The non conference slate of games has been magical for the MAC in 2015. Toledo beat Arkansas, NIU had a great shot at beating the defending champions, and everyone's favorite hashtag claimed the top spot on the internet, a spot it forever holds in our hearts.
#MACtion has been good to us and the country this season, but week four sort of felt like a sputtering end to a great campaign, didn't it? Ohio State took care of business against Western Michigan and NIU couldn't steal one at Boston College. Eastern Michigan disappointed in the fourth quarter against army and Miami couldn't ride the momentum from last week's performance against Cincinnati. Buffalo and Ohio lost close ones to Nevada and Minnesota, respectively, and Kent State dropped a game against Marshall in double overtime. Ball State came up just short against Northwestern and UMass took a bruising in South Bend. Central Michigan looked great against Michigan State, but couldn't overcome the Spartan defense.
It wasn't all bad for the MAC on Saturday, though. Toledo didn't give up an offensive touchdown against Arkansas State, completing the Rockets' domination over the Natural State. Bowling Green needed every second in its game against Purdue and ultimately came out on top, making the Falcons 2-0 vs the Big Ten on the year. The Akron Zips offense showed up to the party and had an impressive day beating up on the Louisiana Lafayette Ragin Cajuns. All good things come to an end, and while the non conference finale helps many conferences learn a lot about where they stand, this is the Mid American Conference, and we have no idea what the hell is going on.
Now, for some helmet stickers:
Cooper Rush - the best quarterback in East Lansing Saturday
Seriously, how good was Rush this weekend? A 30-10 score doesn't look close on paper, but Michigan State was on the ropes deep into this game. A big part of that is the play of the Central Michigan quarterback. Rush's final line was 26 of 39 passing for 285 yards and a touchdown. That's a 66 percent completion rate, and I couldn't do that in Spartan Stadium if the defense was playing with blindfolds on. Rush put the Chippewas in a position to compete all afternoon, and they may have been in a position to win the damn game if not for one of the more hair-pulling #MACkickers performances of the season thus far.
Thomas Woodson - for doing it all
Woodson had himself a day for the Zips against Louisiana Lafayette. He did it both through the air and on the ground, throwing for 238 yards and two scores, adding 93 yards on the ground and another touchdown. After its last two performances, the Zips have to be feeling pretty good about their chances in a MAC East, and just maybe this offense can keep pace with Bowling Green.
Derrius Vick - Giving the Bobcats a chance
The Ohio Bobcats didn't have a true superstar standout on Saturday, but Vick played turnover free football and threw two touchdown passes, nearly leading the Bobcats to an upset victory of the Minnesota Golden Gophers. Vick also threw for just under 200 yards on the day despite only being called on to throw the ball 27 times. Vick's play this year should have Ohio fans feeling pretty optimistic coming out of non conference play.
Travis Greene - #FalconFast on the ground?
Greene went for 70 yards but most importantly punched in two scores for the Falcons, including the last touchdown with mere seconds remaining to silence the dozens of people at Ross Ade stadium for the final time. The falcons rushed for 137 total yards including Greene's 12 yard scamper at the end of regulation, ensuring that coach Dino Babers' risk paid off, and the Falcons remained undefeated against the Big Ten. Which, thanks to Babers affinity for risk, we are now graced with these rather obnoxious T-shirts:
Trayion Durham - Workhorse
The Golden Flashes haven't popped up on a helmet stickers list offensively this season, and that's mostly due to how brutal they've been on that side of the ball. But on Saturday Trayion Durham carried the load for Kent State and did he ever do it well. The flashes rushed for 247 yards total on the day, 114 of which belonged to Durham on 31 carries. That's quite the workload for the senior from Cincinnati, Ohio, and I hope the ice bath treats him well. Unfortunately, Kent State suffered its second close loss in as many weeks, closing out a non conference slate that has fans wondering, "what if?"
Matt Weiser - Big game for the big target
The Buffalo Bulls came up a bit short against the Nevada Wolfpack. Coming up close seemed to be the theme for the MAC on Saturday, but big games from wide receivers also dotted the landscape, including Matt Weiser. Weiser had just seven catches for 45 yards headed into Saturday's game against the Wolfpack, but he emerged with a 10 catch, 131 yard performance and a touchdown, besting even Joe Licata's favorite target, Ron Willoughby. Continued play like that and Buffalo may just have their offense figured out just in time for MAC play.
Darius Phillips - A wide receiver at heart
I know Phillips ins't a wide receiver anymore, but he still finds the ball like one. In the last two weeks he's logged three interceptions, including twice on Saturday, picking off both Cardale Jones and J.T. Barrett in what was otherwise a disappointing outing for the Broncos. Phillips has emerged as WMU's number one corner, and at this rate teams may try to pick on Ronald Zamort a little more frequently.
Jordan Williams - Stud
I don't think there's a team in this conference more interesting than the Ball State Cardinals. With the introduction of Riley Neal into the fold, this looks like a team that can win some football games, and they showed it on the road against Northwestern. Of course, the Cardinals came up short, but they didn't leave Evanston without putting on a show first. Jordan Williams was phenomenal, hauling in eight passes for 133 yards and two touchdowns. It's pretty clear that Williams is one of the best athletes on the field, no matter who the Cardinals are playing.
The Toledo Defense - for continuing its domination of the state of Arkansas
If #MACtion spawned from a plethora of points being given up on a weekly basis, Toledo didn't get the memo, especially this weekend. Arkansas State scored its only points of the game on a kickoff return for a touchdown, but otherwise could not move the ball on a stout Rocket defense. The Rockets are good, and I mean really damn good. They surrendered a whopping negative 14 yards rushing this weekend, and intercepted quarterback James Tabary three times. It wasn't quite the 60 plus points the Rockets hung on the Red Wolves last time they met, but I'd have to imagine this felt just as good. Is Toledo helping redefine MACtion? Maybe, but one thing's for certain, they are making us say some pretty crazy stuff:
Oh, and our favorite parody account had something to say about Saturday, too,
'@BretBielema you're really hurting my strength of schedule bro— Ya Boy Matt Campbell (@NotMattCampbell) September 27, 2015
I mean, he's not wrong.