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YOUR MID-DAY #MACTION UPDATE
Ball State clipped Akron, Ohio wins!, and EMU dropped 52 on Toledo (and almost lost). And that's just the first night of #MACtion, gang.
Image from ohiobobcats.com
Wanted to squeeze in a quick mid-week #MACtion update on my lunch break—yoga lesson’s over, and I have a half hour. The first night of weekday MAC play did not disappoint—three close games, a big upset, and basically the end of Toledo’s season. Let’s get to it:
Ball State 31, Akron 25. From Robby General of The Muncie Star Press:
Ball State escaped Akron with a victory.
Ball State (5-4, 3-2 MAC), led Akron 28-10 midway through the third quarter, but the Cardinals' offense didn't build on its commanding lead. Akron (2-7, 1-4 MAC), meanwhile, scored 15 straight points before Ball State responded with a 31-yard field goal from Jake Chanove in the fourth quarter.
On the ensuing drive, Akron marched 54 yards downfield and had a chance at what would've been the game-tying touchdown followed by a potential game-winning extra point, but quarterback Zach Gibson — sandwiched between Brett Anderson II and Clayton Coll — fumbled the ball at the 1-yard line. Ball State safety Bryce Cosby scooped it for the touchback.
A couple of Carson Steele runs, Akron timeouts and Drew Plitt kneel downs later, Ball State walked off the field with a 31-25 victory on the first night of midweek Mid-American Conference play.
Woof, that’s the way this season has gone for the Zips, unfortunately. The victory puts Ball State one win closer to bowl eligibility and makes next week’s Wednesday night matchup with MAC West-leading Northern Illinois absolutely critical if the Cardinals have any shot of overcoming the Huskies’ two-game division lead.
Ohio 35, Miami (Ohio) 33. Bobcats win! Bobcats win! But they almost blew it. From ESPN.com:
Kurtis Rourke passed for three touchdowns, Isiah Cox had 106 yards receiving and two scores, and Ohio beat Miami (Ohio) 35-33 on Tuesday night in the 97th edition of the Battle of the Bricks.
Ohio led 28-0 before Miami scored four unanswered touchdowns in the second half to get within 28-26 with 3:17 remaining on Jack Sorenson's 82-yard catch-and-run.
Facing a third-and-8, De'Montre Tuggle broke free for a 46-yard touchdown as Ohio rebuilt a nine-point lead with 1:35 to go. Miami scored 40 seconds later, but Tuggle recovered an onside kick to seal it.
Tuggle had two rushing touchdowns and one receiving for Ohio (2-7, 2/3 Mid-American Conference), which will finish with its first losing season since 2008. Rourke was 23 of 32 for 288 yards.
The victory doesn’t mean much for Ohio (2-7, 2-3) besides bragging rights against their old rival and maybe a little less heat on first-year coach Tim Albin’s seat. For the RedHawks (4-5, 3-2), however, this game is a real kick in the shins—not only did they lose outright to a 20-point underdog, Chuck Martin’s bunch lost its share of the MAC East lead. Miami now faces the Jekyll-and-Hyde Buffalo Bulls (4-5, 2-3) next week, followed by a suddenly frisky Bowling Green squad (3-6, 1-4) and MAC East-leading Kent State (4-4, 3-1) in its season finale. Picked a bad one to lose, guys.
Eastern Michigan 52, Toledo 49. God help me, I believe in the Eagles. From CBSSports.com:
The best player on the turf between the Toledo Rockets and the Eastern Michigan Eagles this past Tuesday ended up on the losing team. Although he couldn't prevent a 52-49 loss to EMU, RB Bryant Koback rushed for two TDs and 180 yards on 15 carries. One of the most memorable plays of the matchup was Koback's 67-yard touchdown rush in the first quarter.
In addition to Koback, Toledo got help from WR Matt Landers, who caught five passes for two TDs and 150 yards. One of the most thrilling moments was Landers' 80-yard TD reception in the second quarter.
The Eagles' WR Hassan Beydoun looked sharp as he caught 12 passes for two TDs and 197 yards. One of the most thrilling moments was Beydoun's 64-yard TD reception in the third quarter. EMU also got a nice defensive effort from DL Jose Ramirez, who took down the quarterback three times.
Toledo's defeat pushed them down to 4-5. EMU's win brought them up to 6-3.
The Rockets will square off against the Bowling Green Falcons at noon ET next week at Doyt L. Perry Stadium. Bowling Green is 1-1 after wins this year, and Toledo is 2-2 after losses. EMU will take on the Ohio Bobcats at noon ET on Tuesday at home. Ohio is also tiptoeing in after a close one, winning 35-33 over the Miami (OH) RedHawks.
Alright, that recap was almost certainly written by a machine, which is a sad comment on the state of affairs in sports media these days. Regardless: huge win for Eastern Michigan (6-3, 3-2) to earn bowl eligibility and stay in the hunt for the MAC West title. Like Ball State, Western Michigan, and Central Michigan (the latter two play each other tonight), the Eagles have two conference losses to division-leading NIU’s zero. And in a side note, EMU has emerged as one of the most explosive teams in the MAC, scoring 31 or more points in its last three games (and 50+ in each of its past two), and have scored 30 or more in five of its nine games.
Central Michigan at Western Michigan (-9), 7 p.m., ESPNU. From Tyler J. Davis of The Detroit Free Press:
Central Michigan (4-4, 2-2 Mid-American Conference) football and Western Michigan (5-3, 2-2) play Wednesday night for a chance to stay alive in their crowded division standings.
The loser of the game would be nearly eliminated from any hope of a division crown as Northern Illinois leads the MAC West with a 4-0 conference record.
Central Michigan football and Western Michigan play Wednesday night for a chance to stay alive in their crowded division standings.
So how do you watch CMU (4-4, 2-2 Mid-American Conference) meet WMU (5-3, 2-2) in Kalamazoo? ESPNU will have a broadcast, or you can follow the tweets below.
The loser of the game would be nearly eliminated from any hope of a division crown as Northern Illinois leads the MAC West with a 4-0 conference record.Chippewa coach Jim McElwain is amp'd, according to CMU athletics. He hasn't beaten Western in his two seasons in Mount Plesant, and Central hasn't won in the series since the 2017 game at Waldo Stadium.
"We haven't stopped them in two years. I think they could have put 200 points on us if they wanted to the last couple years," McElwain said. "(Western) has embarrassed us and me personally the last two years. … We've got to play a lot better."
If you'll recall, WMU won a 52-44 shootout with CMU last season as the teams combined for over 1,000 yards offense.
CMU is coming off a nail-biting loss to NIU, where the Chips blew a two-possession lead in the fourth quarter... then missed a game-winning 40-yard field goal with 7 seconds left in the game.
WMU lost to Toledo, the last-place team in the West, 34-15.
The Broncos are a nine-point favorite, and I’ll tell you right now that I’ve already taken CMU on the +285 money line. Regardless, the more sensible version of myself thinks the Broncos win but CMU covers.
Northern Illinois vs. Kent State (-3.5), 7 p.m., ESPN2. Huge game as the MAC West and East leaders face off in northeastern Ohio! Pete Fiutak of College Football News has the Huskies (6-2, 4-0) taking this one over the Golden Flashes (4-4, 3-1):
Northern Illinois does a whole lot of grinding, but it doesn’t convert a whole lot of third down tries. That won’t be too much of an issue against a (KSU) defense that allowed 12 rushing touchdowns in the last three games and three, 300-yard rushing days.
Northern Illinois won’t win the MAC West with this, but it’ll come very, very close. Kent State will still be okay with the tough loss – it’ll almost certainly meet the Huskies again in a few weeks for the MAC title.
I’m taking underdog NIU to win outright in this one, folks. Northern Illinois is a more stable proposition this season, and Kent—well, you never know what you’re going to get.
UB fans—I assume you are if you are here—I have not seen Head Coach Mo Linguist’s weekly press conference posted on the school’s website, and there’s no writeup in The Buffalo News—not sure what the deal is, but will keep an eye out for any news following Saturday’s debacle.
That’s it! Enjoy the games tonight, folks. Apologies in advance for any typos.