It's our weekly early look-in around the MAC with some of the latest news around campus from our reporting partners across the Mid-American Conference.
Ball State has cruised to five consecutive double-figure football victories to start the season. Except for the career-ending injury to receiver Dante Love, there have been few potholes along the way.
But if the Cardinals need a reminder about how precarious their position can be, all they need to do is look at last week's national scoreboard to see that six Top 25 teams were taken down by unranked opponents.
The biggest shocker was No. 1 USC, a 24-point favorite, losing Thursday to Oregon State.
"We talked on Friday about USC getting beat," Ball State coach Brady Hoke said. "The thing I like about our team is the maturity level so far, the leadership, our senior class. We have a lot of guys who have played a lot of football for us who understand how to get themselves ready to play."
Most good teams feel that way, but it obviously doesn't guarantee victory against a weaker opponent.
USC wasn't the only power to fall.
No. 4 Florida, No. 9 Wisconsin and No. 16 Wake Forest all fell from the ranks of the unbeatens at the hands of unranked opponents.
No. 20 Clemson and No. 23 East Carolina suffered their second defeats of the season against unranked foes.
Those results got the Cardinals' attention.
"It shows us if you don't prepare the right way to play your best game every game, you can get beat at any time," Cardinals quarterback Nate Davis said.
Courtesy The Star Press
No "Additional Pressure"
Eastern Michigan had hoped that what appeared to be a favorable early season schedule that included home conference games against two divisional opponents, Toledo and Northern Illinois, would propel them to a fast start.
Instead, the Eagles (1-4, 0-2 MAC) find themselves in the cellar after an ugly 37-0 loss on homecoming to Northern Illinois with questions surrounding whether the program is making progress under fifth-year head coach Jeff Genyk.
There's the inevitable speculation about Genyks job security, but it's something that Genyk insists is not a distraction at this point.
"I don't necessarily feel any additional pressure," Genyk said. "I first realize that each game is critical and you really try not to look at the big picture because it's all about preparing for Bowling Green this week. Fortunes can change overnight.
"The other aspect is that your time is so consumed with your job and all of the film evaluation and players meetings and the coaches meetings that you don't have a lot of time to be wondering about what ifs. As long as you continue to stay focused on execution and the outcome, I think that you're alright."
However another area that will require the teams focus heading into its game against Bowling Green is its starting quarterback situation.
Sophomore Kyle McMahon went down early in the Northern Illinois game with a shoulder injury that kept him from returning to the game. That forced Andy Schmitt back into action, cutting short Schmitts planned recovery time from his own shoulder injury.
With both quarterbacks now nursing shoulder injuries, the team will use practice this week to determine which, if either, quarterback is able to play.
If neither Schmitt nor McMahon are available the Eagles would be down to little used redshirt freshman Jason Williams or could turn to converted quarterback, and current wide receiver, Tyler Jones, in certain offensive packages.
MAC Report Online
Injuries Continue to Mount
First it claimed tight end Jameson Konz. Then it sucked in star running back Eugene Jarvis.
Now the linebacking corps that had been a team strength has been decimated by broken bones in Cobrani Mixons left foot and Cedrick Maxwells left leg. Both starting linebackers were injured in the second half of Saturdays 41-20 loss at Ball State.
Mixon will miss the rest of the season after breaking the fifth metatarsal in his left foot. Maxwell's break was to a non weight-bearing bone (the left fibula) and he could be back in time for the Golden Flashes' Oct. 25 game at Miami.
"With the teams we have coming up, we'll probably play a lot of nickel situations anyway, which removes one of those linebackers," said Martin. "It is what it is, and we'll just go with it. We just have to go play better on defense, is what we have to do. We have to start creating turnovers."
KSU (1-4, 0-1) hosts arch-rival Akron (2-3, 0-1) Saturday in just the second game at Dix Stadium this season.
Courtesy Record Courier
The Bobcats begin a three-game road swing in MAC play this week at Western Michigan, and will do so while juggling its offensive line.
The Bobcats have seen the starting right guard go down with an injury in each of the past two weeks. First junior Michael Philibin left the Sept. 20 game at Northwestern with a shoulder injury, and then junior Gary Schussler (Philibins replacement) was carted off the field Saturday against VMI with an ankle injury.
With starting right tackle Chris Rodgers still nursing a sore ankle and left tackle Josh Leuck weathering a bum shoulder, the Bobcats have more holes than they expected to fill up front.
Such weaknesses might be exposed against Western Michigan, which leads the MAC in sacks.
Ohio head coach Frank Solich said his team can't worry about who may, or may not, play against the Broncos.
"As you go through the year, you have a tendency to get some guys banged up and when that happens that's always a little depressing but that's part of the game and you have to play above and beyond that -- just like you plan to play above any officiating calls that may come up in a game," Solich said.
Courtesy Athens Messenger
By the Numbers
Three of Temples losses this year have been by 2, 3 and 4 points.
The Owls started five freshmen on offense last week, three on the line.
QB Chester Stewart, a redshirt freshman, made his first start.
The Owls played 16 first-year players last week against Western Michigan, including 13 true frosh.
In two home games this year, they have not scored a TD. That includes an OT period. They also didnt get any TDs in their game at Penn State. The Owls defense, which starts only two seniors, has not given up a first-quarter point. And in three games, it didn't give up any first-half points.
The Owls are in the midst of four road games in a five-game stretch. The next two opponents (Miami and Central Michigan) both have a bye week before playing the Owls, which coach Al Golden wasnt exactly thrilled with.
They continue to hurt themselves with untimely penalties. Against WMU, they had a long TD run called back. And, with around 9 minutes left, after stopping the Broncos deep in their territory to force a punt, were called for sideline interference, which gave the Broncos another set of downs and allowed them to eat up more clock.
Golden wouldn't comment on that one afterward.
Courtesy Philadelphia Daily News
An "Embarrassing" Performance
The University of Toledo football coaches didn't give the Rockets much time to stew.
After a surprising defeat on Saturday, the coaching staff altered UT's practice schedule and had the Rockets in full pads on Sunday night rather than conducting the light practice that is the norm the day after a game.
The Rockets used the more physical practice to work out frustration they built up in losing to Florida International to fall to 1-3.
"People came out here intense," receiver Stephen Williams said. "If we would have played how we practiced, it would have been a better game."
UT is preparing for undefeated Ball State this weekend, the first of four difficult games in the month of October. The Rockets also have road games at Michigan (Oct. 11) and Northern Illinois (Oct. 18) on the schedule and finish the month by hosting two-time-defending Mid-American Conference champion Central Michigan (Oct. 25).
The players know to have a successful month, theyll have to play at a much higher level than they did in the 35-16 loss to FIU. UT scored a season-low 16 points and had a season-high four turnovers.
"It was embarrassing how we played last week," Williams said. "We had no emotion. We came out here dead. We were satisfied with what we did last week and we had an early lead so we thought they would (go down).
"They kept on fighting and we didn't. That was embarrassing for us so we've got to start the week off right."
Courtesy Toledo Blade