be cohesive on offense.

BALL STATE 48, ARMY 21 — This is actually happening. Ball State is 3-1 to start the year, and if BG is the surprise in the East, Ball State is your sudden West contender.

Seriousness. Who saw coming into today that the Cardinals would score the most of any MAC team? NIU was a common pick but Ball State topped 'em by a point. In all they ran through the Army defense for 545 yards, and it's just a damn good thing football defense doesn't translate into national security.

I didn't watch the entirety of this game, but I did peek in and notice Keith Wenning evading two sacks in one play, then stepping up and throwing for a first down in the red zone. This is becoming real in Muncie.

For whatever reason, Army is now allowing 47.5 points per game against MAC schools. They're supposed to be OK, right?

RUTGERS 38, OHIO 26 — The perfect season was not meant to be.

NIU 47, CAL POLY 30 — No sign of defensive improvement. The reports about the offense taking a step back were wildly exaggerated, but what the heck is up with 30 points to Cal Poly? The loss was rarely in doubt once they went up 20-0 as the Mustangs never got closer than 17 points.

Additionally, Chandler Harnish broke George Bork's school touchdown record, which is just another excuse to exclaim "BØRK BØRK BØRK."

KENT STATE 33, SOUTH ALABAMA 25 — I wish I had time to preview this one. South Alabama is such a curiosity. They're fast-tracking their way to the FBS in 2013 and this is just their third year of existence and 21st game overall. It's also their second loss. So I thought possibly they'd have a shot at hanging around this one, but the comeback happened waaaaay too late.

Kent State surprisingly used offensive prowess to build a 33-0 lead, giving USA minimal time to make a comeback. They had a longshot attempt at tying the game on the final drive, but with 80 yards and less than a minute to play, the Jaguars completed a pass to the Kent 23 before time expired. Second loss in school history.

ILLINOIS 23, WMU 20Extremely impressive effort by the Broncos in Champaign.

UCONN 17, BUFFALO 3 — Sort of an uggo performance all-around by everybody involved, but they did move the ball better, especially on the ground, but weren't able to amass any long drive worth anything beyond their second-quarter field goal to take a 3-0 lead. The jury remains out on what type of spoiler role they can play in the MAC.

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