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And the MAC is thankfully on the board with a victory in bowl season. Central Michigan held on to beat Western Kentucky 24-21. Here's why they won.
1. The football is funny shaped and difficult to catch. Western Kentucky's punter couldn't grab the snap on the first take, and that allowed Avery Cunningham to swoop in and block the punt with his shoulder. It bounced about 15 yards, only for a CMU player to try and field the ball, causing a nearly Leon Lett situation, but Jahleel Addae was able to snuff out the embarassment and pounce on it. This is what set up the game-winning touchdown from Ryan Radcliff to Cody Wilson. Special teams discipline: it worked for you this time.
2. Lance Guidry's balls. It's not that it was the wrong decision to go for it on 4th and 2, when they could just as easily kick a 36-yard field goal ... although that would've given CMU plenty of time to kick a field goal of their own (about a minute, three timeouts and a kicker who can blast it from 50+yards out). They did it against Iowa, they could certainly do it against WKU. The play-call might've been a little silly, with Jack Doyle nearly triple-covered. Doyle did have a tremendous catch in the end zone to give them the lead in the third quarter, but there were some other men open that could've moved the chains.
I looked at WKU's kicker profile. Garrett Schwettman is a freshman who had hit exactly two field goals longer than 36 yards: 39 and 42. He had a couple other attempts from that range, but I didn't mind Guidry putting the weight of the game off his shoulders and onto his very good senior quarterback.
3. That guy who throws the thingie. But with all the talk of Zurlon Tipton, that offensive line and the magical leg of David Harman, Ryan Radcliff's job in my eyes was to be a game manager, because I wasn't sure if he had a game like this in him. But the senior had, I'd say, one of his most superior performances ever. The last time he threw for three touchdowns and no interceptions was last year when CMU knocked off NIU 48-41, Dave Doeren's lone loss in the MAC.
And I'll give Radcliff this much of a look by NFL scouts. They run a pro-style offense up there, and Radcliff is able to make those throws, but many many other throws look so ridiculous that no NFL team will take a serious look at him. The Jets might, though.
4. Their campus newspaper reverse jinxes are 100 percent real: As pointed out by @JeffPapworth, the CMU student newspaper wrote a sharp editorial when the Chippewas dropped to 3-6 on the season, calling for the administration to fire Enos and everybody who looks like him. They responded with four straight wins, including this one tonight. Yeah, he's not going anywhere.