Preview: Central Michigan vs. Western Michigan Print E-mail
Written by Dave Ruthenberg   
Monday, November 05 2007
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CMU record-setting freshman Antonio Brown
The MAC takes center stage as Western Michigan and Central Michigan renew acquaintances in the 79th meeting between the two longstanding rivals in a game that will be carried nationally on ESPN2 Tuesday night.





CMUletterC_Color_small.jpgCentral Michigan (5-4, 4-0 MAC) at Western Michigan (3-6, 2-3 MAC), 7:00 pm  ET
Site: Waldo Stadium
Western Michigan leads 43-33-2 (Last meeting: Central Michigan 31, Western Michigan 7 in 2006).
WMUBroncos_color_small.jpgTelevision: ESPN2
Outlook: With a victory Central Michigan will clinch its second straight MAC West division title and earn a return trip to Ford Field in Detroit on December 1 for a chance to defend its conference championship. The Chippewas are the only team with an unblemished conference record and have won 11 of their last 12 MAC contests. Paced by sophomore quarterback Dan LeFevour, who tops the MAC with 26 touchdowns (18 passing; 8 rushing) along with a league-leading average of 317.6 yards in total offense per game, the Chippewas offense has powered through its first four MAC games. Central Michigan is averaging 48 points and over 520 yards of offense per game in conference play and the running game came to life in a 41-32 victory over Kent State when Justin Hoskins rushed for 151 yards and the running game could be the healthiest its been all year with starter Ontario Sneed back in the fold after missing several games with a foot injury. The Chippewas however have struggled all season on defense and rank last in the MAC in both total defense, allowing 485 yards per game and passing defense (300.1 yards per game). CMU's secondary has been hit hard by injuries and received another blow with the loss of Curtis Cutts who is out for the season with a torn pectoral muscle that required surgery.

Western Michigan finds itself in the unusual role of playing spoiler against its rival as the Broncos were essentially eliminated from contention for a MAC West title by virtue of their 19-2 setback against Eastern Michigan on October 27. The Broncos offense struggled badly in its loss to the Eagles but is still averaging a respectable 27.6 points per game and possesses one of the MAC's most dangerous offensive weapons in wide receiver Jamarko Simmons. Simmons tops the MAC in receptions per game and is averaging 96.1 yards per game, second-best in the conference. QB Tim Hiller though has struggled with turnovers this season, having thrown 13 interceptions, highest among MAC signal-callers. Mark Bonds and Brandon West have shared the backfield duties for the Broncos and together are averaging over 138 yards per game. Western Michigan's defense is allowing an average of 32.3 points per game and like CMU has struggled to defend the pass, ranking 10th in the conference with teams putting up an average of over 229 yards through the air against WMU. The Broncos rank last in the MAC with 27 turnovers.

The forecast is for a cold, blustery November night in Kalamazoo and the weather may be about the only thing that can slow down the Chippewas offensive attack. Central Michigan has not won in Kalamazoo since defeating the Broncos 23-18 in 1993 but with a division title on the line, the Chips have everything to play for Tuesday night and will likely be celebrating a return trip to Detroit by the end of Tuesday's game.
Prediction: Central Michigan 38, Western Michigan 27.

Last Updated ( Monday, November 05 2007 )
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