The MAC will be stepping out this week. As in stepping out of conference with twelve teams (Bowling Green has a bye week) slated for non-conference action on a Saturday that includes games against four Big Ten foes, a team currently ranked in the top five and one of the oldest rivalries in all of college football.
It'll be take three between Purdue and CMU this week.
Five Years Ago This Saturday
This Saturday will mark, to the day, the five-year anniversary of one of the biggest weekends of action in MAC football history when the conference scored three upsets of teams ranked in the Top 25.
On September 20, 2003, the MAC flexed some muscle and caught the attention of the college football world when in succession, Marshall knocked off sixth-ranked Kansas, 27-20, Toledo upset ninth-ranked Pittsburgh, 35-31 and Northern Illinois completed the trifecta with a 19-16 win against Alabama which was ranked 21st in the nation at the time.
But those three wins were only the capper for the MAC that season.
Earlier in the 2003 campaign, Northern Illinois had already downed 14th-ranked Maryland 20-13 in overtime on August 28 and one week later Bowling Green got in on the fun by taking down 16th-ranked Purdue, 27-26.
Despite the MAC's success that season, the league was still stuck at the bottom of the pecking order when bowl bids went out. With just two guaranteed bowl bids, only Bowling Green (11-3) and Miami (13-1) went bowling that year. The MAC West champ Falcons defeated Northwestern in the Motor City Bowl (28-24) while the RedHawks downed Louisville 49-28 in the GMAC Bowl.
Sitting home during the postseason were Northern Illinois (10-2) and Marshall (8-4), despite their marquee wins, while bowl-eligible Toledo (8-4) and Akron (7-5) also had to watch from the sidelines during the postseason.
The following season however five teams from the MAC went bowling and no fewer than three teams have been bowling every year since 2006.
Despite the MAC's slap-in-the-face from the postseason bowls, the 2003 season remains one of the high marks in recent Mid-American Conference football history.
Can a similar weekend be at hand? It will be tough but the games are there.
Buffalo travels to fifth-ranked Missouri this Saturday while Temple heads out to 15th-ranked Penn State and Toledo hosts 25th-ranked Fresno State.
Do any of them have a shot an upset? Read our "Game Previews" section below for our outlook on these and the rest of the MAC action this Saturday.
Familiar Faces - Different Places
Among the stops MAC squads will be making in their non-conference play this week will be visits to three former MAC head coaches who currently have BCS gigs.
|Former CMU and current Bearcats' head coach, Brian Kelly
Former Toledo head coach Gary Pinkel, who compiled a 73-37-3 record as head coach of the Rockets from 1991-2000 welcomes Buffalo to face his fifth-ranked Missouri Tigers. Pinkel is in his eighth season at Missouri and owns a 52-36 career record at Missouri, including a 3-0 start this season. Pinkel is 5-2 against the MAC since becoming the Tigers' head coach.
Indiana head coach Bill Lynch will be facing his former employer when the Hoosiers welcome Ball State Saturday. Lynch posted a 37-53 record at Ball State from 1995-2002, including Ball State's 1996 appearance in the Las Vegas Bowl. Now in his second season at Indiana, Lynch has compiled a 9-6 record at IU. Billy Lynch, the head coach's son, is the wide receivers coach for the Hoosiers and lettered three years at wide receiver at Ball State from 1999-2001, leading the Cardinals in receiving in his senior season.
Rounding out the trio is Brian Kelly who spent three seasons at Central Michigan (2004-2006), going 19-16 and leading the Chips to the first of their back-to-back MAC championships in 2006 before assuming the head coaching duties at Cincinnati last season. Now in his second season as head coach of the Bearcats, Kelly, the 2007 Big East Coach of the Year, is 13-5 at Cincinnati.
First Time's A Charm
|Ohio QB Boo Jackson
Photo: Scott Gardner
It was a quite a week in the MAC for a trio of first year starters who all received weekly honors for their performances this past week.
Starting in place of starter Jordan Gafford at free safety, Miami sophomore Ben Bennett received MAC East Defensive Player of the Week honors after returning an interception 78 yards, setting up the go-ahead touchdown in Miami's 38-27 win over Charleston Southern.
Ball State redshirt freshman Sean Baker, in his third career start, had a record-setting day in the Cardinals' 41-24 win over Akron, tying a school record with three interceptions in addition to returning a fumble 33 yards for a touchdown while also recording nine tackles and being credited with a pass break-up. For his efforts, Baker was named MAC West Defensive Player of the Week and received the Walter Camp Foundation's National Defensive Player of the Week Award.
Finally, Ohio quarterback Boo Jackson started his first major college game against Central Michigan in Ohio's 31-28 loss, playing in place of injured quarterback Theo Scott. Jackson passed for 365 yards and three touchdowns while recording a school-record 413 yards in total offense, earning MAC Report Online's nod as the MAC's Offensive Player of the Week.
Saturday, September 20
Ohio (0-3, 0-1 MAC) at Northwestern (3-0), Noon
Site: Ryan Field
Series: Northwestern leads 2-1. Last meeting: Northwestern 28, Ohio 14 in 2005.
Television: Big Ten Network
Outlook: It's been a frustrating and rough opening three-game stretch for the Bobcats who have dropped two of their first three games by a combined four points and fell to Ohio State after leading 14-6 in the second half. To make matters a bit more frustrating, the Bobcats could be without QB Theo Scott, who went down with a broken collarbone in the Bobcats' loss to Ohio State, for the rest of the season. But JUCO transfer QB Boo Jackson helped ease some of the Bobcats' early season pain with a school record-breaking 413 yards of total offense in the Bobcats' 31-28 loss to Central Michigan last week in the Bobcats' conference opener. That's the good news. The bad news is that the only secondary more porous than CMU's belongs to the NFL's Detroit Lions, so how good Jackson really is, is still a question markNorthwestern is 3-0 after defeating FCS-member Southern Illinois 33-7 last week. The Wildcats have not really been tested this season with wins over SIU, Syracuse and Duke but the Bobcats will have to deal with what appears to be a fairly potent rushing-passing combo in RB Tyrell Sutton who is averaging nearly six yards per carry this season and QB CJ Bacher who has 625 yards and three touchdowns passing. But if Ohio displays the same defensive intensity it showed against the Buckeyes, we think Ohio will be coming home as owners of the MAC's first win over the Big Ten this season.
Prediction: Ohio 24, Northwestern 21.
Central Michigan (2-1, 1-0 MAC) at Purdue (1-1), Noon
Site: Ross-Ade Stadium
Series: Purdue leads 4-0. Last meeting: Purdue 51, Central Michigan 48 in 2007 Motor City Bowl.
Television: Big Ten Network
Outlook: Do you think these two are sick of each other yet? The Boilermakers and Chippewas will be meeting for the third time in less than two seasons after meeting twice last year, with Purdue claiming a 45-22 win at home in the regular season and then pulling out a last second win over CMU in last year's Motor City Bowl, 51-48The Chips are coming off a comeback 31-28 win over Ohio in their conference opener last week and while the team has to be pleased with its late defensive surge in forcing a couple of critical turnovers to secure the win, the Chips' secondary is still suffering more breakdowns than Britney Spears. CMU's pass defense is being torched to the tune of 285 yards per game and was picked apart by Ohio QB Boo Jackson last week who only set a school record for total yards in his very first start.Purdue is likely coming in smarting after blowing a 20-3 lead at home against Oregon in suffering its first loss of the season but Purdue QB Curtis Painter, who is no doubt salivating after watching the CMU game films, and RB Kory Sheets are two of the more dynamic backfield combos in the Big Ten. Painter has passed for 496 yards in two games while Sheets has rushed for 261 yards and four touchdowns through the Boilermakers' first two games. To be fair, Purdue's defense has not exactly been setting the world on fire either, allowing an average of 420.5 yards per game, but most of that damage has come on the ground, with opponents averaging 214 yards per gameTrend to watch: The Chips have started slowly out of the gate in their last two games, being outscored by a combined count of 42-17 in the first half. Likewise the Chips were slow starters in both games against Purdue last season, being outscored by Purdue by a combined 58-13 in the first half of both games. CMU and QB Dan LeFevour need to get out fast and get some points on the board early. LeFevour, despite passing for 828 yards and five touchdowns this season, has been relatively quiet and could be poised for a breakout game. Another slow start will mean a long day in West Lafayettealthough any day in West Lafayette is a long day.
Prediction: Purdue 43, Central Michigan 31.
Temple (1-2, 0-1 MAC) at (15) Penn State (3-0), Noon
Site: Beaver Stadium
Series: Penn State leads 33-3-1. Last meeting: Penn State 31, Temple 0 in 2007.
Television: Big Ten Network
Outlook: After two straight last play losses, what is Temple's reward? A trip to Happy Valley and a meeting with Penn State. The Nittany Lions are 24-0 all-time against Temple with Joe Paterno at the helm and have the appearance of a team on a mission this season, coming off three straight blowout wins over Coastal Carolina (66-10), Oregon State (45-14) and Syracuse (55-13) in what many speculate will be JoePa's final season as head coachFormer Nittany Lion TE and current Temple head coach Al Golden, probably will have no worries about a last second loss this week but the Owls did show some serious offensive spark against the Bulls last week with QB Adam DiMichele ripping Buffalo's secondary for a season-high 285 yards and three touchdowns, including what looked at the time to be a game-winning 11-yard TD strike to WR Bruce Francis with thirty-eight seconds remaining until the Bulls pulled out the last-second win on a 35-yard Hail Mary pass.The Owls own the MAC's top scoring defense but will be tested against a Penn State squad that ranks eighth nationally in total offense, fourth in scoring offense and also own the nation's ninth-ranked rushing offense, paced by RB Evan Royster who is averaging a phenomenal 8.1 yards per carry. If that's not enough, QB Daryll Clark currently tops the Big Ten in passing efficiency, having tossed five TD's and no picks this season to go along with 524 yards while his top target is WR Jordan Norwood who is averaging 101 yards receiving per gameJoePa will work hard to not run the score up on his protg, Al Golden, but there is little doubt as to the outcome.
Prediction: Penn State 38, Temple 7.
Akron (1-2, 0-1 MAC) at Army (0-2), 1:00 pm
Site: Michie Stadium
Series: Army leads 3-1. Last meeting: Akron 22, Army 14 in 2007.
Television: ESPN Classic
Outlook: The Zips hit the road for the third time in four weeks and are hoping that this road trip out east ends as happily as their last trip, a 42-28 triumph over Syracuse two weeks ago. Akron however is heading into its contest at Army coming off of a 41-24 loss to Ball State at home in the Zips' conference opener last week. Zips QB Chris Jacquemain had a rough outing, throwing four interceptions in Akron's loss to Ball State, but aside from last week's tough outing, Jacquemain, who is still probably seeing Ball State DB Sean Baker in his nightmares, has been efficient in moving the Zips offense which is averaging nearly 400 yards per game while Zips return man Bryan Williams has picked up right where he left off last season, leading the nation with an average of 32.6 yards per return...Army is coming off a close call against the bye week after getting thumped by FCS-member New Hampshire 28-10 two weeks ago in a loss that head coach Stan Brock called "embarrassing" while apologizing to the entire Corps of Cadets for the loss. This will be the second of four games against MAC opposition this season for the Cadets who later in the season face Eastern Michigan and Buffalo after opening the season with a 35-7 loss to Temple. The Cadets have serious issues with turnovers and rank 110th nationally in turnover margin, having turned the ball over seven times in their first two games. Could we really trust these guys to handle hand grenades, let alone a football?
Prediction: Akron 33, Army 16.
Eastern Michigan (1-2, 0-1 MAC) at Maryland (2-1), 1:00 pm
Site: Byrd Stadium
Series: Maryland leads 3-0. Last meeting: Maryland 37, Eastern Michigan 13 in 2003.
Outlook: Eastern Michigan has dropped two straight after opening MAC play last week with a 41-17 setback against Toledo in the rain at Ypsilanti. The Eagles, who had only committed one turnover entering the Toledo contest, turned the ball over five teams last week while their defense was victimized by Rockets' RB DaJuane Collins who rushed for a career high 168 yards, just one week after the Eagles' rush defense was rung up by Michigan State's Javon Ringer for a near school-record five rushing touchdowns. The Eagles may also be without starting QB Andy Schmitt who suffered an injury in practice leading up to the Rockets game and could not continue after giving it a go against the Rockets. Sophomore QB Kyle McMahon struggled in relief of Schmitt, throwing one interception and losing two fumbles. The Eagles expect to give RB Dwayne Priest some more carries this week after Priest rushed for a career-high 80 yards on thirteen carries last weekMaryland is a bit of a puzzle after three games. The Terrapins opened with a lackluster 14-7 win over FCS-member Delaware then lost to Middle Tennessee State 24-14 before upsetting 23rd ranked California 35-27 at home last week. The Terrapins are led offensively by RB Da'Rel Scott, who is under potential investigation for the unauthorized use of an apostrophe. Scott is averaging 135.7 yards per game, fifth nationally, and tops in the ACC. Eastern Michigan's top ranked MAC passing defense will also get a strong test Saturday from junior WR Darrius Heyward-Bay who is averaging 73 yards receiving per game while currently ranking seventh all-time at Maryland with 1,699 career receiving yards. The Terps are 8-3 all-time versus the MAC and Eastern Michigan is still searching for its first-ever win over a BCS opponent. The search continues
Prediction: Maryland 42, Eastern Michigan 20.
Buffalo (2-1, 1-0 MAC) at (5) Missouri (3-0), 2:00 pm
Site: Memorial Stadium
Series: First Meeting.
Outlook: The Bulls are likely still feeling pretty good about their last-play 30-28 win over Temple last week on QB Drew Willy's 35-yard Hail Mary pass to Naaman Roosevelt that pulled out one of the more dramatic wins in Buffalo history. With a trip to fifth-ranked Missouri however, the Bulls may want to savor that feeling until the last possible moment. There is plenty though to feel good about in Western New York these days including the play of Willy who has shown tremendous poise and game management skills, passing for 792 yards and eight touchdowns and only two interceptions this season with favorite target Roosevelt third in the MAC averaging 117 yards per game. Complimenting the passing game has been the Bulls' rushing attack which is averaging 163 yards per game, led by James Starks' 98.7 yards per game. Starks suffered a bruised leg in the Bulls' win over Temple but is not expected to miss the Missouri game. The Bulls own the MAC's number one rated rushing defense (94.7 yards per game) and are the only MAC squad allowing fewer than 100 yards rushing per game this seasonMissouri will be the highest ranked team the Bulls have played since facing 2nd-ranked Auburn in 2006. The Tigers have not scored fewer than 52 points in their first three games and are coming off of a 69-17 wipeout of Nevada. The Tigers have utilized quick-strike precision in lighting up the scoreboard, leading the nation with 11 scoring drives of two-minutes or less. QB Chase Daniel has taken the field for 13 possessions in the Tigers' last two games and engineered 12 touchdowns and one field goal in scoring on all 13 possessions. Daniel has actually thrown more touchdowns (7) than incompletions (6) in his last two games in leading a Mizzou offense that ranks first in the nation in total yards per game (597.3) and scoring. The Tigers have given up some yardage this season though, allowing 409.3 yards per game which is only good for 90th nationally. (We thought we'd throw that last one in to make Buffalo feel a little better.)
Prediction: Missouri 48, Buffalo 10.
Indiana State (0-2) at Northern Illinois (0-2, 0-1 MAC), 3:00 pm
Site: Huskie Stadium
Series: Tied 4-4. Last Meeting: Northern Illinois 48, Indiana State 14.
Outlook: Northern Illinois comes into its home opener off a bye week and looking for their first win of the season under head coach Jerry Kill. The Huskies will be without opening-game starting QB Chandler Harnish who is out with a mid-foot sprain while senior QB Dan Nicholson may not play either, recovering from a shoulder injury. That would leave the QB duties to either DeMarcus Grady or Ryan Morris. Grady saw limited action in the Huskies' 29-26 loss to Western Michigan, rushing the ball one time for seven yards. NIU's Nate Palmer tops the MAC charts with an average of 34.5 yards per catch. On the defensive side of the ball, Larry English needs just 1.5 sacks to enter the top ten all-time in the MACIndiana State has lost sixteen straight games and 35 of its last 36 contests after a 38-3 setback against Eastern Illinois and an opening day 52-0 loss to Eastern Michigan. ISU starting QB Calvin Schmidtke, who originally signed with Washington State, leads all FCS quarterbacks with eleven citations for everything from driving misconduct to controlled substance charges but is still looking for his first gridiron hook-up, with no touchdowns and a scintillating average of 38 yards passing per game. There really are only two questions that need to be seriously pondered for this game: 1) Will NIU score 50 points? 2) Can the Sycamores find the end-zone? Side note: The Huskies are only 6-5 in their last eleven games against 1AA (FCS) teams.
Prediction: Northern Illinois 49, Indiana State 0.
Kent State (1-2) at Louisiana-Lafayette (0-2), 7:00 pm
Site: Cajun Field
Series: First Meeting
Outlook: Kent State finally got on the winning side of things, snapping a nine-game losing streak with a 24-3 victory over Delaware State last week and now heads down to the Bayou in search of its first road win in a nearly year. The Flashes had been plagued in their first two games by an alarming propensity for turnovers and are dead-last in the MAC in both turnovers (10) and turnover margin. KSU TB Eugene Jarvis left last week's game after just five carries with an ankle injury but is expected to start this week. Jarvis ranks seventh in the MAC in rushing this season with an average of 69 yards per game, far below last season's league-leading average of 139.1 yards per game but is still averaging a very respectable 5.2 yards per carry. QB Julian Edelman and the entire KSU passing attack have struggled, having connected on only three passing touchdowns in the first three games. Edelman has thrown four interceptions. Defensively there is a silver lining for the Flashes with LB Derek Burrell quietly having a solid year, leading the league with an average of 11.7 tackles per gameThe Ragin' Cajuns are coming off a hard-fought 20-17 loss on the road to Illinois and are making their home debut. ULL opened the season with a 51-21 loss at Southern Mississippi. ULL QB Michael Desormeaux is the heart and soul of the Cajuns offense, leading the team in passing and rushing this season and had over 250 yards of total offense against the Illini last week while the defense held Illinois to less than 200 yards of total offense. The Cajuns are 3-2 all-time at home against the MAC. Backwaters, bayous humidity, and playing in the "8th Annual Herbert Heymann Football Classic"never a good combination for the road team.
Prediction: Louisiana-Lafayette 27, Kent State 17.
Tennessee Tech (2-1) at Western Michigan (2-1, 1-0 MAC), 7:00 pm
Site: Waldo Stadium
Series: First Meeting.
Outlook: Western Michigan is returning home from a convincing 51-28 road win at Idaho last week and have been sparked by the play of QB Tim Hiller who earned MAC West Offensive Player of the Week honors for his four touchdown performance against the Vandals. Hiller has now tossed nine TDs and only one interception this season. Three Broncos currently occupy spots in the top ten in the MAC in receiving with WR Jamarko Simmons sixth while fellow WR Schneider Julien and TE Brandon Ledbetter are tied for tenth in receptions per game. Ledbetter tops all MAC tight ends in receiving. DB Louis Delmas, who is tied atop the MAC with three interceptions, leads a Broncos defense that has been a disruptive force so far this season. WMU tops the MAC with nine QB sacksTennessee Tech, out of the Ohio Valley Conference, is on the road for the third straight week and will be facing its second FBS opponent in the last three weeks. The Golden Eagles rebounded from a 51-10 loss at Louisville with a 29-27 win at SE Missouri State last week. Tennessee Tech, under second-year head coach Watson Brown, who had previous stops as head coach at UAB and Vanderbilt, feature multi-threat RB Henry Sailes who earned OVC Offensive Player of the Week honors after rushing for 113 yards last week and catching five passes for 51 yards. Sailes tops the OVC in receptions per game and is fourth in all-purpose yards per game. The Broncos aren't impressed though and (caution: bad pun ahead) take the wind out of Tech's Sailes.
Prediction: Western Michigan 37, Tennessee Tech 14.
Ball State (3-0, 1-0, MAC) at Indiana (2-0), 7:00 pm
Site: Memorial Stadium
Series: Indiana leads 4-0. Last meeting: Indiana 38, Ball State 20 in 2007.
Television: Big Ten Network
Outlook: Is this finally the year that Ball State gets a 'W' against in-state rival Indiana? It certainly sets up nicely as the Cardinals' best shot at the Hoosiers at least since 2006 when the Cards blew a 23-7 halftime lead only to fall 24-23. But that was then and this Cardinals team has been scary good this season. The MAC's lone remaining undefeated team, Ball State comes into its game with Indiana with several statistical leaders on it roster. QB Nate Davis tops the MAC as the league's only 300+ yard passer, averaging 305.3 yards per game. Davis also leads the MAC in total offense (11th nationally) and passing efficiency, ranking sixth nationally as well. Davis' favorite target has been WR Dante Love who leads the nation with an average of 144.3 yards receiving per game. Love also tops the MAC in receptions per game, all-purpose yards and scoring. The Cards' offensive attack though has been far from one-dimensional with TB MiQuale Lewis atop the MAC charts with an average of 121 yards per rushing per game. The Cards' offensive line has allowed only two sacks this season, tops in the MAC and ninth nationally. The defense has also been stepping up lately for the Cards and were paced in last week's 41-24 over Akron by DB Sean Baker who earned MAC West Defensive Player of the Week honors after returning a fumble 33-yards for a TD and tying a school record with three interceptionsIndiana had a one-week layoff after going 2-0 on the season with a 45-3 win over Murray State which followed an opening day 31-13 win over Western Kentucky. Indiana, under former BSU head coach Bill Lynch, is led by QB Kellen Lewis who currently holds fifteen school quarterback records. Lewis has passed for 314 yards so far this season and leads the team in rushing with 183 yards, averaging 18.3 yards per attempt. The Hoosiers top the Big Ten in rushing this season, averaging 275.5 yards per game and also currently own the Big Ten's top defense, allowing 215.5 yards per game, and the league's top rushing defense, allowing only 45.5 yards per game while their pass defense is yielding only 170 yards per contest (3rd Big Ten). But the Hoosiers have not faced a multi-faceted offense such as Ball State offers. The Cards should bring home the MAC's second road win over the Big Ten this weekendbut we have to caution --- we're pretty sure that we have picked Ball State over Indiana each of the last two years as well.
Prediction: Ball State 35, Indiana 31.
Miami (1-2) at Cincinnati (1-1), 7:30 pm
Site: Nippert Stadium
Series: Miami leads 59-46-7. Last meeting: Cincinnati 47, Miami 10 in 2007.
Outlook: It's the battle for the Victory Bell in the 113th meeting between Cincinnati and Miami, the longest running collegiate football rivalry west of the Alleghenies. The RedHawks recorded their first win last week in a 38-27 comeback over Charleston Southern. The RedHawks though are still searching for some consistency. After holding Michigan in check two weeks ago in a 16-6 loss, the Miami defense gave up 257 yards passing to the Buccaneers after entering the game giving up only 97 yards per contest through the air. Miami had to battle back from double digit deficits twice in the contest and were not able to pull ahead for good until Ben Bennett's 78-yard interception return in the fourth quarter set up the game's wining touchdown. The RedHawks though did have some positives come out of the game on offense as RB Thomas Merriweather recorded three touchdowns, the first three rushing scores of the season for Miami and QB Dan Raudabaugh passed for 305 yards but ranks near the bottom of the MAC in passing efficiency with four interceptions and two touchdowns on the seasonCincinnati, under former Central Michigan head coach Brian Kelly, had a week off after dropping a 52-26 decision to then 4th-ranked Oklahoma on Sept 6. The Bearcats' Dustin Grutza passed for 514 yards and four TDs through the Bearcats' first two games but is out for the season after fracturing his right fibula against Oklahoma. With Grutza out, junior signal-caller Tony Pike will be making his first career start. Pike has made seven career appearances without a start and has thrown for 164 yards, two TD and four interceptions. The Bearcats have a pair of receivers who are averaging better than 100 yards per game with Dominick Goodman pulling in 102 yards per game and Mardy Gilyard adding 110 yards per gameCincinnati has won the last two games in the series and three of the last four.
Prediction: Cincinnati 34, Miami 21.
(25) Fresno State (1-1) at Toledo (1-1, 1-0 MAC), 8:15 pm
Site: Glass Bowl
Series: Fresno State leads 1-0. Last meeting: Fresno State 44, Toledo 14 in 2005.
Outlook: Toledo opened MAC play last week by recording its first win of the year, 41-17 over Eastern Michigan. The Rockets were led by a career-day from RB DaJuane Collins who rushed for 168 yards and WR Stephen Williams hauled in two of QB Aaron Opelt's three TD passes. The Rockets' defense also got in on the act, causing four turnovers in the rain and holding the Eagles' MAC-best rushing attack to only 132 yards on the ground. Two games into the season, the Rockets own the MAC's best red-zone offense (tied with Ball State), going a perfect 8-8 inside the red-zone, including six touchdownsFresno State makes it first-ever appearance at the Glass Bowl after falling at home to Wisconsin, 13-10 last week after opening the season with a 24-7 win at Rutgers. The Bulldogs missed three field goals in their game against Wisconsin, including a potential game-tying 35 yard field goal with under four minutes remaining. FSU RB Ryan Matthews is coming off of a freshman season that saw him top all freshmen nationally with 14 rushing touchdowns. This season Matthews tops the WAC with an average of 108.5 yards rushing per game. Senior QB Tom Brandstater has had a slow starter however in 2008, passing for only one TD and one interception through the first two games. The Bulldogs though have been getting it done on defense, allowing 336.5 yards per game, third in the WAC and top the WAC in third down conversion defense.
Prediction: Fresno State 38, Toledo 21.
The schedule for the week ahead:
Saturday, September 27
Northern Illinois at Eastern Michigan, Noon
Kent State at Ball State, Noon
Bowling Green at Wyoming, 2:00 pm
VMI at Ohio, 2:00 pm
Western Michigan at Temple, 2:00 pm
Cincinnati at Akron, 3:30 pm
Buffalo at Central Michigan, 4:00 pm
Florida International at Toledo, 7:00 pm