Another week, another episode of NCAA FOOTBALL 2014 PREDICTS THE FUTURE, where we use updated rosters and depth charts and port them to a PlayStation 3 in the hopes of finding out who will win on any given day!
Last week, Toledo and NIU met to do battle on the virtual gridiron and the Huskies grinded out a tough, defensive victory to wreck the Rockets’ chance at a MAC West division title.
This puts the CPU at a stellar 1-6 on the season, as the EA Curse once again came to light on a weeknight. In terms of the over/under, the sim predicted 23 less points than what was actually scored, once again plummeting our O/U counter to -228.
We were unable to select Toledo vs. Ohio as a poll option this week, due to the fact the Rockets were chosen to be the Week 10 matchup and yes, we heard your fury on Twitter. That said, we’ve got a fairly good matchup this week. It even has stakes attached!
It was a furiously paced game in Mt. Pleasant as two rivals gave it everything they had on the football field, but ultimately, Eastern Michigan pulled out a much-needed victory to keep its bowl hopes alive on the road over Central Michigan by a final score of 33-27.
The Chippewas scored 14 second-half points to force a one-score game late in the fourth quarter, but in three possessions which ended in the EMU side of the field, the Chips came away empty three times, including an interception and a missed fourth-down conversion on the ground.
Brogan Roback proved to be the player of the game, tossing two touchdown passes and no interceptions on 19-of-25 passing for 221 yards. He also rushed for a team-high 84 yards on a game-high 24 carries.
The scoring started in the first quarter, as Paulie Fricano kicked through a 34-yard field goal after the Eagles defense forced a CMU three-and-out on the first possession of the game.
EMU would add to the scoreboard once again after a second forced three-and-out on a fullback dive by Anotoine Porter (yes, that isn’t a typo) to extend the lead to 10-0 in favor of the Eagles. That drive was helped by a spinning 21-yard reception on third-down by Porter to pull EMU into the redzone some plays prior.
CMU would answer back with a Michael Armstrong field goal from 50-yards out on the following drive to put the score at 10-3 prior to the end of the first quarter.
EMU didn’t let the foot off the gas in the second quarter, needing only 70 seconds to march down the field and let Roback throw the first of his two passing touchdowns on a four-yard slant to Johnnie Niupalau to put EMU up 17-3.
The two teams echanged field goals on the ensuing possessions, as Armstrong (50 yards) and Fricano (34 yards) scored foe their prespective teams. The score stood at 20-6 up until the :29 second mark in the second quarter, when Jaron Johnson scored on a one-yard touchdown pass.
The Chippewas, who had been limited up to that point offensively, suddenly exploded on their last possession of the second half, passing the ball with shrewd efficiency to Eric Cooper and Corey Willis, with the latter scoring a 34-yard touchdown as time expired.
CMU had the ball to start the second half and needed 2:01 to find the endzone, as Shane Morris took over on the drive, ending it with a four-yard rushing touchdown to bring the score to 27-20.
The clamps came down in the second half on the EMU offense, as the Chippewas sacked the quarterback three times and held the Eagles to just two field goals (from 26 and 30 yards out) in the second half. Both of those were scored in the third quarter, setting up a potentially wind fourth quarter at 33-20.
CMU applied the pressure from the start, scoring a Jonathan Ward touchdown run to bring the game within one possession at 33-27.
The Chips forced a three-and-out on the Eagles and managed to make it into EMU territory before Morris threw his first interception of the night to Kyle Rachwal on a pass intended for Corey Willis.
This looked to be a killer for momentum, but the Chips still had some hope and all three timeouts. They again forced EMU to cough up the ball and regained possession on a punt. This time, CMU marched right down to the EMU 20-yard line thanks in part to a ROmello Ross 25-yard wheel route reception on fourth down and threatened to score in a no-huddle situation. Morris then threw his second INT of the day, this time to Ikie Calderon, who returned it 31 yards with just over three minutes left in regualtion.
CMU managed to slow down Roback and Ian Eriksen on the ensuing possession, using all three timeouts and forcing a punt while chewing up only 1:23 off the clock. Morris once again took over, using his legs and arm to manuever (again) into EMU teritory to launch one last attempt at the endzone from the 35-yard line, thanks to a 15-yard fourth-down reception by Willis.
The pass looked open for a moment, on the final play, as two Chips were under the ball at the five-yard line, but Calderon once again saved the day by deflecting the ball, ending the game at 33-27.
Morris would finihs the day 22-of-34 passing for 303 yards, adding a game-high 86 rushing yards on 21 carries.
Ian Eriksen (12 carries, 78 yards) and Jonathan Ward (21 carries, 44 yards) led the way in rushing for their respective sides, while Corey Willis (game-high six receptions and 118 yards) and Johnnie Niupalau (five receptions for 53 yards) led in receiving.
CMU’s Malik Fountain and Darwyn Kelly led all tacklers with nine tackles (eight solo each), with Jason Beck (seven tackles, three tackles-for-loss) follwoing close behind. CMU’s D’Andre Dill (two sacks,) Carlos Clark and and Darius Bracy (one sack apiece) and EMU’s Maxx Crosby, Derrick Dunlap and Dion Dawson (one sack apiece) all contributed on defense.