Thanksgiving is for spending time with friends and family, feasting and giving thanks. Here at Hustle Belt we have plenty of things to be thankful for. We're thankful for the wonderful community of readers we have, and the contributors who help keep the engine running. We're thankful to SB Nation for providing us with such a fantastic outlet to share our passion for Mid-American Sports. We're also thankful for the MAC for being the best little conference a fan could ask for.
But, Thanksgiving is about more than just giving thanks and happy feelings, it's also about turkey-induced bellyaches and football. Since we can't share our actual turkeys with you via the web yet (are you listening SB Nation?), we decided to share some turkey and MAC Football in a different way.
In the spirit of the holiday we've created the 2013 Hustle Belt Turkey Awards, honoring the worst of the worst from the 2013 football season. Grab a fork and dig in, because there's plenty of dark meat to go around.
Turkey-est Game of the Year: Western Michigan's loss to Nicholls State.
Honestly, WMU's season isn't as bad as it seems on the surface when you factor in the change of culture that P.J. Fleck is overseeing, and the litany of injuries that have ravaged the roster, but this game was just bad. Nicholls State is a bad FCS team, and this was WMU's home-opener. The Broncos held the lead in the fourth quarter, but a pair of Nicholls State field goals and an awful interception by Tyler Van Tubbergen at the end of the game sealed the fate and handed WMU its first loss to an FCS team in nearly 20 years.
Turkey-est Performance of the Year: EMU vs. Bowling Green State
Every once and a while there's a performance that is so cringe-inducing it shouldn't be spoken of ever again. That was the exact case a week ago when EMU hosted Bowling Green on senior night. The Eagles mustered 65 total yards that night.
Let that sink in for a bit. 65 total yards. That's only five more yards than the Falcons gained in penalties. I'd rather eat raw turkey than re-hash this game, so I'll let you read about it on your own.
Turkey-est Call of the Year: The Faux-Safety
During Tuesday, Nov 5 Ohio at Buffalo game that was to be an epic showdown between MAC East powers, Buffalo steamrolled the Bobcats 30-3. But before Buffalo ran away with the game, Ohio trailed 7-3 early in the second half and was very much in the game. Then the officiating crew decided to get involved on this call:
Tyler Tettleton has called for intentional grounding resulting in a safety, because the referee, who was standing on the 2-yard-line, thought Tettleton, who was standing on the 4-yard-line, was actually in the end zone.
Turkey-est Crowd of the Year: Buffalo at Miami
The Miami RedHawks played host to the Buffalo Bowls two weeks ago on a chilly November evening. The result was probably the least-attended football game in college football history. Miami announced the official attendance number as 9,895, which was probably about 10,000 more than were actually there. The Mayflower held more people on its maiden voyage than Yager Stadium did that cold night in Oxford, Ohio.
Turkey-est Special Teams Play of the Year: Fat-Man Fake Punt Touchdown vs. Ohio
During Kent State's 44-13 route of Ohio a week ago, the Flashes decided to pull out all the tricks. Not only was Dri Archer flying around the field like his 2012-self, but Kent State even mixed in a fake punt. Facing a fourth-and-four from the Flaashes' own 39-yard line in the third quarter they lined up for a punt. Instead the ball was snapped directly to 6-foot-4-inch 261-pound defensive lineman Nate Terhune, who hurdled over an Ohio defender and rumbled 61-yards for the score.
Give this man a turkey leg, he deserves it.
Turkey-est Move of the Year: Ron English Flipping Out
This is just awful. A few weeks back Ron English, whom it was well known was going to be out of work at the end of the season, was fired the day before the Eagles game vs. rival Western Michigan. The reason? English ripped his team to shreds in a vulgar and offensive audio recording. Based on the language used in the tape, English went from likely landing an FBS coordinator job, to likely struggling to land a D-II coaching gig as no one wants to hire a royal asshole.
The Grand Turkey: The 2013 Miami RedHawks
The RedHawks are on a 15-game losing streak and have consistently struggled this season. Like a nice 25-pound Butterball, the team's season never got off the ground. Things got so bad that the RedHawks had to fire third-year head coach Don Treadwell, and his offensive coordinator in Week 5. If you thought it could only go up from there, you were wrong. Senior quarterback Austin Boucher, who never really found his footing this season in the 'Hawks raw offense, suffered a season-ending knee injury in the team's loss to Ohio. Miami concludes its season tomorrow vs. Ball State.
Of course, Miami could make me gobble my words, as a win vs. the Cardinals would catapult the 'Hawks out of the bottom spot. (BTW, Ohio is a very close second due to all the expectations placed on the team before the season).
- Winner-Take-All: The Black Friday Clash at The Ralph
- Bowling Green vs. Buffalo: Five Years Ago
- Kent State Continues Hot Start, Outlasts Surging Youngstown State Squad 83-79
- Eastern Michigan Got Caught In The Wildcats Claws, Falls To Kentucky 81-63
- November Follies: The Collapse of Ohio Football In November