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2018 MAC Football Game Preview: Western Michigan Broncos at Central Michigan Chippewas

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Can CMU get their first MAC win or will the Broncos remain perfect in the MAC?

NCAA Football: Western Michigan at Michigan Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

The Western Michigan Broncos will take their perfect conference record to Mount Pleasant this week when they face the Central Michigan Chippewas.

Saturday’s meeting will be the 90th match up between these two LONG time rivals. The Broncos hold a solid 48-39-2 lead over the Chips however, CMU was able to beat them last season and looks to make it two in a row this weekend.


Game Info

Date/Time: Saturday, Oct. 20th, 3:00 p.m.
Where: Kelly/Shorts Stadium — Mount Pleasant, MI
Watch: ESPN+
Odds: WMU is favored by 4 and has a 65.9% chance to win according to ESPN’s FPI
Weather: Possible rain, temps in the high-40s/low-50s.


The Broncos...

Quick Facts:
Record: 5-2 (3-0 MAC)
Points per game: 36.6
Points allowed: 31.0
Yards per game: 483 (208.1 rushing, 274.9 passing)
Yards allowed: 389.6 (169.4 rushing, 220.1 passing)

After starting 0-2, the Broncos have rattled off five consecutive wins but their three MAC games have all been very, very close. Last week, after going down 21-7 early, they eked out a come-from-behind win against BGSU.

Quarterback Jon Wassink has been electric for Western, completing 62.1% of his passes for 1929 yards and a 16-6 TD/INT ratio. He also has three rushing touchdowns so, in the red zone, he’s a threat to run it too.

On the ground though, LeVante Bellamy has been outstanding. He’s amassed 676 yards and four touchdowns this year and could have more if not for another very talented running back - Jamauri Bogan. Bogan has EIGHT rushing scores and 362 yards on just 79 attempts this season.

When Wassink does throw the ball, look out for Jayden Reed and D’Wayne Eskridge. Reed leads the team with 37 grabs for 538 yards with six TDs while Eskridge has 21 catches for 504 yards and three scores in his five games played.


The Chippewas...

Quick Facts:
Record: 1-6 (0-3 MAC)
Points per game: 18.1
Points allowed: 26.3
Yards per game: 287.6 (139.7 rushing, 147.9 passing)
Yards allowed: 351.9 (198.4 rushing, 153.4 passing)

CMU has had a lot of issues on offense.

They’ve seen some good and bad with quarterback Tommy Lazzaro. He has 607 yards and five touchdowns but is only connecting on 50.43% of his passes and has 8 INT. However, he has used to his legs to keep a lot of drives going and is the only Chip with more than 200 rushing yards this season, as he has 343 and three rushing touchdowns.

Next on the ground is Jonathan Ward who has 191 yards and close behind him is Kumehnnu Gwilly who has 161 yards and a TD so far.

When Lazzaro does complete a pass it’s usually to either Cameron Cole (15 grabs for 160 yards), Julian Hicks (17 catches for 154 yards and 3 TDs), or Brandon Childress (13 catches for 135 yards). No other player has more than 100 receiving yards.

Instead they’ve relied on their defense, which is only giving up 26 points per game. Malik Fountain leads the MAC with 83 total tackles and has 4 TFL, a sack, a pick, and two forced fumbles this season.


Prediction

Based on everything that’s happened with these two teams this season, you’d think Western Michigan would walk into Kelly/Shorts and blow out the Chips.

However, this is a rivalry game and CMU is not going to just roll over and watch the Broncos run all over them. In fact, the Chippewas defense has been very stout all season long and, against a foe like WMU, you bet they’ll be amped-up for this game.

I’m actually going to go out on a limb here and say that the Chips actually stun the Western Michigan Broncos. A late turnover dooms WMU and (somehow!) CMU is able to shock the world and get their first MAC win of 2018.

WMU - 24
CMU - 28