Ohio came into the game looking to lock up the MAC East division crown, while CMU came into the game looking to earn bowl-eligibility on its Senior Night.
CMU won the game by a final score of 27-20 after holding off a late Bobcat rally to force the Bobcats to play for their trip to Detroit next week and to attain bowl-eligibility for the third straight season.
So what did we learn?
Cooper Rush can make all of the throws. If you were a non-believer in Rush after the Chippewas’ three straight losses, he earned your belief Tuesday night. He was 25-32 for 268 yards and two touchdowns, but his performance was even more impressive than that statline. Against the top pass rush defense in the conference, Rush moved about the pocket well and made some NFL-caliber throws.
Tyler Conklin will be up for play of the year in the MAC. Just see for yourself.
Turnovers killed Ohio. Ohio had more yards, first downs and fewer penalties than CMU, but still managed to come up short.
This is in large part due to the four team turnovers the Bobcats committed, including an interception in the back of the endzone with 30 seconds left in the game. Ball security and turnover margin have both been crucial to Ohio’s success this season, but in the Bobcats’ hiccup this week, those stats were the biggest problems for them.
The MAC East is still very much up for grabs. Ohio and Miami now sit tied at 5-2 in conference, with both teams having just one game left on the schedule. With Ohio’s struggles to hold on to the ball, paired with Miami’s five game win streak, the Bobcats could be in trouble.
An Ohio win and/or Miami loss next week will send Ohio to Detroit. However, if Ohio loses to Akron while Miami beats Ball State (both games are Tuesday, Nov. 22 at 7:00 p.m.) Miami will steal the East spot in the conference championship.
Ohio can’t win four in a row. In fact, the Bobcats haven’t won four straight games since week five of 2013. Long breaks before bowl games or coming off of bye weeks have hurt Ohio in recent years. Ohio will look to start a new win streak against Akron, which should be a very winnable game in order to set up a matchup with Western Michigan in Detroit.