|Week 7 Recap: Hail to the Rockets|
|Written by Dave Ruthenberg|
|Sunday, October 12 2008|
First up were the Rockets, fresh off a three-game losing streak that saw them drop home contests to Fresno State, Florida International and Ball State, giving up an average of better than forty points in each game. But the Rockets weren't fazed by the mighty Wolverines and, highlighted by Tyrrell Herbert's 100-yard interception return for a TD,- scored the MAC's first-ever victory over Michigan in twenty-five contests.
But while the Rockets were the top story of the weekend, there were plenty of other fireworks, including a fifteen-point fourth quarter comeback by Western Michigan, a 23-point fourth quarter performance by Bowling Green and Central Michigan keeping pace by shutting down Temple to set up a MAC West showdown next week with the Broncos.
Also Ball State played its first game ever game as a ranked team and the 25th-ranked Cards took care of business with a solid 24-7 win.
We have recaps, quotes and notes from those and every game from Saturday below as well as our choices for offensive and defensive players of the week and a look at how our picks did this past week.
A Perfect Ten
With victories by Western Michigan over Buffalo, Central Michigan over Temple and Northern Illinois over Miami this past Saturday, the MAC West moved to 10-0 against the MAC East this season.
Game Changing Performance
Toledo senior free safety Tyrrell Herbert's stunning interception return for a touchdown against Michigan is one of four performances chosen for nomination for this week's "Pontiac Game Changing Moment" award.
Fans can cast their votes for Herbert by clicking here.
Movin' on Up
Ball State moved up in both polls this week following the Cardinals' 24-7 victory over Western Kentucky.
Ball State moved up from 25th to 24th in the AP Writers Poll while the Cardinals debuted this week at 25th in the USA Today Coaches Poll, moving up from 29th last week.
The Cardinals are 7-0 for the first time since moving up to Division I in 1971 and are off to their best start since going 9-0 in 1965.
This Week's Top Statistical Performers
On with our weekly breakdown of this past week's action.
Also, remember to keep reading for our choices for this week's offensive and defensive players of the week and a look at how our predictions performed this past week.
Around The Conference
Toledo 13, Michigan 10.
Quick Take: The Rockets recorded perhaps one of the biggest wins in their program's history when Toledo downed Michigan 13-10 Saturday in Ann Arbor. The game's first touchdown came on Rockets' free safety Tyrrell Herbert's end zone to end zone interception return, recording the Rockets' only touchdown on the day. The Wolverines responded with 10 unanswered points to take a 10-7 lead at halftime. Toledo however shut down the Wolverines' passing attack and used a pair of Alex Steigerwald field goals to account for the second-half's only points. Michigan PK KC Lopata had a chance to win the game but his 26-yard field goal attempt as time expired sailed wide left.
**Toledo WR Nick Moore's 20 receptions (162 yards) set a Toledo and Michigan Stadium record and tied the MAC record set by Eastern Michigan's Kenny Christian in 2000 against Temple.
**Toledo FS Tyrrell Herbert's 100 yard interception return also set a Michigan Stadium record and Toledo record.
**The win by the Rockets was the first loss ever by Michigan to a MAC team after posting wins in their first 24 games against teams from the MAC.
** I never thought I would have that many catches anywherelittle league, high school, anything. Toledo WR Nick Moore who caught a record-setting 20 passes.
** I was tired. I was running and looked up at the jumbotron and I saw a shadow. I just said, Please, dont let me get caught. I just made it in there. It was a good feeling to score in the Big House." Toledo FS Tyrrell Herbert.
** Ever since I was a little kid I wanted to play in the Big House. My first time ever being here was playing today. So that was exciting, seeing all the fans. It felt great. It was an awesome accomplishment. Toledo QB Aaron Opelt.
Army 17, Eastern Michigan 13.
Quick Take: After staking Army to an early 7-0 lead on the game's first possession, the Eagles scored 13 unanswered second quarter points on a pair of Joe Carithers field goals (43, 38 yards) and Terrence Blevins' five-yard TD run. After Army cut the Eagles' lead to 13-10, EMU had a chance to add to their lead but could not capitalize on a first-and-goal from the Army five-yard line in the third quarter, failing to cross the goal line and then having a 22-yard FG attempt blocked. Army recorded the game-winning TD on Chip Bowden's 9-yard TD run early in the fourth quarter while EMU was shutout in the second half.
**Army attempted only three passes the entire game, failing to complete a pass and recorded all 341 yards of offense on the ground.
**With the loss EMU is still searching for its first-ever regular season non-conference road win over a 1A opponent.
**Army FB Collin Mooney rushed for a career-high 229 yards.
**I think we did much better than I anticipated (defending the triple option). I was pleased with our adjustments. I think we could have tackled better, but by and large, I think we played good enough defensively to have a chance to win the game. EMU head coach Jeff Genyk.
** We played hard, but I feel we have got to come out in practice tomorrow and on Tuesday and work harder. We just have to finish games." EMU RB Dwayne Priest who rushed for 118 yards.
** Im proud of what we did today. I think that the offense that we are running and the people that we have running it give us a chance to get to the fourth quarter and still have the opportunity to win. We got to the fourth quarter today and drove down and put points on the board." Army head coach Stan Brock.
Ohio 26, Kent State 19.
Quick Take: The bottom line? Ohio PK Barrett Way connected on four field goals for the Bobcats while Kent State's special teams woes continued. The Flashes used two placekickers but still managed to miss two PAT's and one field goal in dropping their thirteenth game in the last fourteen outings. Ohio opened the scoring in the first quarter on QB Boo Jackson's 9-yard TD run and never trailed but opened their largest lead at 26-13 late in the game after scoring 12 unanswered points after Kent State had closed to within 14-13 midway through the second quarter.
**Ohio PK Barrett Way tied a school record with four field goals, setting a career best in the process as well.
**Kent State QB Julian Edelman rushed for 136 yards, his second straight game over 100 yards rushing.
**KSU WR Shawn Bayes set career highs with five catches for 141 yards, including an 82-yard TD from Edelman that was the third longest in school history.
** The good thing is that we made our field goals. The not so good thing is that we kicked so many. It is hard to keep the coach happy I guess." Ohio head coach Frank Solich.
** Nate Reed broke every record there was kicking last year. So, I dont know. Its the same guy. I don't understand that. Ive tried to love him up and Ive tried to jump on him, Ive tried everything. At some point, hes just going to have to pony up and do it." Kent State head coach Doug Martin on PK Nate Reed's struggles.
** As an offensive unit, you can never blame it on special teams because what would you rather do, kick a field goal or score a touchdown? We had opportunities to come up with those third and longs. Kent State QB Julian Edelman.
Western Michigan 34, Buffalo 28 (OT).
Quick Take: In a game that looked like the Bulls had things well in hand, the Broncos recovered from a 21-3 third quarter deficit by scoring 22 fourth quarter points, including 14 points in the final five minutes of the fourth quarter to force overtime. The Broncos got the equalizer with five seconds remaining when QB Tim Hiller found WR Jamarko Simmons for a 9-yard TD. The Bulls opened up their big lead thanks in large part to three James Starks touchdown runs including a 66-yard score in the second quarter. But the Broncos responded in the fourth quarter on the arm of QB Tim Hiller who passed for three TD's in the final quarter, connected on a two-point conversion and passed to TE Brandon Ledbetter for the overtime winner. The Bulls opened the OT session on offense but Drew Willy was intercepted in the end zone by WMU CB Louis Delmas. The win puts WMU alone in first-place in the MAC West at 4-0, one-half game ahead of 23rd-ranked Ball State and Central Michigan.
**WMU QB Tim Hiller completed 42-63 passes for 345 yards as Buffalo shut down WMU's rushing attack. The 63 attempts set a UB Stadium record, and a Western Michigan team mark.
**UB QB Drew Willy now has exactly 7,000 career passing yards which currently ranks second all-time in school history, trailing only Cliff Scott (7,578 yards).
**WMU WR Schneider Julien had career single-game high 12 receptions.
** "I just like the competitiveness of our kids. The kids on the sidelines, you could hear them. There was no panic. There was no finger-pointing. It was just 'OK, we just get in there and get even.' We got lucky, we know that, but it was a really good gut-check by our kids. We gave ourselves a chance." Western Michigan head coach Bill Cubit told the Kalamazoo Gazette.
** It was obviously a tough loss, we had the situation the way you want to have it, we just didn't make enough plays. It's all about 60 minutes of football and you never know how things are going to work out for you unless you continue to play hard and execute until the end. We have to execute better in the third and fourth quarter, and we will, but we will continue to learn from this situation and get better the next time. Buffalo head coach Turner Gill.
** "They couldn't really run on us. But late in a game, you can't let a good team have any air. You've got to put them away." Buffalo DE Mike Thompson.
Northern Illinois 17, Miami 13.
Quick Take: The Huskies opened up a 10-0 lead but Miami rallied back for a 10-10 halftime tie and eventually took the lead 13-10 on a Nathan Parseghian 35-yard field goal in the third quarter. The Huskies responded however just two minutes later on Chad Spann's 2 yard TD run to secure the 17-13 decision. Miami scored its only TD on Eugene Harris' 63-yard punt return for a touchdown in the second quarter as NIU has allowed only one offensive touchdown over its last four games. NIU QB Chandler Harnish split duty with DeMarcus Grady, making his first appearance since suffering a foot injury in week two. The RedHawks drove downfield late but could not put any points on the board when QB Dan Raudabaugh's pass into the end-zone on fourth down from the NIU fifteen-yard line fell incomplete with 1:22 left to play.
** NIU has held each of its last four opponents to 13 points or less.
** Miami has been outscored in the first quarter by a cumulative count of 54-3 over its first six games of the season.
** Miami P Jake Richardson punted five times, including a 73-yard punt, to up his nation's best punting average to 48.5 yards per punt
**NIU RB Me'Co Brown had his second 100-yard rushing performance this season, tallying 123 yards on 16 carries.
** Football teams need hard-fought close wins like ours today. These types of games are hard to win, but if you do, they can certainly boost team morale. NIU head coach Jerry Kill.
** We are learning to finish games and win. If we keep doing that, the sky is the limit for this team. NIU QB Chandler Harnish.
** "It was the sixth straight game we fell behind 10-0 early. We made a good charge to get the game tied at halftime, and a big drive in the middle of the third quarter. NIU answered and we could not get the game winner." Miami head coach Shane Montgomery.
Central Michigan 24, Temple 14.
Quick Take: The Chippewas used a staunch defensive effort in overcoming an injury to starting QB Dan LeFevour to record a 24-14 homecoming victory over Temple. CMU jumped out to a 14-0 lead on a pair of first-half Dan LeFevour to Antonio Brown TD passes but the Owls responded in the second quarter with 14 straight points on Kee-ayre Griffin's 17-yard TD run and a Chester Stewart to Bruce Francis 3-yard TD pass. The Chips regained the lead at 17-14 by halftime on Andrew Aguila's 22-yard field. LeFevour left the game with an ankle injury and did not return as the second half was dominated by defense with LeFevour's backup, Brian Brunner, connecting with Bryan Anderson on a 37-yard TD strike to seal the game early in the fourth quarter as the Owls were shutout in the second half. Temple turned the ball over four times, including three interceptions by Stewart. The CMU victory sets up a MAC West first-place showdown with Western Michigan on Oct 18.
** CMU QB Dan LeFevour left the game with an ankle injury but is expected back for the WMU contest.
** Central Michigan has now won thirteen straight games against teams from the MAC East.
** Prior to Saturday's game, Temple had not been scored upon in the opening quarter in each of its first six games this season.
** Brian (Brunner) has paid his dues. Dan (LeFevour) could have gone back in but I thought Brian earned the right to finish the game. Our kids rallied around him because they have so much confidence in him." Central Michigan head coach Butch Jones.
** "We had three killer turnovers. You can't turn the ball over against a team like Central and expect to be successful. The defense played well today. I thought we could hold CMU under 28 points and we did. We gave them short fields to work with too often. We were careless with the football." Temple head coach Al Golden.
** "This is a tough stretch coming up. This is going to be a tough championship run. The MAC is the strongest its ever been, and its going to be a great challenge." Jones.
Bowling Green 37, Akron 33.
Quick Take: The Zips entered the fourth-quarter with a 27-14 lead at home before imploding as the Falcons exploded for 23 fourth-quarter points, pulling out an unlikely 37-33 victory that put the Falcons back into first place in the MAC East. The Zips opened up leads of 21-7 and 27-14 with a pair of Dennis Kennedy touchdown runs, a 37-yard TD from QB Chris Jacquemain to Deryn Bowser and a pair of Igor Ivlejic FG's before the Falcons erupted for three fourth quarter touchdowns with QB Tyler Sheehan running for a 19-yard score and passing to Corey Partridge for a 21-yard TD sandwiched around Anthony Turner's five-yard TD pass to Jimmy Scheidler. Akron drove down to BG's 33-yard line in the final two minutes but could not move the ball any further.
** Akron RB Dennis Kennedy rushed for a career high 182 yards on 29 carries. His previous high was 178 yards against Bowling Green in 2006.
** Bowling Green WR Corey Partridge's two TD receptions represented the first multiple TD game of his career.
** BG RB Anthony Turner rushed for 126 yards and his five-yard TD pass to Jimmy Scheidler gave the Falcons their first lead of the game at 28-27 in the fourth quarter.
** "I know how (Akron head coach) JD Brookhart feels. Seven days ago I felt the same way." Bowling Green head coach Gregg Brandon.
** ''This was very much like the Cincinnati game. It was tough to stomach,'' Akron head coach JD Brookhart.
** ''Every week is huge for everybody now. Everybody on our side (in the MAC East division) had a loss, so this was a pivotal game. We control our own destiny now, which is a good spot to be in." Brandon
(25) Ball State 24, Western Kentucky 7.
Quick Take: Playing their first game as a team ranked in the top 25, Ball State came within fifty-eights seconds of recording its second straight shutout, defeating Western Kentucky 24-7. The Cardinals led 7-0 at halftime on a Nate Davis to Briggs Orsbon five-yard scoring strike. Davis closed BSU's scoring with a 20-yard TD pass to Louis Johnson in the fourth quarter after MiQuale Lewis has previously scored on a 1-yard run and Ian McGarvey connected on a 37-yard field goal. The Hilltoppers scored late on a 20-yard TD pass from QB David Wolke to Jake Gaebler. Western Kentucky only entered the red-zone twice during the entire contest.
** Ball State came within 58 seconds of recording its first back-to-back shutouts since 1978.
** Cardinals RB MiQuale Lewis recorded 95 of his 112 rushing yards in the second half.
** The teams were nearly even in total yards, with Ball State recording 355 yards and Western Kentucky tallying 352 yards in offense.
** "We basically had them shut out until the final 58 seconds. I was very upset we let it slip away." Ball State LB Davyd Jones told the Star-Press.
** "We have to watch film and go back and correct what's wrong. We're making little mistakes." BSU QB Nate Davis who passed for a season-low 155 yards against Western Kentucky Saturday.
** "We had some rough edges tonight. We need to improve." BSU head coach Brady Hoke.
Players of the Week
Offensive Player of the Week
Tim Hiller, QB, Western Michigan, 42-63, 345 yards, four touchdowns
Hiller became the second Bronco in a row to earn MAC Report Online's Offensive Player of the Week Honors (Brandon West - Oct 5). Hiller led the Broncos' comeback in a 34-28 overtime win over Buffalo with three of his four touchdowns coming in the fourth quarter with his fourth TD pass giving the Broncos the win in overtime. The Broncos entered the fourth-quarter trailing 21-6 before Hiller's late-game surge. Hiller set school records for attempts and completions in the win and his 23 touchdown passes on the season rank second nationally.
Defensive Player of the Week
Tyrrell Herbert, FS, Toledo, Two interceptions, 100-yard Int Return for TD, 4 tackles (2 solo).
Tyrrell Herbert set the tone for Toledo's 13-10 upset victory at Michigan Saturday when his interception of Steven Threet's pass in the end-zone opened the game's scoring. Herbert's 100-yard interception return for a touchdown set both a Michigan Stadium and Toledo school record and would be the only touchdown the Rockets would score but it would prove to be enough to propel the Rockets to their upset victory, the first ever-loss by Michigan to a MAC squad in 25 games. Later in the game Herbert added a second interception for good measure and was also credited with four tackles in the contest.
Hey, we knew Toledo wouldn't score more than thirteen points against Michigan. How about that call, eh? Of course we didn't exactly come close on predicting Michigan's offensive production, but that's okay, this is a loss we will gladly take for the team
Actually we did pretty well this week, compiling a 6-2 mark in a week that had several toss-ups on the schedule and came surprisingly close on the final score in several games: (Check out NIU-Miami, CMU-Temple, BG-Akron, WMU-Buffalo and Army-EMU).
So, in a week that started out with us completely missing the boat on the Michigan-Toledo contest, we were able to rally in the second half.
For the season our picks now stand at 52-14.
Here is the breakdown from the past weekend: