In our weekly roundup, we will focus in on both the Central Michigan Chippewas and Eastern Michigan Eagles as they open up Mid-American conference play this Saturday. The Western Michigan Broncos do play this week, bringing in an FCS opponent in Wagner.
It should be one of those fun weekends for travel and tailgating this weekend in the mitten, with all three Directional Michigan schools playing at home on Saturday. Let’s dive into this weekend’s preview.
CENTRAL MICHIGAN CHIPPEWAS
LAST WEEK: L at Syracuse, 41-17
THIS SEASON: 2-1
Hoping to ride the momentum of a win on the road at Kansas the week prior, Central Michigan went into the Carrier Dome and got it handed to them by Syracuse.
The Chips actually hung with the Orange early on, being tied 10-10 after one quarter and only training 24-17 at halftime. But Syracuse outscored CMU 17-0 in the second half to lock up the win and had the Chips their first loss of the season.
Central will look to bounce back when the open up conference play at home on Saturday (3:30 p.m. ET on ESPN3) against Miami (OH). The RedHawks (1-2) are coming off a 21-17 loss at Cincinnati last weekend. Last season, they lost their first six games of the year before rattling off six straight wins and getting into a bowl game.
Miami won last year’s meeting in Oxford but overall, the Chips have won five of seven against the RedHawks. Central will look to to shore up a defense that allowed nearly 600 yards of offense to Syracuse last week and has allowed the third-most yards per game in the MAC, albeit a three-game sample size.
EASTERN MICHIGAN EAGLES
LAST WEEK: Bye
THIS SEASON: 2-0
After taking down their first Big Ten opponent in nearly 40 game all-time against that conference, albeit against lonely Rutgers, Eastern Michigan enjoyed their early-season bye week and has now had two weeks to prepare for their conference opener.
The Eagles will kick of MAC play on Saturday (2 p.m. ET on ESPN3) against Ohio. The Bobcats (2-1) are coming off a 42-30 win at home against the aforementioned Jayhawks of Kansas that CMU beat up on two weeks ago in Lawrence. Ohio has been one of the steadier programs in the MAC over the last decade, garnering a winning record and a bowl bid in all but one season since 2009.
Eastern will be looking to make it two straight against Ohio after winning last season in Athens to snap a six-game losing skid against the Bobcats. Something will have to give on Saturday. Ohio’s 40.7 PPG is second to only Toledo in the MAC, while EMU is posting the best scoring defense in the league.
WESTERN MICHIGAN BRONCOS
LAST WEEK: W vs. Idaho, 37-28
THIS SEASON: 1-2
Western Michigan has definitely had a tough stretch of games to start the season. After giving both USC and Michigan State tough tests on the road in the weeks prior, the Broncos held their home opener and were in a battle with an Idaho team that is very much improved from recent history.
The Broncos now get one more tune-up before entering conference play. They will welcome in FCS opponent Wagner to Waldo this Saturday (7 p.m. ET on ESPN3).
Redshirt sophomore quarterback Jon Wassink put together his best game of the young season against the Vandals. The 212 passing yards were more than his first two games combined. He threw no picks after hurling one in each of the first two games. He also punched it on the ground twice for Western as well.
This should be a game for the Broncos to work out some things, particularly on defense. Given the opponents they played, the numbers do not look kind to WMU. Again, small sample size alert, Western Michigan through three games sits in the bottom third of the MAC in total offense (11th out of 12), total defense (9th), rush defense (10th) and passing offense (11th).