By The Numbers:
Central Michigan (4-6, 3-3 MAC) looks to continue its late surge towards bowl eligibility by welcoming 1-9 (1-5 MAC) UMass into Mt. Pleasant for a 1 p.m. kickoff. after starting their season 1-4. the Chippewas have won three out of their last five, with the losses coming at the hands of Ball State and NIU. Meanwhile UMass is searching for its second win on the season, after having beaten winless Miami 17-10 for the Minutemen's only win on the year.
Never team will woe you statistically. Both are in the bottom half of the conference in major team statistics, but CMU is ahead of UMass in everything but passing defense. Central Michigan's offense is far superior to the Minutemen's on paper. The Chips' are scoring nearly double the points-per-game that UMass, one of the nation's worst offenses, is. Both teams have had some issues at quarterback throughout the season, but for Central Michigan Cooper Rush has still fared far better than the Mike Wegzyn/A.J. Doyle two-headed monster.
Defensively, nether team is doing well, and at 33.3 points allowed per game, CMU is actually giving up more than UMass (30). But don't be fooled, in most other statistics the Chippewas are outperforming the Minutemen defensively, albeit just narrowly. They're both allowing more than 400-yards-per-game, and are a misery to watch from a defensive purists perspective.
Names To Know:
Zurlon Tipton: The senior running back has 20 total touchdowns last season and seemed poised for a big final year in Mt. Pleasant. Then he snapped his ankle in Week 1. He willed his way back to action two weeks ago against Ball State, and actually got the bulk of CMU's carries a week ago vs. WMU, rushing for 114 yards and 2 touchdowns. Simply put, he's an offensive weapon.
Justin Cherocci/Shamari Benton: The junior/senior linebacking combo has managed to put up phenomenal numbers in a sea of mediocrity. Together they're averaging more than 20 tackles a game and seem to find their way into ever play.
A.J. Doyle: The sophomore quarterback took over as starter early in the season, with mixed results. It's not entirely his fault as any 1-9 team in the MAC typically has a lot of holes and UMass is no exception. But injuries have also played a part. He's been battling nagging injuries all season long and isn't expected to be 100 percent until after the season, but he should still get the start over Mike Wegzyn today.
Rob Blanchflower: The senior tight end gets a lot of comparisons to Rob Gronkowski, and for more than the fact that they both play home games in Gillette Stadium. Blanchflower is big, fast, can block and has soft enough hands to hurt you. While he hasn't gotten a lot of opportunities to shine in UMass' anemic offense, he can pull off a big lay at any moment and remind you why he'll be playing on Sundays.
The game can be streamed online on ESPN3 and WatchESPN at 1 p.m.
UMass fans: You can listen to the game on 105.5 FM in Springfield, Mass., or you can stream the broadcast online at UMassAthletics.com.
CMU fans: You can listen to the game on 95.3 FM and 91.5 FM in Mt. Pleasant, Mich., or you can stream the radio broadcast live on CMUCippewas.com.