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MAC Week 2: What We Learned

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Another week is in the books. Here are a few more morsels of knowledge we have gained:

CLOSING IS HARD. Toledo, CMU and NIU were the three with huge games in BCS conference stadiums (Ohio State, Kentucky, Kansas respectively). All three had leads early (Toledo by 8, CMU by 10, NIU by 14) but penalties destroyed Toledo's chances, Kentucky rattled Central's confidence and Kansas ... well, I have no idea how they won because that was somehow the only game I was unable to view live.

Despite a killer offensive night for Chandler Harnish (five total touchdowns, 27-for-33, 313 yards passing, 90 yards rushing), the NIU defense was unable to stop KU in any way; the Jayhawks finished the game with six straight scoring drives (five touchdowns) beginning with their second quarter possession with 8:32 left. Defense just might be an issue with the Huskies; you saw them crack a little against Army last week.

While CMU had a near-perfect first quarter, rolling up 213 yards in three drives and amassing 13 points. From there on out they had 170 yards on nine drives and two turnovers. It was basically a no-win situation as Ryan Radcliff was forced to make plays, but he's not such a quarterback yet. The Chips fizzled out and has to regroup against WMU next week.

TEMPLE'S MAC HATERS ARE GETTING EVEN QUIETER. All those people who insist that Temple's gawdawful at football have no choice to but understand that they're here to stay. A neat first quarter was put in the back of our minds as the Owls finished the game rattling off 34 unanswered points, much of that being on the ground (331 yards). And remember Bernard Pierce? Three of those touchdowns were him. Oh, right. Him. And the defense looks pretty nifty too; they sacked Clayton Moore seven times.

AKRON'S SOCCER TEAM SCORES MORE THAN THEIR FOOTBALL TEAM. A 41-3 loss to Temple was not very surprising, nor was their soccer team's 4-0 blasting of Saint Louis University. But last week when Zips football was blanked at OSU, their accompanying soccer team won a 2-1 decision at Cal State Northridge. Total it up; the last two Saturdays it's Akron Soccer 6, Akron Football 3. Sounds like Rob Ianello may want to make Caleb Porter his offensive coordinator.

AT LEAST BALL STATE WAS GOOD FOR A WEEK. And that's not to say they won't be at least a pesky competitor in the MAC East, but being shellacked 37-7 hurts, even if it's ranked South Florida. How they began the game was awful, however: receiving the opening kickoff, Phil Dudley lost the ball and USF returned it for a touchdown. It was 30-0 by halftime, and there was little other reason to watch this one.

HOLDING YOUR BREATH FOR A KENT STATE OFFENSE MAY CAUSE HEMORRHAGING. At some point I'm pretty sure Darrell Hazell will make the Flashes a team that may not necessarily score 40 a game, but they'll accumulate more than 12 at home to a Sun Belt team. All they got was a touchdown, safety and field goal. Their defense showed up yet again by holding the Cajuns to 149 yards and recorded FIVE fumbles (recovering two), but KSU was only good for 179 yards and had three giveaways of their own. They'll get there. But they're not even close.

BUFFALO FINALLY BROKE THE FIRST QUARTER DROUGHT. Last year UB scored a total of six points in the first quarter. Against Stony Brook, the Bulls' Chazz Anderson laced a 57-yard strike to Alex Dennison for a 7-point possession, which may help put 2010 out of their minds. But they were held to 0 points in the fourth quarter, and they had just 14 total points in the fourth quarter last year. Start and finish strong. It helps.

AND THEN EVERYBODY ELSE PRETTY MUCH GAVE THEIR FCS OPPONENT AN ATOMIC WEDGIE. Bowling Green ran ragged against Morgan State 58-13, OHIO out-litigated the Law Offices of Gardner-Webb 30-3, WMU completed a full game against Nicholls State 38-7 (and the stats count!) and EMU squeaked by Alabama State 14-7, which may warrant further investigation, but let's start using some words on them once they actually play an FBS opponent.