MAC Football Week 13 Recap: More Questions Than Answers Print E-mail
Written by Dave Ruthenberg   
Sunday, November 25 2007
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Akron's Record-Setting WR Jabari Arthur/Photo: Jeff Harwell
The final weekend of MAC football action is in the books but while some issues were resolved, just as many questions may have been left unanswered. Central Michigan and Bowling Green likely assured themselves of bowl games but Miami may have just opened the door for a bowl appearance by Ball State.

The extended Thanksgiving weekend of games was kicked off with Central Michigan's comeback (is there any other kind of Chippewas victory lately?) over a game Akron Zips squad Friday as quarterback Dan LeFevour registered a remarkable 514 yards of total offense, but the most important yard was his last as he plunged in from one-yard out with 1:31 left to lift the Chips to a 35-32 victory and to a reocrd of 7-5 overall and a likely berth in the Motor City Bowl.

Meanwhile the second game of the Friday feast saw Bowling Green take out Toledo, 37-10 to finish with the MAC's best overall record at 8-4 and likely assures the Falcons of a bowl game, likely in Toronto, but even possibly in Mobile at the GMAC Bowl because....

Miami, which found itself in the same situation as Central Michigan entering their game Saturday at Ohio, did not take care of business and fell to the Bobcats 38-20. The RedHawks, who had already clinched the MAC East, end the regular season at 6-6 and can only get to a bowl game by defeating Central Michigan in the MAC Championship on December 1. For the RedHawks it's simple: lose and go home. Win and go bowling.

But a fourth team will be very interested observers and will be no doubt pulling for the Chips to down Miami.

Ball State finished the regular season at 7-5 and would be the MAC's third bowl representative should Miami falter in their championship match against CMU.

Who is going where and when will we know? Those are the questions but the answers may not be officially known until December 1, after the MAC Championship Game.

In the past, the MAC's bowl affiliates have been reticent to announce bowl bids prior to the MAC Championship preferring to not steal any of the spotlight or thunder from the MAC's championship. But that won't stop us from speculating.

Possible Bowl Scenarios
Central Michigan can likely book its plans for the Motor City Bowl. The Chips are the team the Motor City Bowl wants and with a Big Ten opponent (likely Indiana) the Motor City Bowl could easily top last year's record attendance of 54,113.

Then things get dicey.

Bowling Green is anticipating an International Bowl bid but if the RedHawks lose the MAC title it would not be a major surprise to see the Falcons heading to Mobile, AL for the GMAC Bowl. If Miami wins, we expect to see the RedHawks heading south and Bowling Green heading north of the border.

Finally, Ball State would go bowling with a Miami loss and the Cardinals would likely find themselves in the International Bowl.

With the results from the other conferences around the country this past weekend, there does not appear to be a fourth bowl that will be available to the MAC meaning that if four teams are bowl eligible, Ball State is the odd man out. 

This is just our view, because, as of now, the bowls are all mum on the subject.

NIU Schedules Press Conference 
Coming off their first losing season in eight years (2-10), speculation has been rampant about the future of Huskies' head coach Joe Novak and the school has scheduled a 4:00 pm ET press conference on Monday with Novak and NIU AD Jim Phillips to discuss Novak's current contract status and future plans.

During his twelve seasons at Northern Illinois, Novak has compiled a 63-76 overall record which is a bit deceiving as Novak went 3-30 in his first three seasons.

During his tenure Novak was named MAC Coach of the Year in 2002 and has taken the Huskies to to two bowl games, defeating Troy in the 2004 Silicon Valley Classic, 34-21 and losing to TCU in last year's Poinsettia Bowl, 37-7.

MAC Awards
The official All-MAC team as selected by the league's coaches and the winners of the MAC specialty awards as chosen by members of the MAC News Media Association will be announced early this week.

In case you missed it, MAC Report Online announced our third annual awards late last week and the complete list of our speciality award winners can be viewed here.

Final Regular Season Statistical Leaders
Below are the final regular season conference leaders in key offensive and defensive statistical categories:  
Rushing Yards
Eugene Jarvis
Kent State
Passing Yards
Nate Davis
Ball State
Total Offense (Yards)
Dan LeFevour
Central Michigan
Receiving Yards
Dante Love
Ball State
All-Purpose Yards
Dante  Love
Ball State
Pass Efficiency
Nate Davis
Ball State
Scoring (Total points)
Kalvin McRae
Rushing TD's
Kalvin McRae
Receiving TD's
Jabari Arthur
P.J. Mahone
Bowling Green
Reggie Corner
Clayton Mullins
Red Keith
Central Michigan
Larry English
Northern Illinois
Tackles for Loss
Jason Jones
Eastern Michigan


Around The Conference
Here is our recap of this past week's action and be sure to scroll down for our choices this week for offensive and defensive players of the week.

CMUletterC_Color_small.jpgCentral Michigan 35, Akron 32. zips_small.jpg
Quick Take:
The Chippewas traveled to the Rubber Bowl for the regular season finale for both teams and Akron nearly pulled the upset before a late rally pulled out a 35-32 victory for Central Michigan. The teams entered the third quarter with the Chips clinging to a 14-13 edge before Akron put up 13 straight points on a Bryan Williams TD run and then later in the quarter DB Andre Jones swiped the ball from CMU WR Bryan Anderson and scampered 64 yards for a touchdown to open up a 26-14 lead. The teams then traded touchdowns with Akron up 32-20 with just over eight minutes left in the game. CMU QB Dan LeFevour then went to work and connected with WR Kito Poblah two minutes later to make it a 32-27 game. LeFeovur then found WR Bryan Anderson for a 45-yard pass on CMU's final possession setting up his own 1-yard TD run to make it a 35-32 game with 1:31 remaining. Red Keith intercepted Akron QB Chris Jacquemain on Akron's next possession to seal the victory for the Chippewas.

CMU QB Dan LeFevour broke his own school single-game total yardage record by racking up 514 yards of total offense with 382 yards passing and 132 yards rushing and four total touchdowns.

**Akron WR Jabari Arthur had eight receptions for 111 yards and set a new
Akron career record for receiving yards with 2,653 yards. His 86 catches this season were also an Akron single-season record.
**Chippewas WR Antonio Brown set a school single-game record with 15 receptions and currently has 92 receptions on the season, an all-time single-season CMU record.

"We faced a lot of adversity in this game and our team played with a lot of poise and showed a lot of savvy to comeback and win." Central Michigan head coach Butch Jones.
** "I feel horrible for the seniors to have it end like that."
Akron head coach J.D. Brookhart.
** "Dan (LeFevour) has done it for us all year and you really can't say enough about him, Dan has been consistent all year for us and never gets frustrated on the field and plays with great poise." Jones.

BG_small.jpgBowling Green 37, Toledo 10.ToledoRockets_Color_small.jpg
Quick Take: Bowling Green put itself in solid bowl position, claiming the Peace Pipe Trophy in it its 37-10 over rival Toledo Friday. The Falcons opened the scoring on a safety when Toledo QB DJ Lenehan fell in his own end zone after the Rockets had stopped BG on fourth and goal on the Falcons' opening possession. From there the Falcons rolled to a 16-3 halftime advantage and never looked back as QB Tyler Sheehan tossed three touchdowns along the way with Anthony Turner also tossing a touchdown for the Falcons. Toledo's lone TD came when QB Clint Cochran, who replaced Lenehan in the second half, connected with Nick Moore for a 37-yard scoring strike.

**Bowling Green DB PJ Mahone picked off two passes, giving him the MAC co-lead with seven interceptions this season.
**Toledo RB Jalen Parmele had his streak of seven straight 100-yard or more rushing games snapped. Parmele rushed for 82 yards on 19 carries.
**The win gave
Bowling Green a final season record of 8-4 overall, tops in the MAC this season.
**The loss gave
Toledo back-to-back losing seasons for the first time since 1977-1978.

** "
It would have been nice to end this season with a Mid-American Conference championship, but having the best record in the conference is nice to have. We had our own play-off in November, and we got it done." Bowling Green head coach Gregg Brandon.
** "Unfortunately, I wasn't able to do what I'm capable of to help the team out. They just got the better of us. It's a bad feeling to lose to your rival." Toledo RB Jalen Parmele.
** "I'm on my highest of highs right now but it will be even better when we go to a bowl game. We are 8-4 right now and put ourselves in an outstanding position for a bowl bid and now we will just be grateful if we get one." Bowling Green DL Sean O'Drobinak.

819.gifBuffalo 30, Kent State 23 (OT)KSU_NoText_Color_small.jpg
Quick Take: Buffalo went into Kent State and came away with a 30-23 overtime victory that gave Buffalo a share of the MAC East title. The Flashes opened up a 13-3 first quarter lead thanks in part to a Eugene Jarvis 24-yard TD pass from first-time starting QB Anthony Magazu. The Bulls could only manage three first half field goals and trailed the Flashes 13-9 at the half but the Bulls scored the only TD of the third quarter and took a 16-13 lead. Kent State responded with ten straight points in the fourth quarter and held a 23-16 lead until Buffalo QB Drew Willy connected with Brett Hamlin for a 4-yard TD with under five minutes remaining to tie the score. Kent State had a chance to take the lead late but Nate Reed's 29-yard FG attempt with 1:34 remaining was blocked, forcing overtime. In the extra session, Buffalo scored the only points on Brian Thermilus' 1-yard TD run to give the Bulls the 30-23 win.

**Buffalo finished the season at 5-7 overall, 5-3 in the MAC and 4-2 in the MAC East, which are all the best ever marks for wins in a season since Buffalo joined the MAC in 1999.
**Kent State RB Eugene Jarvis rushed for 183 yards to give him a school single-season record of 1,669 yards rushing.
**The victory by Buffalo was their first this season when trailing at halftime.

** "We have a good football team and we're to be reckoned with and everyone is going to know about the Buffalo Bulls." Buffalo head coach Turner Gill.
** "I thought that our kids played very hard with the frustrations that we've had this season; the injuries, all the close games, and all that type of stuff. It would have been real easy for them not to put the passion into that game that they did."
Kent State head coach Doug Martin.
** "Our guys have played with great effort all season long and it was great to see them finish that here today with a win." Gill.

WMUBroncos_color_small.jpgWestern Michigan
16, Temple 3.Temple_small.JPG
Quick Take: Western Michigan closed out its season with back-to-back wins, defeating Temple at Waldo Stadium Saturday, 16-3. The Broncos led 6-3 at halftime on Brandon Ledebetter's 5-yard TD reception from QB Tim Hiller and then added the game's only other TD when Mark Bonds scored from one-yard out in the third quarter to put WMU up 13-3. The Broncos added a fourth quarter 33-yard Chris Kelly to account for the final score of 16-3. Temple was kept out of the end zone and their only points came courtesy of a 24-yard Jake Brownell field goal in the second quarter.

**Broncos' QB Tim Hiller became only the second WMU QB to pass for over 3,000 yards in a season, joining Tim Lester who accomplished the feat twice.
**Temple was held to 146 total net yards (54 yards rushing; 92 yards passing).
**The Owls were 1-14 on third down.

** "A great effort by a lot of guys. Jamarko Simmons got hurt in pre-game warm ups, Brandon West got hurt in the second quarter and a guy that really stood out was Herb Martin. He had some great catches out there. Mark Bonds goes out there and gets us a hundred yards. It was a nice win, in fact it was a great win."
Western Michigan head coach Bill Cubit.
** "We haven't been the greatest of offenses this year. I think Western is a very good defense and it was combination of the two. We had some injury problems on the o-line and that showed up today. They outplayed us."
Temple head coach Al Golden.
** "We knew the game was going to be a complex defense, something that we really didn't play against too much this season. When it came down to it, we didn't execute the way we wanted to. Obviously we didn't come out as prepared as we thought we were, and it really showed the entire game."  
Temple DL Derek Dennis.

38, Miami 29.MiamiRedhawks_Color_small.jpg
Quick Take:
Miami came into its game at Athens needing a win to ensure a bowl berth but the Bobcats had other ideas and came away with a 38-29 victory over the RedHawks. Miami appeared in control of the game after one half and took a 17-7 lead into the halftime locker room but the Bobcats exploded for 21 quick third quarter points while picking off Miami QB Dan Raudabaugh twice to open up a 28-23 lead after three quarters and the RedHawks could never catch up, able to only score on four Nathan Parseghian second-half field goals, closing to within 35-29 with just over five minutes remaining but Michael Braunstein's 40-yard FG with 2:26 remaining put the game safely away for Ohio.

**Ohio RB Kalvin McRae rushed for 112 yards and finishes the season with a school record 1,434 yards rushing for the season.
**The victory over Miami was Ohio's first at home since 1999.
Miami held the Bobcats to 199 yards total net offense

** "We are still inching our way forward and are still continuing to build. This was a great way to finish off right." Ohio head coach Frank Solich.
 ** "We knew we were going to play a pretty good team. They were the MAC East Champions last year and we knew they had a good football team. They have one of the best running backs in the league in McRae. They have a very opportunistic defense and even though they had given up some yards and points, they blitzed a lot and put a lot of pressure on us. We hit them on a lot of plays, but we just didn't hit them on enough." Miami head coach Shane Montgomery.
** "We knew all along that we could stop them and if we finally started playing smarter then we could shut them down.  That's what we came out and did the second half."
Ohio safety Todd Koenig.

BallState_Color_small.jpgBall State 27, Northern Illinois 21. NIU_3CHD_small.jpg
Quick Take: The Cardinals went into DeKalb needing a win to put themselves in position for a possible berth and came away with a closer than expected 27-21 victory over the Huskies. Ball State trailed only once in the game when the Huskies took a 7-3 first quarter lead on Greg Turner's 5-yard TD reception from Ryan Morris but the Cardinals answered with 14 straight points in the second quarter on a Darius Hill 7-yard TD reception from Davis and then Davis added another score on a 1-yard rush. The Huskies added a late first-half score when David Bryant scored from two-yards out to make it a 17-14 Cardinals lead at halftime. Ball State put the game out of reach with two fourth quarter touchdowns before the Huskies got on the board again with a TD with just 1:32 remaining in the game.

**The Huskies finish at 2-10, snapping a string of seven consecutive winning seasons.
**The Ball State victory gives the Cardinals a share of the MAC West title.
**Northern Illinois was held to -1 yard net rushing.

** "We played as a team. We played together. 
Northern Illinois is well coached and today's game was against two good football teams." Ball State head coach Brady Hoke.
** "I told these guys in the locker room, next season starts on Monday. I challenged them. There's potential in that locker room to be a championship football team."
Northern Illinois head coach Joe Novak.
** "We will always play for those seniors who have put in a lot of time for this program." Hoke.

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

Offensive Player of the Week
cmu_lefevour_small2.jpgDan LeFevour, QB, Central Michigan, 514 all-purpose yards; 382 yards passing, two touchdowns; 132 yards rushing, two touchdowns.
Comment: For the second time this season LeFevour topped over 500 all-purpose yards in a single game as he led the Chippewas to a 35-32 victory over Akron on Friday. The victory assured the Chippewas of a bowl berth for the second straight season heading into CMU's MAC Championship matchup against Miami.

Defensive Player of the Week
andrejonesvsuconn_small.jpgAndre Jones, DB, Akron, 10 tackles (7 solo); 1 forced fumble; 1 fumble recovery returned for 64-yard touchdown and one pass break-up.
Comment: Jones was a key factor in Akron's near-upset of Central Michigan in the Zips' season finale. Jones stripped CMU WR Bryan Anderson of the ball after a pass completion and returned it 64-yards for a touchdown that gave Akron a 26-14 lead in the third quarter. Jones also recorded ten tackles.

Prognosticating Prowess
It's always good to finish strong. Our 4-2 mark this week marked the fifth straight week on the plus side of things after our mid-season prognosticating funk. For the season our picks now stand at a respectable 67-38.

Central Michigan 38, Akron 35.
Central Michigan 35, Akron 32.
Bowling Green 41, Toledo 27.
Bowling Green 37, Toledo 10.
Kent State 24, Buffalo 21.
Buffalo 30, Kent State 23 (OT).
Western Michigan 27, Temple 13.
Western Michigan 16, Temple 3.
Miami 24, Ohio 20.
Ohio 38, Miami 29.
Ball State 42, Northern Illinois 27.
Ball State 27, Northern Illinois 21.
Last Updated ( Monday, November 26 2007 )
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