Two of the three ‘Directional’ Michigan schools got off on the right foot last week to open the college football season. It was nearly a clean sweep for the MAC trio, but the (then) No. 4 USC Trojans made sure that didn’t happen.
What’s in store for the schools in Week 2? Time for to round up and preview their games this week.
CENTRAL MICHIGAN CHIPPEWAS
It was not the prettiest of showings for Central Michigan to open the season, as they needed three overtimes to seal a victory over FCS opponent Rhode Island. Nevertheless, a win is a win.
New CMU quarterback and former Michigan transfer Shane Morris finished 25-for-49 with 226 yards, a touchdown and a pick, adding 32 yards on the ground. He connected with Brandon Childress for his lone score through the air but his favorite target was Mark Chapman, who hauled in five catches for a team-high 88 yards.
Jonathan Ward and Devon Spalding were lethal on the ground for the Chips, totaling 217 rushing yards and two touchdowns; Spalding’s score sealed the victory in triple overtime. Defensively, CMU bullied Rams QB Tyler Harris and picked him off six times. Unfortunately, only one of those six picks were turned into points.
Central looks to make it 2-0 this weekend when they travel to Kansas. The Jayhawks knocked around FCS foe Southeast Missouri State for a 38-16 victory. KU has been among the weaker FBS programs over the last decade since collecting a program-best 12 wins in 2007. It was just two seasons ago when they finished the year 0-12.
KICKOFF: Saturday, September 9 at 4 p.m. ET
EASTERN MICHIGAN EAGLES
Like their counterparts from Mount Pleasant, Eastern Michigan started the new season with a tally in the win column after downing an up-and-coming Charlotte team 24-7 at home.
Quarterback Brogan Roback was efficient in the passing game, going 22-for-31 with 287 yards but did not record a passing touchdown and threw one interception. He hooked up with both Sergio Bailey II and Antoine Porter a lot. This wideout tandem combined for eight catches and 152 yards.
Two of the three scores for EMU came on the ground courtesy of Ian Eriksen, who finished with 37 yards on seven carries. Backfield partner Shaq Vann led the Eagles with 90 yards on the ground.
Defensively, the star of the game for Eastern Michigan was defensive back Brody Hoying. The sophomore finished with six tackles, tied for second on the team against the 49ers, broke up two passes and returned an interception to the house.
The Eagles now hit the road for a tougher test as they travel east to play at Rutgers. The Scarlet Knights have been in a gradual decline as a program since joining the Big Ten in 2014. Last week, they gave top-10 power Washington a scare before the Huskies pulled away late in that game.
KICKOFF: Saturday, September 9 at 3:30 p.m. ET on Big Ten Network.
WESTERN MICHIGAN BRONCOS
Despite having to chalk it up as a loss on Saturday against the Trojans, one could safely argue that Western Michigan put together the best performance out of the ‘Directional’ Michigan schools, going stride for stride with USC up until for the fourth quarter.
How much of that was due to the Trojans sleepwalking their way through it will vary from one person to the next, but the results are what they are and the Broncos are going to give Michigan State something to think about this week leading up to Saturday.
WMU absolutely worked USC on the ground for 263 yards rushing. Much like Michigan State, they have a three-headed monster in the backfield consisting of LeVante Bellamy, Jamauri Bogan and Jarvion Franklin, all of whom are very capable in handling the heavy workload on any given night.
No doubt that’ll be the strength once again for the Broncos against MSU on Saturday in East Lansing. The Spartans knocked around another MAC school in Bowling Green last week, showing a solid balanced attack on offense.
We know what the keys for Michigan State will be on Saturday, which directly correlate to Western’s go-to for success: running the ball and letting Darius Phillips work in the open field on special teams. Don’t be terribly surprised if WMU can walk out with a win on Saturday.
KICKOFF: Saturday, September 9 at 3:30 p.m. ET on Big Ten Network