clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Perfect combinations around the MAC

New, 4 comments

Let's take a look around the MAC and see who the best duos are. My pick: Matt Johnson and Roger Lewis.

Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports

Matt Johnson and Roger Lewis

Best quarterback in the conference? Best receiver too? On the same team? The Bowling Green Falcons are 1-2 up to this point with losses to Tennessee and Memphis, but not because of these two.

Johnson is on pace to be the most productive FBS quarterback for a season in history, averaging 452.6 yards per game, throwing nearly 50 times in each game too. We talked about it all last year and all summer long that this team has a penthouse of receivers, and they're not a bunch of No. 2 receivers either. Even with a deep pool, the MVP from the 2013 MAC Championship game still needs a target whose ceiling is higher than most -- and he has that in Roger Lewis. Lewis probably would have won the MAC Freshman of the Year award had it not been for Jarvion Franklin's takeover. The 6-foot-nothin' receiver is coming off of a huge 2014 season where he had six 100+ yard games, now with two games with at least 200 yard receiving. The Volunteers kept him fairly mute, but for the season, he's caught 24 passes from Johnson for 510 yards (21.3 yards per game) with five of Johnson's 12 passing touchdowns. Lewis had 1,093 receiving yards and seven scores last year with backup James Knapke starting at quarterback for pretty much the entire season.

You can all vote down below and debate with me, but there's no offensive duo in the conference that's better than this one right here.

Zach Terrell and Corey Davis

I heard a lot of "No! Zach Terrell had the highest efficiency rating, so he should be higher on your rankings than Johnson!" over the summer. A fair point. And coming in with the leading receiver in the MAC with Corey Davis as well as the leading receptions leader in Daniel Braverman, there was some room to make that argument.

With a much-limited run game in the first game against Michigan State, Terrell threw more than he's acclimated in doing for a game with 50 attempts. Davis caught 10 of those passes for 154 yards and a touchdown but he was targeted way more than that, especially when they were going for the touchdown. Davis was quiet in the Georgia Southern game, a team that was ninth in the Sun Belt against the pass last year, but blew up on the rebound win against Murray State last week with six catches, 139 yards and two touchdowns.

Davis has caught a hair under 22 percent of Terrell's 82 completed passes for the season, but nearly half of Terrell's completions are actually to Braverman. Maybe I should have said Braverman instead of Davis, but I'm pretty sure that in must-score situations, Bronco fans would want Terrell and Davis to be in sync with one another more than anything else.

Blake Frohnapfel and Tajae Sharpe

If you saw me walking around the grocery store, stopped me and said "Alex, can you name two wide receivers for the Massachusetts Minutemen?", I'd probably shrug my shoulders and say "Tajae and Sharpe."

There's not a whole lot to brag about this Minutemen squad with their 0-2 start, but they did compete better than I had expected with the Temple Owls, but that's no knock to Frohnapfel and Sharpe. Frohnapfel has 49 pass completions so far and 22 of those are to Tajae Sharpe -- nobody else on the team is in double digits in receptions. The talent level between Shapre and literally any other receiving option on this team is outstanding and it's no mystery why Frohnapfel would want to hook up with this guy time and time again. But if UMass is going to win some games, these two are going to have to do more than just move the chains with each other. They'll have to get some touchdowns on these connections at some point.

Darian Green and James Gilbert

The Ball State offense is transitioning to a new quarterback with true freshman Riley Neal instead of Jack Milas. Neal's only tossed the ole pigskin around in two games and has shown that he knows to feed the playmakers, but I wouldn't say that he and another receiver are a dynamic duo just yet. Besides, their running backs are doing just fine.

Replacing Jahwan Edwards to graduation and Horactio Banks to injury, sophomore Darian Green was named the starting running back before the season and has taken over the position quite admirably. James Gilbert should probably be the top name for MAC Freshman of the Year accolades to this point with 170 rushing yards and five touchdowns so far. Together, they have a combined 504 yards on 83 carries (6.1 yards per rush) and 10 total scores. Aside from Green's 48 yards last year, there's no collegiate track record coming into the season. It was all hype, promise and an experienced offensive line to factor into the preseason puff.

Drew Hare and Kenny Golladay

We all assumed that Drew Hare would be good this year, it was just a question as to who he'd be throwing to. Transferring from North Dakota to sit out a year, most people just didn't see Kenny Golladay coming.

Oops.

Golladay was an All-Big Sky Conference performer as a sophomore before he transferred and is on track to be an All-MAC performer his first season as a Huskie. Drew Hare has completed around 67 percent of his passes for 798 yards while Golladay, limited against Ohio State, has 20 catches for 376 yards and two scores so far this season. Golladay had nine catches for 213 yards in the season opener against UNLV and followed that up with eight receptions for 144 yards against Murray State. NIU's strong suit has always been having a good ground-and-pound approach, but these two should be a bigger talking point as the season progresses.