Enter Week 6 in college football. In the MAC this week around the state of Michigan, all three schools — Central, Eastern and Western Michigan — travel for key road games.
CENTRAL MICHIGAN CHIPPEWAS
Central Michigan returns to conference action this weekend after briefly stepping out of conference last weekend. The Chippewas dropped their third straight game last Saturday, a 28-8 loss at Boston College.
CMU (2-3, 0-1 MAC) has lost each of their last three contests by an average of slightly more than 20 points per game. It’s ultimately coming down to cashing in on scoring chances. The Chips are second in the MAC in total offense (422.4 YPG) but ninth in points per game (22.8). The last two weeks in particular, Central has fared fairly evenly with the opposition in terms of the box score, except for one category: touchdowns.
Now, Central will look to snap their losing skid on the road on Saturday (2 p.m. ET on ESPN3) against Ohio (4-1, 1-0 MAC). The Bobcats are coming off a wild 58-50 shootout win at Massachusetts last weekend.
If Central wants to find success, it’ll have to be through the air. Ohio boasts the second-best rush defense in the MAC but the worst pass defense. Could bode well for quarterback Shane Morris.
EASTERN MICHIGAN EAGLES
Like Central, Eastern Michigan returns to league action after a non-conference road game last weekend. The Eagles, however, fared much better than Central, albeit the same result.
EMU (2-2, 0-1 MAC) gave upstart Kentucky a big scare in Lexington on Saturday, actually outgaining the Wildcats in the yardage department. A key moment in this 24-20 win in favor of UK was a blocked punt deep in EMU territory, to which the ‘Cats immediately cashed in on one play later to make it 24-14 at the time. Eastern is going to need to get the ground game going at some point and help quarterback Brogan Roback. The Eagles are averaging just 74.5 rushing yards per game, by far the worst in the MAC.
Up next for Eastern Michigan on Saturday (Noon ET on CBS Sports Network) is high-flying Toledo (3-1). The Rockets nearly pulled off a big upset at No. 14 Miami-FL last weekend before the Hurricanes outscored them 42-14 in the second half to avoid any such upset.
Eastern has lost 10 straight meetings and 16 of the last 17 overall against Toledo.
WESTERN MICHIGAN BRONCOS
A dominating performance from Western Michigan last weekend against Ball State elevated their record to above .500 after dropping the first two games of the season.
WMU (3-2, 1-0 MAC) boat raced the Cardinals 55-3 at Waldo on Saturday behind a 240-yard, 3-touchdown performance from Jon Wassink and a 7-man crew combining for 169 yards on the ground. Defensively, the Broncos held Ball State to a season-low 238 yards of total offense. It was about as clean and as efficient of a game as head coach Tim Lester could have drawn up.
What will Western Michigan do for an encore this Saturday (3:30 p.m. ET on ESPN3)? Well it will be their first conference road test at Buffalo (3-2, 1-0 MAC). The Bulls are playing some spirited football early on. After dropping the first two games of the season at Minnesota and at Army (both by ten points or fewer), they have responded with three straight in the win column. Amazingly, Buffalo has already eclipsed their win total from all of last season.
Western Michigan is 6-2 all-time against Buffalo since the Bulls rejoined the FBS ranks back in 1999. They blanked UB 38-0 in Kalamazoo last season.