MAC Football Week Six Recap: All Shook Up Print E-mail
Written by Dave Ruthenberg   
Sunday, October 07 2007
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Photo: Paul Nelson
Halfway through the 2007 football season the MAC East standings look a little strange. In fact, if you flip the standings from the end of last season, you would have a fairly accurate picture of the standings as they appear today. Buffalo, fresh off its 31-10 defeat of Ohio, suddenly finds itself atop the MAC East while Ohio, last year's divisional champ in the East, finds itself currently ensconced in last place, having lost four straight games.

Heck, even Temple, just about everybody's preseason pick to occupy the cellar, has leapfrogged Ohio out of the basement. The season is far from over of course and several more teams in the East will be heard from yet with Bowling Green, Akron and Miami all undefeated in the MAC East.

Over in the MAC West, Ball State took a major tumble and Central Michigan, last year's MAC champs, are suddenly back in the driver's seat following their 58-38 thrashing of the Cardinals. Western Michigan is the only other team in the MAC West without a loss within their division but the bottom line for the Chips is that two more wins within their division and they will have a return engagement in the MAC Championship Game. After the Chips had lost 44-14 to North Dakota State two weeks ago, such a scenario seemed rather unlikely.

Hang tight though, because if we have seen anything this season so far, it is that parity is in full force in the MAC and on any given know the drill.

Quick Stat Check
Here is a quick look at league leaders in three offensive categories, courtesy of the Mid-American Conference:

Passing Yards    
1. Nate Davis Ball State 1,640
2. Tyler Sheehan Bowling Green 1,579
3. Dan LeFevour Central Michigan 1,498
4. Tim Hiller Western Michigan 1,487
5. Adam DiMichele Temple 1,217
Rushing Yards    
1. Eugene Jarvis Kent State 851
2. Justin Anderson Northern Illinois 736
3. Jalen Parmele Toledo 620
4. Kalvin McRae Ohio 510
5. Mark Bonds Western Michigan 388
Receiving Yards    
1. Jabari Arthur Akron 642
2. Jamarko Simmons Western Michigan 639
3. Dante Love Ball State 552
4. Bryan Anderson Central Michigan 452
5. Darius Hill Ball State 444
5. Stephen Williams Toledo 444

Here is our recap of the past week's action, with notes and quotes from each game. Also be sure to keep reading for our choices for MAC offensive and defensive players of the week.   

Around The Conference
Michigan 33, Eastern Michigan 22.E-Eagle-color_small.JPG
Quick Take:  The Eagles made the short seven-mile trip to the Big House to take on neighboring Michigan and came away on the short-end of a hard-fought 33-22 decision. The Eagles trailed 16-8 at halftime on the strength of a Dontayo Gage 86-yard kickoff return that set up a field goal and then added a safety when DT Jason Jones blocked a PAT effort and DB Ryan Downard returned it all the way for two points. The Eagles closed to within 16-14 after surprising Michigan with an onside kick to start the second half and QB Andy Schmitt scored on a keeper later in the drive. Two third quarter turnovers however doomed any thoughts the Eagles had of pulling the upset as the Wolverines posted 17 unanswered points in a ten-minute span.

Eastern Michigan redshirt freshman DB Ryan Downard recorded an interception and returned a blocked PAT for a safety; the first such score ever against Michigan.
**Michigan tailback Mike Hart rushed for 215 yards and became Michigan's all-time leading rusher.
**The 22 points scored by the Eagles were the most ever that EMU has scored against Michigan, topping the 20 points scored against the Wolverines in a 59-20 Michigan victory in 1998.

** "
We really don't care who's out there. We always give one hundred percent effort. Like Coach always says, all that changes is the color of the jerseys and the numbers on those jerseys." Eastern Michigan DB Ryan Downard.
** "We emphasized all week just having the ability to come in here and fight. We did not talk at all about Michigan, at all about the personnel. We didn't come here on Friday, did not talk at all about the Big House and Hail to the Victors. We talked about fighting and I really felt like for a vast majority of the game, if not all of it, our kids came and they fought every single play. Obviously we were overmatched physically, but certainly not from a heart perspective." Eastern Michigan head coach Jeff Genyk.
"We fought and played hard as a team. We just got to take the momentum we had here this week and take it to a higher level next week." Eastern Michigan RB Dwayne Priest.

CMUletterC_Color_small.jpgCentral Michigan 58, Ball State 38. BallState_Color_small.jpg
Quick Take: It was a game between the defending MAC champs and the contenders to the MAC crown. In the end, the contenders were exposed as pretenders as the Chips dismantled Ball State in Muncie, 58-38. With the win CMU is now 3-0 in the MAC West and needs only two victories, against in-state rivals Western Michigan and Eastern Michigan, to ensure a return trip to the MAC Championship Game. Chippewas sophomore QB Dan LeFevour put up 506 all-purpose yards, on 360 yards passing and 146 yards rushing as the Chips rolled out 658 yards in total offense. LeFevour threw five touchdowns and rushed for another while WR Bryan Anderson had 154 yards receiving and a touchdown. The Cardinals entered the game with the MAC's #1 scoring defense and were held to only 369 yards in offense, their lowest offensive output since losing their season-opener against Miami.

**CMU QB Dan LeFevour's 506 yards of total offense was the third-highest single-game output by a player in MAC history
**LeFevour's five touchdown passes tied a Central Michigan school record.
**The Chippewas' 658 yards of offense also set a new school record.

** "
The way the (divisional) structure is set up, every game is big in the MAC West. But we really look at this as just another one of twelve games. To be a champion we have to win on the road and that takes great focus and we exhibited that today." Central Michigan head coach Butch Jones.
"As a team we didn't take the punches and punch back. We didn't respond well. I think our demeanor stunk at times." Ball State head coach Brady Hoke.
** "This game was won on the front line and we felt our front line was the better group and it showed today." Central Michigan DL Steven Friend.

(7) Boston College 55, Bowling Green 24.BG_small.jpg
Quick Take:
Twelve penalties and six turnovers usually leads to defeat and that was certainly the case for the Falcons who were manhandled by the seventh-ranked Eagles of Boston College, 55-24. Sophomore quarterback Tyler Sheehan had the worst game of his young collegiate career, throwing five interceptions. Meanwhile, his counterpart, BC's fifth-year senior, and Heisman hopeful quarterback, Matt Ryan, was busy shredding the Falcons' defense to the tune of 312 yards passing and four touchdowns. Boston College blew the game open after the Falcons had closed to within 14-10 by scoring 38 unanswered points, opening up a 52-10 margin late in the third quarter before the Falcons added a pair of fourth-quarter scores. BG now begins a stretch of seven straight games against MAC opponents.

**Boston College is 6-0 for the first time since 1942.
**Bowling Green WR Freddie Barnes has scored a touchdown in each of the last three contests for the Falcons.
**BC's 38 first half points were the most in a half since the Eagles scored 42 points in the first half of their 51-25 win over Toledo in the 2002 Motor City Bowl.

** "That might have been the best team, arguably, that we've ever played since I've been coaching here." Bowling Green head coach Gregg Brandon.
"I just made some poor mistakes and bad throws. They had a lot of answers for what we were doing. They had a lot of blitzes we weren't expecting." Bowling Green QB Tyler Sheehan.
** "In today's game you saw a fifth-year future first round draft pick [QB Matt Ryan] operating a highly effective offense and then you saw a first-year quarterback (Tyler Sheehan) kind of trying to do some things out side of himself against a pretty salty defense." Brandon.

819.gifBuffalo 31, Ohio 10.OhioBobcats_color_small.jpg
Quick Take: Forgive the Bulls if they take a moment to enjoy their new found panoramic view atop the MAC East standings. It's a very unfamiliar view but one that they have earned by virtue of starting 2-0 in the MAC East, following their 31-10 win over the defending MAC East champion Ohio Bobcats Saturday. The Bobcats have now lost four straight games and six of their last eight dating back to last season. The Bulls were led by RB James Starks' 183 yards rushing and two touchdowns as the Bulls outscored Ohio 17-3 in the second half of their homecoming victory to put the game out of reach. The Bobcats were held to 90 yards rushing and neither QB used by the Bobcats, Theo Scott nor Brad Bower, topped 100 yards passing, each throwing for 93 yards and no touchdowns.

**Buffalo is now 16-19 in the red zone this season, including 14 touchdowns.
**Bulls RB James Starks' 183 yards rushing were a career single-game high.
**Ohio was outgained in offense for the fourth consecutive game.

** "It's unexplainable how it (being in first place) feels. It's a bittersweet feeling because it's the first time we've ever done this since I've been here and the program is turning around. We're trying to show people that. We took a step forward today." Buffalo DE Trevor Scott.
** "We knew he (Buffalo RB James Starks) was going to get a lot of carries. We pushed him a lot in practice so it carried over to the game." Buffalo head coach Turner Gill.
** "We're going to get ready for the next game (against Toledo). The next step is being able to handle prosperity." Gill.

Temple_small.JPGTemple 16, Northern Illinois 15.NIU_3CHD_small.jpg
Quick Take: Jake Brownell kicked three field goals, including the game-winning 39 yard effort with nine seconds remaining, to give the Temple Owls their first-ever Mid-American Conference victory, defeating Northern Illinois 16-15 in Philadelphia. The Owls, who had lost 27 of their last 28 games entering the contest, also snapped an eight-game losing streak. Temple did not record an offensive touchdown in the contest but did cross the goal-line courtesy of a 66-yard Terrance Knighton fumble recovery that gave the Owls a 7-6 lead in the second quarter after the Huskies' Justin Anderson had staked NIU to a 6-0 lead on a 1-yard run earlier. Chris Nendick however missed the PAT on the Huskies' opening touchdown which proved to be the difference in the contest. Anderson added a 39-yard TD run in the fourth quarter that had put the Huskies back on top, 15-13 (when Nendick again missed a PAT) before Brownell's late-game heroics set up by a 12-play 56-yard drive.

** Temple's 10-6 halftime lead was their first halftime lead of the season.
** Northern Illinois is 1-5 for the first time since 1998.
** Huskies' tailback Justin Anderson rushed for 163 yards, his fourth straight game over 150 yards rushing.

** "When you're trying to build a program, the first thing you have to do is learn how to do is compete, and we've done that in all but one game this year. We've competed." Temple head coach Al Golden.
** "You tell me that our defense doesn't give up a touchdown and I'm feeling really good. You know they got the one touchdown. It was enough for me, but we couldn't generate enough on offense. I said it last year that these guys (Temple) are the future of this league. Their defense, they got everybody back and a lot of them are back for two more years. They're going to be a good football team." Northern Illinois head coach Joe Novak.
** "I was just trying to stay focused. You know just believe in myself with the Lord's Prayer and everything so I just tried to stay focused." Temple PK Jake Brownell on staying focused before the game-winning field goal.

MiamiRedhawks_Color_small.jpgMiami 20, Kent State 13.KSU_NoText_Color_small.jpg
Quick Take: Miami quarterback Dan Raudabaugh came off the bench for injured starter Mike Kokal and helped lead the RedHawks to a 20-13 win over Kent State in a crucial MAC East division contests. Kent State tailback, Eugene Jarvis, who entered the game as the nation's leading rusher, opened the scoring on a three-yard touchdown run in the opening quarter but Miami RB Austin Sykes answered later in the quarter and Nathan Parseghian added a field goal for the RedHawks, giving Miami a 10-7 lead after the opening quarter but the game was knotted at 10-10 at halftime before Raudabaugh led the RedHawks on a 7-play 71-yard drive to open the second half, giving the RedHawks a 17-10 edge which they never relinquished. The Golden Flashes, trailing 20-13 late in the game, mounted a late drive but quarterback Julian Edelman was forced out of bounds at the one-yard line after nearly scoring on a QB scramble on 4th-down and goal from the 17-yard line. Jarvis was limited to 19 carries and 82 yards for Kent State.

** Kent State committed 10 penalties for 109 yards.
** Jarvis had his string of consecutive games of rushing over 100 yards snapped at five.
** When Miami's Austin Sykes scored a touchdown in the first quarter, it was the RedHawks' first opening quarter touchdown this season.

** "I just go in there, try to look those guys in the eye. Maybe I'll crack a joke or something, you know, to keep everyone on their toes." Miami QB Dan Raudabaugh on coming in for Mike Kokal.
** "When you're playing as well as we're playing, it's really frustrating, because we really feel like if we don't beat ourselves, we can score a lot of points on anybody we play." Kent State head coach Doug Martin.
** "I thought our guys responded really well. We lost three of our top players in the first half...maybe for the year. Our depth is a lot better than it was last year." Miami head coach Shane Montgomery.

ToledoRockets_Color_small.jpgToledo 35, Liberty 34.
Quick Take:
So far this season, it's happened to Central Michigan and Northern Illinois and Toledo came within less than four minutes of becoming the third MAC team to fall victim to a team from the FCS but survived the upset bid when Jalen Parmele scored his fourth touchdown with 3:47 remaining as the Rockets escaped with a 35-34 victory over Liberty. Down to their third string quarterback, DJ Lenehan, who completed 19-23 passes for 226 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions, the Rockets rallied from a 12 point fourth quarter deficit primarily behind Parmele's 169 yards rushing. The Rockets outgained the Flames 493-282 yards but the Flames pulled off several big plays to keep the Rockets' faithful on edge, including a 35 yard interception return for a touchdown that gave the Flames a 34-22 edge late in the third quarter.  
** Toledo RB Jalen Parmele's 30 carries, 169 yards and four touchdowns were all season highs.
** The Rockets have scored on their opening possession in three straight games.
** Toledo's 493 yards of offense was also a season high.

** "Defensively, we can't keep making mistakes, making penalties and giving them second chances. We have to continue to improve and play with our hearts." Toledo head coach Tom Amstutz.
** "
I thought we had a good chance coming in here. I told the team at halftime that we are in exactly the position we need to be. It's disappointing and heartbreaking but there are a lot of positives to draw from. We will go home and regroup and continue to move forward." Liberty head coach Danny Rocco.
** "
The defense has been taking a lot of heat all season, so we knew we had to rally and get a stop to win this game. Everybody got angry, so to speak. We knew we had to take care of the job." Toledo DE Skylaar Constant

zips_small.jpgAkron 39, Western Michigan 38.WMUBroncos_color_small.jpg
Quick Take:
The Broncos appeared to have the game won with fifteen seconds remaining and holding a 38-33 lead but the Zips had other ideas. After battling back and forth throughout, the Zips were stopped on the potential game tying drive with less than two minutes remaining. Or so it appeared. Down 38-31, Akron was stopped on fourth and goal at the Broncos' 4-yard line, turning the ball over on downs. The Broncos however failed to gain a first down and opted to take an intentional safety rather than risk punting deep in their own end zone. The Broncos, now up 38-33 booted the ball back to the Zips on a free kick from their own 20-yard line. The kick traveled 69 yards and was corralled by the Zips Alphonoso Owen who then tossed it backwards to Andre Jones who followed his blockers all the way to the end-zone for the game-winning play as time ran out for the heartbreaking loss or exhilarating win, depending upon your perspective.

** Akron WR Jabari Arthur had career highs in receptions (15) and yards (223) to go along with three touchdowns.
** Western Michigan WR Jamarko Simmons recorded a career high with 172 yards receiving.
** The two teams combined for 993 yards in offense (501-492 Akron).

** "The ball bounced around and Alphonso (Owen) went back and got it around the 10-yard line. As they closed in to tackle him, Andre (Jones) yelled 'pitch it, pitch it'." Akron head coach JD Brookhart explaining the game-winning kick return.
''Beating the preseason league champion is a big momentum-builder, but it means nothing if we don't take advantage of it and continue to win.'' Brookhart.
** "Obviously, it was just unbelievable. I just don't know what else to say." Western Michigan head coach Bill Cubit.

Players of the Week
MAC Report Online announces its choices for offensive and defensive players of the week for week six of the MAC season.

cmu_lefevour_small.jpgOffensive Player of the Week
Dan LeFevour, QB, Central Michigan, 506 all-purpose yards; 360 yards passing, five touchdowns; 146 yards rushing, one touchdown.
Comment: LeFevour recorded the third highest total in the history of the MAC with 506 all-purpose yards in leading Central Michigan over Ball State 58-38 as the Chips stand at 3-0 in the MAC West and control their own destiny for another berth in the MAC Championship Game. LeFevour also tied a school record with his five touchdown passes.


emu_downard_small.jpgDefensive Player of the Week
Ryan Downard, DB, Eastern Michigan. One interception, PAT return for safety
Comment: Downard recorded his fourth interception of the year, tops in the MAC, and returned a blocked PAT for a safety for Eastern Michigan in their crosstown battle with the Michigan Wolverines. The PAT return was the first ever against Michigan in the 128-year history of the Wolverines' program.

Prognosticating Prowess
Wow. What else can you say? When you have games decided on wild kick returns and last second field goals, it makes for an exciting week of football but can also make for a lousy week for predictions. Unfortunately, it's our third straight lousy week. But, to use coach speak, we will go back, look at the films and work on correcting our mistakes because it's a long season and you have to take each week one week at a time and stay focused. Or something like that. For the past week our picks went an abysmal 3-5 for a season mark of 38-21. The breakdown:



Michigan 42, Eastern Michigan 10.

Michigan 33, Eastern Michigan 22.

Ball State 42, Central Michigan 28.

Central Michigan 58, Ball State 38.

Boston College 33, Bowling Green 27.

Boston College 55, Bowling Green 24.

Ohio 24, Buffalo 20.

Buffalo 31, Ohio 10.

Northern Illinois 32, Temple 26.

Temple 16, Northern Illinois 15.

Kent State 27, Miami 17.

Miami 20, Kent State 13.

Western Michigan 24, Akron 20.

Akron 39, Western Michigan 38.

Toledo 38, Liberty 20.

Toledo 35, Liberty 34.

Last Updated ( Monday, October 08 2007 )
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