It was a bit of a separation week for the MAC. UMass emerged as definitely not the worst team in the conference by beating Eastern Michigan, and Bowling Green established itself as definitely possibly the best team. The tiers of teams are beginning to sort themselves out, and barring a WMU miracle end to the season we could be looking at yet another Bowling Green and Northern Illinois matchup at Ford Field. Because it really isn't MACtion without the same two teams battling for the crown for a third year, right? Hooray for consistency!
This week was dominated by productive rushing attacks and excellent defense. You know, our favorite MAC staples. I'm giving out eight stickers this week, and they're finding different helmets than usual.
Kareem Hunt- Toledo
Hunt is usually a sticker target, but hasn't been around much this year given his injury and suspension. He is still one of the premiere backs in the conference and proved why against Central Michigan rushing for 113 yards and two touchdowns. Rocket fans should be excited. Perhaps the MAC's best player is finally playing like it and is still second in the conference in overall rushing despite all the time missed. In other words,
Travis Greene- Bowling Green
Who would have thought the Battle of I-75 would be setting up as a battle of prolific rushing attacks? Western Michigan appeared content to try and solo tackle perhaps the best rusher in Bowling Green history Wednesday night, and they paid a steep price. Greene rushed for 170 yards and three touchdowns, reminding the conference that Dino Babers' offense isn't one dimensional after all.
Jatavis Brown- Akron
The number four player on our preseason top 70 countdown had a monster Saturday, recording 11 total tackles, a pair of sacks, a forced fumble and an interception. The two sacks make Brown the conference leader in total sacks as well as tackles for loss. Also leading the league is the Zips rushing defense, holding opponents to 93.7 rushing yards per game. I'm willing to bet Brown is a big reason for that.
Quentin Poling- Ohio
HE'S BACK EVERYONE! BE HAPPY
Poling is one of the very best at the linebacker position in the conference, and its no question the Bobcats' defense missed his presence. Poling left in the first half of a game against Western Michigan way back in week seven, making Tuesday against Kent State his first appearance since. Poling wasted no time making his return known, recording 10 tackles and an interception. He hasn't missed a beat, and for Ohio that is very, very good news.
Derrius Vick- Ohio
Poling and the defense kept Kent State off the board, but not even the Flashes best performance could have kept up with Vick, who gashed the Flashes defense with his legs rather than his arm. Exhibit A:
Vick really could have pitched or taken it himself on that play for the same result. But when faced with the decision to pitch or make a defender look silly, Vick chose the latter, and I think we're all better people because of it.
Shawun Lurry - Northern Illinois
Thanks to an interception of Buffalo's Joe Licata, Lurrry became the nation's leader in interceptions. How about that? He also leads the conference in passes defended, leading Hustle Belt name pun favorite Demetrius Monday in both categories. Unfortunately the two won't get to square off this season, but it is fun to know the nation's leader in interceptions when it is all said in done will likely be from the MAC.
Joel Bouagnon- Northern Illinois
We'll stick with the Huskie (I got it right this time) theme and acknowledge how much of a beast Joel Bouagnon is. Bouagnon added 156 yards to his ballooning yards total, which already leads the conference, and was well above his average of 110 yards per game. Yeah, 110 yards per game is average for Bougnon. For perspective, that's more yards on the ground per game than the entire Central Michigan team.
Marcus McGill- Buffalo
Buffalo's comeback effort against Northern Illinois fell a bit short, but it wasn't without some fair:
At that point, the Bulls were staring at a 28-3 deficit coming out of halftime and were in dire need of a scoring play. McGill provided a spark for Licata and the Buffalo offense and definitely didn't leave any style points on the table.
Week 12 Sticker Games to Watch
Toledo @ Bowling Green - Tuesday 6 p.m. ET
Bowling Green has wrapped up the division, but that won't stop them from trying to run it up on the rivals from up north at the Doyt on Tuesday. Matt Johnson wasn't exactly himself in Kalamazoo, though that could have more to do with the torrential downpour than anything else. Travis Greene obviously is coming off of a pretty huge day and the Falcon receiving corps is always impressive. On the other side, Alonzo Russell is still tough to stop and Kareem Hunt is returning to form. Phillip Ely has left much to be desired as of late, but could turn it around in a rivalry game with all sorts of implications.
Western Michigan @ Northern Illinois - Wednesday 8 p.m. ET
Not only does this game pretty much decide whether or not the Huskies return to Ford Field again, but it features plenty of star power. Drew Hare may be out, but Ryan Graham has been a pretty fine substitute. It certainly hasn't affected Kenny Golladay's numbers much, and Joel Bouagnon is still himself leading the league in rushing. Defenslively, Shawun Lurry and Boomer Mays look to slow down the high powered Bronco offense led by Zach Terrell and Corey Davis trying to rebound from its disappointing outing against Bowling Green.