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After one week of action, here's who sits where on our Awards Lists.
Ohio return man Devin Bass pulled off one of the more interesting moves I've ever witnessed during a football game: he cartwheeled while returning a kick. Okay, so it's not a real cartwheel, but it's still awesome. Thanks to Bubbaprog for the GIF
The MAC announced the players of the week for both divisions Monday.
The Louisville Cardinals made the Bobcats look like child's play in a Sunday afternoon romp.
It was not a pretty day in Ann Arbor for Central Michigan, but it's just one game. Eleven more remain for the Chippewas to try to make a run at another bowl game.
Damn you Kirk Herbstreit.
The MAC Hater himself selected Toledo as his pick to beat Florida this morning. For awhile it seemed like the Rockets might be able to hold their own. At one point in the second quarter, the Gators led by just a score. But No. 10 Florida's defense shut the Rockets offense down, holding the team to two field goals.
A vomiting Mack Brown led Florida to victory, behind his 112 yards rushing and two touchdowns, while on the opposite side of the ball David Fluellen managed just 46 yards on the ground.
The Rockets' three-headed monster on offense struggled to get anything going. Terrance Owens managed 4.1 yards per pass, on 17-of-38 with 155 yards for a GBR rating of 17.2. Bernard Reedy managed just 108 total yards between his receiving numbers and kickoff returns.
Basically, Toledo had no match for the Gators defense. The one shining part of the Rockets game was punter Vince Penza, who managed 321 yards from his seven punts.
On the opposite side, their inexperienced defense failed to shut down a Gators offense that total yards of offense.
Michigan beat Central Michigan today in Ann Arbor, 59-9.
UM outgained CMU by a count of 463-210, including 242-66 on the ground. For the Chippewas, Alex Niznak was 11/22 for 131 yards and a pick. Their leading rusher was Saylor Lavallii, who ran for 52 yards on ten carries. Andrew Flory, with four catches and 79 yards, was the leading receiver; Titus Davis had only the two catches and 28 yards that he took in at the end of the first half.
Perhaps the brightest spot was Central Michigan's three interceptions on defense that ultimately helped the team score six of their nine points.
We'll have a complete recap later tonight. Central Michigan's next game is next week at home against FCS-member New Hampshire.
Not much to add here. Michigan scored 21 points in the third quarter. Central Michigan just added a field goal after a long drive to cut the Wolverine lead to 47 points.
Not the best day for the Chippewas. Back at the end of the game...
The Minutemen were victimized by big plays from the Badgers offense all game en route to their second-straight opening day shut-out loss.
If it weren't for a couple of interceptions that led to two field goals, this game would be a total loss for Central Michigan. As it is, the Chippewas goal in the second half will be to merely make this contest respectable.
Michigan leads Central Michigan at halftime, 35-6.
After CMU turned Devin Gardner's second interception into another field goal, the Wolverines went on a six-minute drive that covered 76 yards over 11 plays. The drive was helped immensely by a Central Michigan personal foul on Louis Palmer that gave Michigan an automatic first down after a failed third down try. Seven plays after that penalty, Gardner threw a 14-yard pass to Jeremy Gallon for a touchdown and a 28-6 lead.
The Chippewas took over with 2:04 left in the half and, three plays later, were at Michigan's 45 yard line. Alex Niznak proceeded to throw an interception to Raymon Taylor, who returned the ball 54 yards to the CMU 12. After a false start to begin their possession, Michigan scored in three plays when Gardner ran into the end zone from four yards out. The extra point gave UM the current 35-6 margin.
Michigan has outgained CMU 243-139. Gardner is 8/13 for 100 yards, 1 TD and 2 INT. Niznak is 4/12 for 58 yards and an INT. CMU's Cody Kater also played and is 2/6 for 13 yards. Gardner leads Michigan rushers with 52 yards, while Fitzgerald Toussaint has 44. CMU's Saylor Lavallii has seven carries for 45 yards. Zurlon Tipton had four carries for ten yards before leaving with a leg injury. For receivers, Gallon has 47 yards on four catches while Drew Dileo also has 43 yards for Michigan. For CMU, Titus Davis has two catches for 28 yards, both coming at the end of the half.
The Big Ten Network just reported that Central Michigan running back Zurlon Tipton is out for the remainder of today's game with a lower right leg injury. No more details were given.
Tipton's total for today's game is four carries for ten yards; his longest run was seven yards.
CMU just cut Michigan's lead to 21-6 after converting another Devin Gardner interception into a field goal.
More at halftime...
With the exception of one very well-timed interception, it was not a good first quarter for Central Michigan at the Big House.
One play into the second quarter, Michigan leads the Chippewas 21-3.
CMU totaled just 23 yards during the first 15 minutes, and their field goal came only after that well-timed interception. The Chips went 3-and-out on their second possession and punted deep into Michigan territory, where the ball was downed inside the 10-yard line. Two plays later, Jarret Chapman intercepted a Devin Gardner pass. CMU was unable to punch the ball into the end zone from the 6 and had to settle for the field goal.
Michigan's first touchdown came on a blocked punt that was returned for Joe Reynolds for 30 yards. After the CMU field goal, they drove 77 yards in six plays for a touchdown. The drive was capped by a Gardner 22-yard run. The Wolverines' most recent TD came on a 73-yard drive that culminated with a one-yard run by Fitzgerald Toussaint.
Michigan has 165 yards of total offense thus far.
A 6-pack of players will sit, and a spiffy new helmet for the Midnight Blue and Gold
Even at a 1 am press conference in a construction trailer for a game his team lost, P.J. Fleck is upbeat. Why wouldn't he be though? His offense put up 13* points on a vaunted Michigan State defense. His defense held a Big Ten team relatively in check, especially with a few short fields. His team was a 4 touchdown underdog, and covered the spread, by half!
"We aren't proud of the end result, but I'm very proud of our guys tonight," Fleck said. "We laid the foundation tonight with our HOW, and it's how we played that I'm proud of."
Sure the Broncos ended up with a mere 11 yards rushing on 27 attempts. Sure they turned the ball over 4 times (3 INTs, 1 fumble lost), with two immediately resulting in Spartan defensive touchdowns. Sure they only went 18-for-48 throwing for 193 yards. But at the same time, Western Michigan held a Big Ten team to 4.3 yards/carry (much better than previous years), forced Andrew Maxwell and Connor Cook to just 17-for-37 throwing for 116 yards, and forced a fumble. They forced Michigan State to punt a near team record 11 times, and held MSU to just 5/19 on 3rd down attempts.
After struggling mightily in the first quarter, a quarter which saw the Broncos gain just 35 yards and have Tyler VanTubbergen throw two interceptions, including a pick-pitch-6, mother nature helped the Broncos regroup. A 56 minute weather delay due to lightning (the 2nd time this has happened in the last 3 openers for WMU) allowed Western Michigan to seemingly regroup, as they promptly came out from the break and started moving the ball with consistency.
After a failed drive that finally put the ball in Spartan territory, TVT moved the ball down field all the way to the MSU 14. However, his night would soon be over due to an apparent concussion after trying to scramble for yards on a 2nd-and-10. Freshman back-up QB Zach Terrell didn't miss a beat though, throwing a 14 yard TD pass to Clark Mussman to tie the game at 7 in his first career snap.
Michigan State would slowly retake the momentum though, slowing the Bronco offense again, and getting a 2-minute offense TD right before the half to take a 13-7 lead (botched snap on the PAT). The 3rd quarter would continue to see the Broncos struggle offensively, but the defense held tough. With 2 short fields in a span of 3 drives, the WMU defense kept the Spartans out of the end zone, and even had a chance at a turnover, allowing two short field goals.
The fourth quarter would see much more of the same game, as Terrell was finally forced into a big mistake trying to make a play. Staying in the pocket, he was rocked for a fumble, which Shilique Calhoun returned 16 yards for the 26-7 lead, and seemingly the nail in the coffin for the game. Terrell would add a late TD pass to stellar freshman Corey Davis, but it was too little too late at that point.
TVT finished with a 6-for-20 line for 73 yards and 2 interceptions, but seemed to be hitting his stride before going down. Terrell had a decent 12-for-28 line for 120 yards, 2 TDs, and 1 INT coming off the bench. Brian Fields led all Bronco rushing with a mere 24 yards on 12 carries. Davis led the WMU receiving corps with 8 catches for 96 yards and a touchdown.
As for the Spartans, Andrew Maxwell was in and out of the game all night with coach Mark Dantonio seeming to split time between Cook and the senior QB regardless of the situation. Maxwell finished going 11-for-21 for 74 yards and 5 yards rushing while Cook went 6-for-16 for 42 yards but had 35 yards rushing on 4 carries. Jeremy Langford came out in the 2nd half finishing with a decent 20 carries for 94 yards and a TD. No Spartan receiver had more than 34 yards, in a "balanced" attack.
Defensively, Donald Celiscar led the Broncos with 10 tackles and had 2 pass break-ups. Johnnie Simon had the lone sack on the night. Max Bullough led the Spartans with 9 tackles including 2.5 TFL. Jairus Jones had 2 INTs, including one he pitched to Kurtis Drummond for the first touchdown of the game. Drummond finished with 1 INT, that you probably saw on SportsCenter last night.
So now the Broncos must prepare for a weaker FCS opponent in Nicholls State. It will be the 3rd time in 4 years that the two teams will have met at Waldo Stadium. The biggest question going forward, however, will be if TVT can play, or if Terrell will be given the reigns to the Bronco offense. Either way, you can be sure that Fleck will have his team "rowing".
First Saturday of the year and Herbie's already feeding the trolls.
Miami and Marshall, once one of the fiercest rivalries in the MAC, ended in 2004. This season, Miami opens in Huntington. What are the RedHawks' chances?
The Bobcats return many of the skill positions that led them to a 9-4 record a season ago. Louisville's high-powered offense returns the more than efficient Teddy Bridgewater who led them to a Sugar Bowl victory over Florida in January.
By giving Tulsa all the #MACtion it could possibly want, the Bowling Green Falcons served notice to a nation-wide audience that BGSU should be taken seriously in 2013. Very seriously.
Kent State beating Liberty 17-10 was never the story in this one.
On the first drive of the game, Dri Archer appeared to have had his ankle smashed underneath a pile, and after coming back for a play in the second series, had to sit out the rest of the game. Head coach Paul Haynes said in his press conference that he thinks he will be OK, but even those reassuring words will not be enough to ease the tension of the Kent State faithful tonight.
Archer was unable to spark the offense like he did so many times last season. From the sidelines he had to watch Trayion Durham grind out drive after drive. Even the first drive, where the Flashes really did look golden, it took a Durham 10 yard run on third and eight to keep it alive. He converted two third and shorts as well.
Kent picked up 75 yards on that possession, it was over nine minutes long. But after that, the Golden Flashes accumulated only 81 yards the rest of the half. The offense was staggered, and it was the defense that was able to keep the team in the game.
"The D line had a crazy game. All night they were rushing the passer." Kent State defensive back Darius Polk said.
He is underselling his squad's own role, though - Liberty had less than twenty yards in the first half. It was a team effort, though the defensive line was dominant.
Kent State's first year starting quarterback Colin Reardon looked sharp and in control on the first drive, but he also fumbled the ball in his own territory later. That allowed Liberty to score their first three points.
He said that he felt comfortable on the first drive.
"I was anxious, I was actually surprised that I wasn't nervous. I was just anxious to get the snap. I knew since yesterday that we were going to pass the ball. Once I got that ball [to] Tyshon (Goode) [on] the first play of the game things were feeling good. The offensive line was blowing them off the ball. Everything was in our game plan and it worked perfect. ..It felt great," Reardon said.
Polk beat deep
Polk had his troubles as well. He gave up a 58-yard deep ball to Liberty receiver Darrin Peterson on the first play of the second half. He said that he was frustrated and knew that because of it the Flames were going to attack him the rest of the game.
"I was sick to my stomach when I allowed the deep ball over my head," Polk said.
He was able to defend two passes that caused a turnover on downs and all but clinched the Kent State victory.
"I knew that they were coming to me because I gave up that deep ball. So I had to keep my composure. I had to let that play go, and I needed to make a key play when my team needed me in the clutch," Polk said.
The BIG play
The play of the game happened in the fourth. The Golden Flahes had everything working for them and were able to put the first nail in the coffin when Reardon connected with Chris Humphrey for 42 yards and the score. It put his team up by seven with the extra point and decided the game.
Humphrey finished with 88 yards receiving.
"We realized later in the game that the corner...was getting tired. We just threw a simple throw and then I've been drilled into my head, by all the coaches that I have had, that you always make the first guy miss. Once you make the first guy miss it gets easier...so that's what I did and [Reardon] made a great read and threw a perfect ball, I couldn't ask for a better ball. Once I made the first guy miss I just got up field. And I knew that we needed it bad," Humphrey said.
Reaction: At least without Dri Archer, this team is not BCS bound.
Kent State was sloppy, taking nine penalties for a total loss of 79 yards. Its offense was awful for most of the game. Its shining light was the defensive line that was simply great. Without them Liberty may have gotten its offense going sooner, and there would have been a much different outcome.
Bowling Green, who destroyed Tulsa, is going to come into DIx Stadium and give the Flashes their first real test. I already predicted that if they lose their season is doomed. It seems realistic now.
Maybe Archer can add the "oomph" that is needed, but he is only one guy. The other guys are going to have to step up.
Keith Wenning and Willie Snead shine in a blowout of the FCS Redbirds.
And it's all about the moral victories!
While we here at Hustle Belt cover the MAC in general, there's a SB Nation blog dedicated exclusively to Buffalo. The kids call it UB Bull Run, and it's damn good. Make sure to check them out. They've got all the comprehensive coverage any Bulls fan needs.
They're doing an excellent job of previewing the Week 1 matchup against No. 2 OSU. Follow along and check out the content HERE.
The Toledo Rockets make the trip to Gainesville to face the Florida Gators in their first ever match-up with an SEC opponent.
The 2012 MAC East Football champions will be the first MAC school to kickoff their football season. Dri Archer and friends will take on the Liberty Flames on Thursday at 6:00 pm.
Will Akron show improvement in a rematch of last year's beatdown?
Larenzo Fisher and Greg Windham suspended indefinitely after their arrests for drug-trafficking charges.
Whether it is by 20, 30 or 40 points, the outcome of Saturday's season opener is not as important as how the Minutemen acquit themselves in their first and biggest test of the 2013 season.
The Cardinals and their explosive offense kick off their season Thursday against a formidable Illinois State team. Can Keith Wenning and company start the season off with a bang, or will the questions on the O-line and defensively leave BSU fans worried by the end?
The Hawkeyes and the Huskies get ready to gear it up in 2013. Iowa has yet to lose a game in this series, but something tells me Jordan Lynch and crew might finally notch a W against the Hawks.
It's finally football season. P.J. Fleck and his Western Michigan Broncos start their maiden voyage on the road at the always difficult Michigan State.
This is a key non-conference battle for two teams with conference championship aspirations. It also appears to be a classic example of the proverbial match between an immovable force and an irresistible object. Which side will blink first?
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