It was a day where the wind blew around leaves, food wrappers and divisional favorites around. Five of the six games had wind speeds of over 22 mph, meaning that those who knew how to run the ball were going to fare favorably. For the first six weeks, the 13 MAC teams had 1.38 passing yards for every rushing yard. On Saturday that number fell to 0.95.
The adjustment to the elements boded well for many road games; the home team was actually 2-4 on the day. We're left with one team with fewer than three losses (Temple). Only one team remains unbeaten in MAC play (Toledo). Those are your division leaders and very well seems like your MAC Championship matchup.
Onto the games.
TOLEDO 28, BOWLING GREEN 21 — How great is this? The Rockets won the first game in "Battle of I-75 Trophy" era of this rivalry ... but the trophy wasn't ready for presenting. But they used their running game to at least place a downpayment on the right to have the award for the next sports calendar year.
It took a while for this heated matchup to get interesting. The first points of the game were nailed on the board with one second left in the half on a 27-yard Hail Mary from Matt Schilz to Kamar Jorden. But the second half was a game of wearing down the Falcons defense, finally, with second- and third-string running backs Morgan Williams and David Fluellen, who combined for 231 yards and four touchdowns. A 4th and 1 late in the game by BGSU was stopped by Danny Farr, who had an impressive day that including two batted balls. The backbreaking play at the end was a Terrance Owens to Bernard Reedy strike for 59 yards that prevented a necessary three-and-out. After that fourth touchdown, Boo Boo Gates desparetely made it a game again with a kickoff return touchdown, but the onside kick attempt was a line drive out of bounds.
It wasn't Toledo's prettiest win but their running depth and fourth quarter defense showed that they're the MAC West top dogs for now until proven otherwise. BGSU's season is hitting a swoon at the wrong time — they've now lost three straight and are still having difficulty winning the close games late.
TEMPLE 34, BUFFALO 0 — Did they win? Yep. Did their defense play solid? Well ... zero points. That counts. And did Bernard Pierce g— yes, he did. 23 carries, 152 yards, two scores. Just another day of towing the load. Matt Brown is getting back into the groove as he ran 12 times for 120 yards. The coolest play had to be converted linebacker Ahkeem Smith running 49 yards on a fake punt for a touchdown. They're on a roll, and no, we're still not sure why they didn't beat Toledo.
For Buffalo, they were only able to scrape together 155 yards of offense and control the ball for a little over 20 minutes. In the last eight quarters they've played TU, they've been outscored 76-0. After being beaten like this, Riordan is more than ready to see head coach Jeff Quinn hand in his coaching utensils.
NORTHERN ILLINOIS 51, WESTERN MICHIGAN 22 — No, I'm not sure how NIU shut Western down better than they did Cal Poly. They limited "Carder to White" big gains: Jordan White got his 12 catches but for just 98 yards. Then the Huskies got busy in the second half, exploding for 38 points in the second half and 494 yards just on the ground. This is a big blow to the WMU momentum they built with their previous two wins. Ridiculous rushing stats by their quarterbacks: Chandler Harnish and Jordan Lynch combined for 342 rushing yards on the ground (more than WMU's total offense); Jasmin Hopkins added three rushing touchdowns.
But we knew their offense was golden; it was exemplfied and amplified in this game, but the "22" is way more useful. If NIU's defense can remain like this for the rest of the season, they can emerge as more than just a contender. A Buffalo win should be take but that Toledo game looms large.
BALL STATE 23, OHIO 20 — Another case of LemboBall™ gutting out a huge win, but finally taking it outside the state of Indiana. And Frank Solich unfortunately had his Bobcats playing LetdownBall. Frowny face.
This was the one game where the wind wasn't a huge factor (just 10 mph, according to the box score) so the passing game was aflutter. The one man able to fasten the passing game together thanks to his eight catches, 157 yards and two touchdowns, including this ridiculous one-hander for 75 yards:
But the Ball State game plan was: control the clock (Jahwan Edwards had 25 nice carries for 123 yards) and keeping the turnover number to zero. They led for most of the game, but not by much, and the Bobcats seemed gassed at the end. The last gasp to tie the game was Matt Weller from 41 yards away but he pushed it left.
OHIO might have the easiest schedule but they've just lost two games they were expected to win. They have to beat Akron next week, right? ...Right?
EASTERN MICHIGAN 35, CENTRAL MICHIGAN 28 — You have to imagine if Jeff Genyk watched this game somewhere and started talking smack to anybody around him. 2008 was the last time EMU was able to knock off their rivals in Mount Pleasant. Again, this was a game of running. The Eagles had 350 yards on the ground thanks to the aptly named EMU combo Greene And White; Dominque White had the distance (161 yards) and Green provided the points (three touchdowns). A flurry of passing in the final four minutes caused CMU to tie the game at 28-28 but that Chips defense collapsed in the final drive.
A curious play in this game which might've yielded huge momentum: EMU botched a kick return. The return man never controlled the ball, and CMU looked to recover. However, an inadvertent whistle was blown and EMU retained possession. it'd have been a guaranteed momentum changer, but it was a lucky break thanks to the stripes.
MIAMI 9, KENT STATE 3 — I honestly don't know what else can be said about this ugly game, but KSU did show some flashes of competency in their final drive when they had to go about 80 yards in 80 seconds. But that was your lone flash of excitement. KSU had a field goal, Miami scored a passing touchdown late in the game and added a safety sack. There's your summary. Miami wins and moves on.