Week 2 Preview: News, Notes & Picks Print E-mail
Written by Dave Ruthenberg   
Thursday, September 04 2008
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Photo: Randy Mascharka
While Mid-American Conference squads only posted one win over BCS opposition this past weekend, their opening weekend tally of six non-conference victories nonetheless provided several highlights.

The big win of course involved Bowling Green's 27-17 upset of 25th-ranked Pittsburgh on the road Saturday after many had begun to write-off the Falcons already after proclaiming them preseason favorites in the MAC East thanks to offseason troubles that saw several key players either kicked off the team or suspended due to other legal entanglements. But the Falcons proved more than able to set aside their off-the-field issues in dispatching Pitt.

The victory earned the Falcons some consideration in this past week's polls with Bowling Green getting thirty-five votes in the AP Writers Poll to place 34th and two votes in the USA Today/ESPN Coaches Poll to place 44th. Hey, it's a start. With a home date against Minnesota Saturday night, the Falcons, with an impressive win, should see further movement upward in both polls.

The win also provided a box-office boost for the Falcons with Brian Delehoy, Bowling Green's assistant atheltics director for marketing telling the Bowling Green Sentinel-Tribune that the school saw an increase in ticket orders following the Falcons' opening day win over Pittsburgh with the school expecting a crowd in excess of 20,000 at Perry Stadium for its game against Minnesota Saturday night. 

Overall, the MAC's 6-6 opening week also compared relatively favorably to other non-BCS conferences with the Mountain West and Conference USA each posting opening week marks of 5-2, followed by the WAC at 5-3 and the Sun Belt at 1-6.

(Note: If you wish to skip directly to our game previews, click here.)

MAC vs. Number One
When defending MAC champion Central Michigan takes the field Saturday at Georgia they will be taking on the preseason number one team. While the Bulldogs have since fallen to second in both the AP and USA Today polls, six times previously a team from the Mid-American Conference has faced the nation's top-ranked team, most recently in 2006 when Northern Illinois traveled to Ohio State.

The MAC is 0-6 all-time versus top-ranked teams. Here is a breakdown of how the MAC has performed in those six matchups:

1986    Miami (Fla) 34, Northern Illinois 0.
1991 Florida State 58, Western Michigan 0.
1997 Florida 82, Central Michigan 6.
1998 Ohio State 49, Toledo 0.
2001 Florida 49, Marshall 14.
2006 Ohio State 35, Northern Illinois 12.

Yardage Leaders
A quick look-in at the MAC's individual offensive yardage leaders after the first week of action:  

Passing Yards   Rushing Yards  
Tim Hiller, Western Michigan 342 James Starks, Buffalo 179
Chandler Harnish, Northern Illinois 326 Terrence Blevins, Eastern Michigan 176
Nate Davis, Ball State 290 Brandon Thermilus, Buffalo 102
Daniel Raudabaugh, Miami 244 MiQuale Lewis, Ball State 95
Chris Jacquemain, Akron 227 Ontario Sneed, Central Michigan 88
Receiving Yards      
Dante Love, Ball State 171    
Nate Palmer, Northern Illinois 170    
Naaman Roosevelt, Buffalo 154    
Taylor Price, Ohio 139    
Branden Ledbetter 123    


Patriot Bowl Attendance Disappointing
(Courtesy The Record Courier) The disappointing crowd of 10,788 at 73,200-seat Cleveland Browns Stadium for Saturdays season opener with Boston College did not discourage Kent State on the Patriot Bowl idea.

It did, however, teach KSU a lesson that will change the way the school considers future offers to participate in the event.

"I wasn't happy with the crowd ... but I have no regrets," said Kent State athletic director Laing Kennedy. "Still, I think we have to really evaluate this game. ... For this concept to really work and to have a significant crowd, you almost have to have a team like Notre Dame playing in the game."

The Patriot Bowl was created with the idea of pitting an Ohio-based MAC school against a service academy in an annual game in Cleveland. When Army, Navy and Air Force could not find openings on their schedules for a trip to Cleveland in 2008, Kent State offered to keep the Patriot Bowl alive by moving its home opener with Boston College.

"Had we kept the game in Dix Stadium, I think we would have had a great chance for a (near-capacity) crowd," said Kennedy.

Unfortunately, Kennedy has learned schools like Army and Boston College dont travel well enough and dont have the drawing power in the Midwest to make it worthwhile to move a game off the campus of a MAC school. Boston College is believed to have sold close to 500 tickets for Saturdays game.

Last years inaugural Patriot Bowl between Akron and Army drew only 17,865 fans.

"Now I think in the future we just have to bring in either a Big Ten program or a school like Notre Dame where we could really count on their bringing at least 10,000 fans," said Kennedy. "If you combine that with the community that Kent State had there, then you would have had an acceptable crowd."


From Around the MAC Beat
Some of the latest news and notes from around the MAC beat this past week:

From the Buffalo News:  It didn't take long for Brandon Thermilus to exceed his rushing totals from a year ago. 

Thermilus, the Buffalo sophomore tailback, rushed for 102 yards and two touchdowns on 16 carries in the Bulls 42-17 victory over UTEP on Thursday night. A punishing, downhill runner, Thermilus combined with junior tailback James Starks who rushed 31 times for 179 yards against the Miners.

Last year as a redshirt freshman, Thermilus mainly watched and learned behind Starks and Mario Henry and was third on the team in rushing with 85 yards and three touchdowns. After the spring and heading into training camp, Thermilus and Henry were listed as the back ups behind Starks.

Thermilus comes from a strong football family. He is the son of former Houston Oilers running back Alonzo Highsmith, who was also a four-time letterman at Miami, and a member of the 1983 Hurricanes squad that won the national championship with a 31-30 victory over Gill and Nebraska in the Orange Bowl.

From the Philadelphia Daily News:Temple opened with a 35-7 win at Army. It's the first time the Owls have been 1-0 since 2002, and the first time they are 1-0 by beating a Division I-A program since 2001.

The last time the Owls beat a 1-A team by 28 or more was Oct. 14, 2000, when they won at Rutgers, 48-14. Since the Owls last went to a bowl in 1979, this was their ninth win by 28 or more over a 1-A team and only the fourth since 1986. The previous three (in 97, 99 and 2000) all came against Rutgers.

From the Bowling Green Sentinel-Tribune: Jimmy Scheidler has played his way onto the field for Bowling Green A 6-feet-4, 243 pound, redshirt junior is a tight end/blocking back who had one career reception for minus-four yards before Saturdays game.

Against the Panthers he finished with three receptions for 30 yards, catching a 5-yard scoring pass from Freddie Barnes and a 3-yard TD from Tyler Sheehan.

When asked if he expected to get that many opportunities Scheidler said: "No I didn't ... For me to be able to contribute to the team like that makes me feel even better."

Brandon has seen the improvement in Scheidler. "Jimmy is a fourth-year kid who has kind of gotten lost in the shuffle here through the years, but he stepped up like Pete Winovich did last year for us," BG coach Gregg Brandon said. "We've got to play him now. He's refusing to allow himself to be on the boundary. We've got to find ways to get Jimmy in there because he does a great job."

Scheidler shared MAC East offensive player of the week honors with Buffalo QB Drew Willy.

From MAC Report Online: One of the constant themes leading up to the season through both spring and fall camp around Eastern Michigan was the talk of depth across the roster for the Eagles.

When fifth-year head coach Jeff Genyk first took over the Eagles program in 2004 the team was pressed into playing several of its players out of position and rarely had the luxury of redshirting scholarship athletes due to a lack of depth and overall talent.

Now, after five years Genyk and his staff believe they have found enough quality depth that will allow them not only to compete in the MAC West but actually have the luxury of having players who are fresh late in contests, as was the case in EMUs 52-0 blowout win over IndianaState on Aug. 28.

"I felt like our defense really showed up and did a great job (against Indiana State)," noted Genyk. "We have a lot more depth with our defensive line and were able to keeps guy fresher later in the game. "Last year I thought we really wore down late in games and we are really on a mission to make sure that we play a number of guys on defense to ensure that we still have energy left in the fourth quarter."

In defeating the Sycamores, the Eagles used 56 roster players which means the team should be well rested for a much more challenging task Saturday when they travel to MichiganState, a team that defeated the Eagles 52-20 in 2006.

From the Toledo Blade: The University of Toledo football team had to play three quarterbacks last season, but they all stayed relatively comfortable in the pocket. Thats because the Rockets were ranked in 19th in the country in sacks allowed with just 16 in 12 games.

With two freshman offensive tackles starting for UT this weekend against Arizona, the challenge is to make sure junior Aaron Opelt stays just as cozy.

The Rockets have one of their younger starting offensive lines in recent years. Redshirt freshman Mike VanDerMeulen is expected to start at left tackle and freshmen Jan Gewont and John Morookian will split time at right tackle. UT has starters back at center and both guard positions, but no seniors.

"I'm sure theres going to be a few bumps and adjustment time," UT coach Tom Amstutz said. "We're still going to ask them to go out there and play at a high level. It's going to be critical. You don't have a good offense without an offensive line."

The losses of NFL draft pick John Greco at left tackle and guard David Perkins mean the Rockets have had to find new leaders on the line. According to Amstutz, guards Jared Dewalt and Kevin Kowalski have filled that role. Dewalt said the camp was a challenge with some new faces but they accomplished what they needed to.

"We're all really comfortable with each other," Dewalt said. "That's probably the most important part. You've got to feel everybody out."

From the Hamilton Journal-News:  Miami head coach Shane Montgomery conceded that quarterback Daniel Raudabaugh "didn't have a great game statistically" in the RedHawks' 34-13 loss to Vanderbilt on Aug. 28, but said it wasn't as bad as it looked.

"His first interception was a tipped pass that really wasn't his fault, and his second interception was a long pass and we were trying to see if (wide receiver) Dustin Woods could run under it," Montgomery pointed out. "There were a couple balls he missed, but I think his decision making was pretty good."

Raudabaugh, who will start Miami's game Saturday at Michigan, completed 19-of-41 passes for 244 yards, one touchdown and three interceptions. The three interceptions tied a personal high for Raudabaugh, who has started 10 games and played in 16 over the past three seasons. He also was intercepted three times last season, Nov. 1, against Akron in a 7-0 Miami victory in Oxford.

From the Athens Messenger: The Bobcats unveiled their new-look offense in the season-opener at Wyoming and showed some promising signs of bucking their run-only reputation.

Junior quarterback Theo Scott was efficient, completing 26-of-35 passes, and Ohio was able to control the clock to a large degree with a short-passing game that had the Cowboys on their heels.

Junior wideout Taylor Price had a banner day with a school-record 14 catches for 139 yards, and Ohio's spread offense featured a 2-to-1 pass-to-run ratio.

The only problem was on the scoreboard. The Bobcats garnered just one offensive touchdown and dropped a one-point decision to Wyoming for a second straight season.

Head coach Frank Solich placed part of the blame for that on the running game, which was non-existent. Ohio finished with just 39 rushing yards on 21 attempts.

"We have the tools to be a pretty good running team. We have to improve on that. I like what we've been able to establish with our throwing game, but we need to be able to run the ball with some consistency or its not going to work," he said.

It would help if Ohio settled on a starting tailback. Junior Chris Garrett earned the start at Wyoming and finished with 30 yards on 12 carries.

"It's still unsettled," Solich said. "We really need to have this figured out by the time we get into conference play."

Answers may be hard to find this week. Ohio plays at No. 2 Ohio State on Saturday in the sixth meeting between the two schools. The Bobcats are 0-13 all-time against ranked teams, and have never played an opponent ranked as high as the 2008 Buckeyes.


Friday, September 5
Navy (1-0) at Ball State (1-0), 7:00 pm
Site: Scheumann Stadium
Series: Ball State leads 2-0. Last meeting: Ball State 34, Navy 31 (OT) in 2007.
Television: ESPN
Outlook: Ball State opened the season with a 48-14 tune-up win over Northeastern. The Cardinals were paced by QB Nate Davis' three touchdown, 290-yard passing game with Davis picking up right where he left off in 2007 but possibly of more importance was the emergence of the Cardinals' rushing attack. Ball State's MiQuale Lewis, returning from injury, rushed for 95 yards against the Huskies last week as the Cardinals rushed for 190 yards in the contest. A side note: Thirty-two year old former Marine, DE Brandon Crawford, played a key role in last year's BSU win over Navy when he blocked the potential go-ahead field goal by Navy and forced overtimeNavy enters the game after rolling over FCS-member Towson 41-13 this past week. The Middies were paced by a record-shattering night by Shun White who set an academy single game rushing mark with 348 yards, averaging 18.3 yards per carry to go along with three touchdowns. Navy however allowed 330 yards passing against Towson and could be hard pressed to contain the Cardinals' high-flying passing attack.
Prediction: Ball State 42, Navy 28.

Saturday, September 6
Miami (0-1) at Michigan (0-1), Noon
Site: Michigan Stadium
Series: Michigan leads 4-0. Last meeting: Michigan 42, Miami 10 in 2004.
Television: ESPN2
Outlook: It was a disappointing start to the 2008 campaign for Miami which opened with a 34-13 home loss to Vanderbilt. The RedHawks had difficulty moving the ball against the Commodores and QB Daniel Raudabaugh struggled throughout the contest with consistency, connecting on only 19-41 passes and tossing three picks while Miami's ground game was also stymied, gaining only 96 yards on the ground. Defensively the RedHawks were torched by Vandy's running QB, Chris Nickson, for 166 yards on the ground and two touchdownsMichigan also enters on the wrong-end of an opening day battle, dropping a 25-23 home opener against Utah. The Wolverines are in the midst of implementing first-year head coach Rich Rodriguez's spread offense and both opening day quarterbacks, former walkon Nick Sheridan and Steven Threet combining for 167 yards while being sacked three times. The Wolverines were held to 203 yards total offense, including only 36 yards rushing in their debut. Michigan has now dropped its home season-opener in each of the last two years and is only 5-4 in its last nine home contests.
Prediction: Michigan 35, Miami 17.


Ohio (0-1) at (3)Ohio State (1-0), Noon
Site: Ohio Stadium
Series: Ohio State leads 5-0. Last meeting: Ohio State 40, Ohio 12 in 1999.
Television: ESPN
Outlook: For the second straight year the Bobcats suffered a one-point setback against Wyoming but of greater concern entering their contest against the Buckeyes is the Bobcats' need to develop a rushing attack and playing at Ohio State is not likely to solve matters. The Bobcats managed only 39 yards rushing against the Cowboys, averaging 1.9 yards per carry. Ohio may however have found a productive aerial combination as QB Theo Scott hooked up with Taylor Price for fourteen receptions and 139 yardsOhio State meanwhile got its season started with a 43-0 victory over Youngstown State, limiting the Penguins to only 74 yards in total offense, including allowing only 11 yards rushing. Ohio State is now 41-3 at home since the start of the 2002 season. The Buckeyes did however have a bit of a setback with an injury to Hesiman candidate, TB Chris "Beanie" Wells, who left the game in the third quarter with a foot injury after rushing for 111 yards on only thirteen carries. The Buckeyes rolled up 495 yards in offense in their opening-day win, balanced nearly even with 251 yards rushing and 244 yards passing.
Prediction: Ohio State 38, Ohio 10.


Connecticut (1-0) at Temple (1-0), Noon
Site: Lincoln Financial Field
Series: Temple leads 7-3. Last meeting: Connecticut 22, Temple 17 in 2007.
Television: ESPNU
Outlook: Welcome to the Revenge Bowl. The Temple Owls have been pointing to their rematch with UConn virtually since the gun sounded at the end of last season's controversial 22-17 defeat. For those who may not recall, last year's contest at Connecticut was decided when Temple had apparently scored the go-ahead touchdown in the waning moments of the game after WR Bruce Francis caught a tipped-pass on a flea-flicker but was ruled out of bounds. Replays seemed to clearly indicate that Francis had landed a foot in-bounds but the Big East replay official refused to over-rule the on-field call and the Huskies escaped with a controversial win. Coaches Golden of Temple and Edsal of Connecticut may be downplaying last year, but if you need proof of this game's importance, one only need to have visited the Owls official website which until recently had a video running on its homepage of the game's controversial playBoth teams are coming in after opening night wins with Temple scoring a 35-7 triumph over Army, their largest margin of victory in eight seasons. QB Adam DiMichele made a successful return from a season-ending leg fracture to pass for 159 yards and two touchdowns. The Owls' defense stepped up too and stymied the Cadets throughout the contest, recording three sacks and forcing three critical turnoversThe Huskies opened the season with a 35-3 win over Hofstra with TB Donald Brown rushing for 146 yards and four touchdowns. The Huskies' defense held Hofstra to thirteen first downs and 40 yards rushing and could pose a challenging obstacle for the Owls' offensive line after the Owls rushed for only 84 yards against Army for an average of 2.8 yards per carry. Still, we think revenge is a strong motivator, not to mention a serious upgrade in the Owls' overall talent.
Prediction: Temple 27, Connecticut 21.


Eastern Michigan (1-0) at Michigan State (0-1), Noon
Site: Spartan Stadium
Series: Michigan State leads 7-0. Last meeting: Michigan State 52, Eastern Michigan 20 in 2006.
Television: Big Ten Network
Outlook: Eastern Michigan makes its second visit in three years to East Lansing to face the Spartans and is coming off its most lopsided victory since defeating Akron 45-0 in 1997 with an opening day 52-0 shutout of Indiana State. The Eagles racked up school records with 413 yards rushing and 637 total yards against the Sycamores with senior TB Terrence Blevins recording a career-high 176 yards rushing, the seventh-highest rushing total in the nation in week one. The Eagles' defense shut down the Sycamores as well, limiting Indiana State to 132 total yards, recording four sacks and three interceptions. The easy win allowed EMU to rest most of its regulars in the second-half but they will face a much stiffer test in Michigan State which is coming off of an opening day 38-31 loss to California that saw QB Brian Hoyer pass for 321 yards while TB Javon Ringer carried the ball on 27 of the Spartans' 28 rushing attempts, gaining 81 yards. The Spartans gave up 467 yards in offense to the Golden Bears, including 203 yards on the ground. MSU, which is 36-6-2 all-time versus the MAC, has outscored its last ten MAC opponents by an average score of 39-15 and is 9-1 in its last ten home openers.
Prediction: Michigan State 41, Eastern Michigan 27.


Central Michigan (1-0) at (2)Georgia (1-0), 3:30 pm
Site: Sanford Stadium
Series: First Meeting
Television: FSN South
The task becomes considerably harder for the Chippewas in the second game of the season after the Chips dispatched a feisty Eastern Illinois squad, 31-12 on opening night. Central Michigan travels to Georgia, facing a team that was ranked number one in the preseason and hoping to fare considerably better than it did the last time it faced a highly-ranked SEC squad when the Chips were humbled by Florida 82-6 in 1997. Recent out of conference BCS history hasn't been overly kind either to the defending MAC champs who were 0-4 against BCS squads last season, giving up an average of 54.5 points in those four contests. The Chips last defeated a ranked opponent in a 20-3 win over 18th ranked MichiganState in 1991. In CMU's season opener, QB Dan LeFevour tossed three touchdowns for the ninth time in his career while RB Ontario Sneed rushed for 88 yards on just thirteen carries. CMU DE Frank Zombo was MAC West Defensive Player of the Week after recording 2.5 sacks in the Chips' home opener. Central Michigan has only ten seniors on its roster, tied with Toledo for fewest seniors in the nationGeorgia defeated FCS-member Georgia Southern 45-21 in its home opener as QB Matthew Stafford recorded a career-best 275 yards passing and three touchdowns. TB Knowshon Moreno only carried the ball eight times but still crossed the goal line three times. The Bulldogs pitched a first-half shutout against Georgia Southern before putting in their reserves and limited GSU to 4-16 on third down conversions. The Bulldogs are 5-1 all-time against the MAC with their only loss coming in the 1974 Tangerine Bowl to Miami, 21-10. Under head coach Mark Richt the Bulldogs are 31-2 in non-conference games. One of Richt's non-conference losses was a 38-35 loss to West Virginia in the 2006 Sugar Bowl with current CMU head coach Butch Jones on the staff of Rich Rodriguez's Mountaineers.
Prediction: Georgia 48, Central Michigan 23.


Akron (0-1) at Syracuse (0-1), 3:30 pm
Site: Carrier Dome
Series: First Meeting
Television: FSN Ohio
Outlook: Both Akron and Syracuse opened with one-sided losses. The Zips traveled to Wisconsin and, despite making it a 17-10 game in the second quarter, fell to the Badgers 38-17. The Zips could not contain the Badgers' running attack as PJ Hill rushed for 210 of Wisconsin's 404 yards. The Zips' top tackler was FS Tyler Campbell who registered 18 tackles as the Badgers frequently overwhelmed the Zips defensive frontline but a bright spot was converted RB Bryan Williams who made his debut at safety, registering a 62-yard interception return. Offensively Akron was paced by QB Chris Jacquemain's 227 yards and two touchdowns with JUCO transfer WR Derwyn Bowser recording a game-high five receptions for 76 yardsThe Orange traveled to Northwestern for their season opener and fell 30-10, recording only 225 yards in total offense. Syracuse was limited to 3-14 on third down conversions and registered only 11 first downs while the Orange defense was shredded by the Wildcats to the tune of 484 total yards, including 269 yards on the ground. Syracuse is only 14-14 all-time in home openers at the Carrier Dome and have lost five straight games dating back to a November 3, 2007 20-17 loss to Pittsburgh with its last win coming at home against Buffalo 20-12 on October 20, 2007. Both squads were consensus preseason picks for cellar finishes in their respective conferences.
Prediction: Akron 26, Syracuse 24.


Buffalo (1-0) at Pittsburgh (0-1), 6:00 pm
Site: Heinz Field
Series: First Meeting
Television: ESPN Plus/ESPN Game Plan
Outlook: Buffalo will look to become the second straight MAC squad to record a victory at the Panthers' expense at Heinz Field Saturday, hoping to turn the same trick as Bowling Green which upset Pitt at home in the season-opener. The Bulls are riding high after pummeling UTEP 42-17 to open the season behind a school record-setting four touchdown performance from QB Drew Willy who earned MAC Report Online's Offensive Player of the Week honors for his effort. The Bulls also powered their way on the ground behind two 100-yard rushers in James Starks (179 yards) and Brandon Thermilus (102 yards) while the Bulls' defense checked in by limiting the Miners to 67 yards rushingPittsburgh started the season with a home-opening 27-17 loss and things may be getting a bit warm for head coach Dave Wannstedt, especially after receiving the dreaded "vote of confidence" from Pitt's AD earlier in the week. The Panthers' LeSean McCoy, last season's Big East Freshman of the Year, was held to 71 yards rushing by the Falcons last week. The loss last week to Bowling Green was Pitt's first-ever home loss to a MAC squad after winning their previous 24 home contests against MAC competition. The Bulls will keep Wannstedt's coaching seat warm after delivering the Panthers' second straight home loss.
Prediction: Buffalo 28, Pittsburgh 27.


Northern Illinois (0-1) at Western Michigan (0-1)
Site: Waldo Stadium
Series: Western Michigan leads 22-11. Last meeting: Western Michigan 17, Northern Illinois 13 in 2007.
Outlook:  It's the conference opener for both teams. Northern Illinois opened with a heartbreaking loss on the road at Minnesota, 31-27 after holding a 27-24 lead with under thirty seconds remaining in head coach Jerry Kill's debut. The Huskies started redshirt freshman QB Chandler Harnish who responded with 326 yards and two touchdowns to earn MAC West Offensive Player of the Week honors in his first career start. Both of his touchdowns (91 and 52 yards) went to WR Nate Palmer who racked up 170 yards receiving as NIU tallied 398 yards in total offense but the Huskies' defense yielded 425 yards to the Gophers in the lossWestern Michigan returns home for their opener after starting the season with a 47-24 setback at Nebraska. The Broncos got down early and surrendered nearly 500 yards in offense to the Cornhuskers, including 345 passing yards. The Broncos went to the passing game themselves once in "catch up" mode with QB Tim Hiller airing it out 49 times, passing for 342 yards and a pair of touchdowns, including one to TE Brandon Ledbetter who had a game-high nine receptions for 123 yards. The Broncos were held to eight yards rushing in their contest last week while the Huskies averaged 2.3 yards per carry against Minnesota. The Broncos have won the last two meetings by a combined six points after the Huskies had won the previous five games in the series.
Prediction: Western Michigan 33, Northern Illinois 27. 


Kent State (0-1) at Iowa State (1-0), 7:00 pm
Site: Jack Trice Stadium
Series: Iowa State leads 4-1. Last meeting: Kent State 23, Iowa State 14 in 2007.
Outlook: The Golden Flashes suffered their first shutout since 2006 when Kent State opened with a 21-0 loss to Boston College at Cleveland Browns Stadium Saturday. The Flashes had trouble moving the ball consistently all night and the nation's leading returning rusher, Eugene Jarvis, struggled for running room and picked up only 51 yards rushing for KSU which managed only twelve first downs and 260 yards of offense with QB Julian Edelman tossing two picksIowa State opened with a 44-17 thumping of South Dakota State with the Cyclones, who only picked off ten passes in all of 2007, recording a school-record five interceptions, including Derec Schmidgall's 37-yard TD return. The Cyclones spread the ball around evenly through the air last week with nine different players recording a reception as QB Austen Arnaud passed for one score and rushed for another. Kent State has lost eight straight games dating back to last season.
Prediction: Iowa State 24, Kent State 13.


Minnesota (1-0) at Bowling Green (1-0), 7:30 pm
Site Doyt Perry Stadium
Series: Tied 1-1. Last meeting: Bowling Green 32, Minnesota 31 (OT) in 2007.
Television: ESPNU
Outlook: Bowling Green will be going for two in a row over the BCS after downing Pittsburgh 27-17 last week. The Falcons will be welcoming the first-ever Big Ten team to Doyt Perry Stadium with Minnesota coming in for a Saturday night tilt. The Falcons were paced in last week's victory by an opportunistic defense that recorded four takeaways resulting in fourteen points and recorded four sacks as BG overcame a 14-0 deficit in upsetting the Pitt Panthers, holding the Big East's leading returning rusher, LeSean McCoy, to only 71 yards rushing on the night.. TE Jimmy Scheidler recorded his first two career touchdowns on passes from QB Tyler Sheehan and Freddie BarnesMinnesota comes in hoping to avoid a loss to Bowling Green for the second straight season after opening with a 31-27 last-minute victory over Northern Illinois on opening night. The Gophers were paced by QB Adam Weber's 298 yards and two touchdowns passing in a game that saw Minnesota roll to 425 yards in total offense. Minnesota TB Duane Bennett, who scored the winning TD with twenty-two seconds remaining, averaged 5.1 yards per carry in the win.Bowling Green has recorded ten wins over BCS competition since 2000, tops in the MAC in that time span and fourth-best among all non-BCS teams during that time. Minnesota has lost five straight road games.
Prediction: Bowling Green 31, Minnesota 20.


Toledo (0-0) at Arizona (1-0), 10:00 pm
Site: Arizona Stadium
Series: Arizona leads 1-0. Last meeting: Arizona 23, Toledo 10 in 1985.
Outlook: Toledo becomes the last MAC squad to start its season and opens out west against Arizona. Last season the Rockets ranked last in the MAC in scoring defense, allowing 39.2 points per game and were 11th in total defense, allowing 444.1 yards per game but the Rockets are hopeful that the return of several starters from last year's injury depleted squad will lead to better results this season. Toledo returns fifteen starters from last year, including two-time All-MAC DB Barry Church. While the defense struggled, the Rockets' offense fired on most cylinders in 2007 and return the dangerous receiving combo of Stephen Williams and Nick Moore who combined for 15 touchdowns and 1,900 yards last seasonArizona opened the season with a 70-0 win at home over Idaho last week, putting up 49 points in the first half alone, racking up 521 total yards of offense in a dominating effort that also saw the Wildcats limit the Vandals to 112 yards in total offense and only seven first downs. Arizona QB Willie Tuitama passed for 179 yards and three touchdowns while TB Nic Grigsby added 169 yards and two touchdowns in seeing first-half action. The Wildcats' offense scored six touchdowns on drives of four plays or less in its opener.
Prediction: Arizona 52, Toledo 28.


On Tap
The schedule for the week ahead:

Saturday, September 13
Temple at Buffalo, Noon
Toledo at Eastern Michigan, Noon
Ball State at Akron, 1:00 pm
Delaware State at Kent State, 2:00 pm
Central Michigan at Ohio, 2:00 pm
Western Michigan at Idaho, 2:00 pm
Charleston Southern at Miami, 3:00 pm
Bowling Green at Boise State, 6:00 pm

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