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2016 Week 4 Preview: Virginia Cavaliers vs. Central Michigan Chippewas

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Can CMU keep turning heads this week?

NCAA Football: Virginia at Connecticut David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

With another win last week against the UNLV Rebels, the Central Michigan Chippewas are 3-0 for the first time since 2002. This week, they look to start 4-0, a feat that hasn’t been accomplished since 1985. Their next opponent will be the Virginia Cavaliers, a team that has been struggling to find their way, to say the least.

Central comes into this game with wins over FCS-level Presbyterian, Oklahoma State, and the UNLV Rebels. Virginia comes into this game with an 0-3 record, with losses to FCS-level Richmond, Oregon, and UConn.

The Chippewa offense, lead by starting quarterback Cooper Rush, has started to really show how strong they can be. Rush really shined what in last week’s game against the Rebels, as he threw for 352 yards and six touchdowns with no interceptions. Rush has now thrown for 957 yards and 11 touchdowns with only three interceptions this season. Central has many different targets for Rush to get the ball to, making it easier for the star quarterback. The Chippewas have four different wide receivers with at least 10 receptions and over 100-yards on season, showing that Rush can really spread the wealth among the entire receiving core. The Chippewas are outscoring there opponents 123-51, showing that the defense is doing a great job as well for the Chips.

Like last season, the running game has struggled to get going, but is doing enough to keep defenses honest. Devon Spalding still leads this running attack with 31 carries for 166 yards and a touchdown so far on the season, with Jahray Hayes and Jonathan Ward right behind him to help out the cause.

The Chippewa defense has been stout in all three games so far this season, only allowing 17 points a game. The Chips defense only allows 91 yards a game on the ground, showing how strong they are down in the trenches.

For the Virginia Cavaliers, they have struggled so far this season, and have yet to win a game. Quarterback Kurt Benkert leads the Cavalier offense, totaling 698 yards with five touchdowns and four interceptions. Just like the CMU offensive weapons, the Cavs have several wide outs who have at least 10 catches and all three of them have around 160 yards receiving. Albert Reid heads the backfield, as he has carried the ball 36 times for 227 yards and two touchdowns this season so far.

It’s no secret that the Cavaliers have struggled this season, only scoring 18 points a game, and giving up 31 points per game. The defense just hasn’t played well so far this season. The Cavaliers need something to go their way, so playing at least a close game against a team like Central Michigan could maybe get their hopes up and look forward to conference play.