There’s a lot to digest from Week 5 around the state of Michigan. The eye candy from the weekend was up in Mount Pleasant between rivals Western Michigan Broncos and Central Michigan Chippewas.
Unfortunately for CMU fans and general fans of college football, it was a one-sided affair in favor of the red-hot Broncos. They row the boat to a 5-0 record. All of that and we break down how the Eastern Michigan Eagles are off to a historic 4-1 start in 2016 after their road conference victory against Bowling Green.
WESTERN MICHIGAN 49, CENTRAL MICHIGAN 10
Well that didn’t go as planned! At least for the Chippewas…
Western scored early and often Saturday night under the lights at Kelly/Shorts Stadium with a 49-10 statement victory, effectively demoralizing their rivals while also making it clear they are the class of the Mid-American Conference.
Central (3-2, 0-1 MAC) actually opened the scoring on their opening drive with a field goal, exhausting nearly six minutes to do it. Keeping the Broncos (5-0, 1-0 MAC) offense on the field is a good recipe, but they missed some steps… a lot. Western went on to score 35 unanswered points following that Chippewa FG.
It started with a Zach Terrell touchdown pass late in the 1st to Michael Henry from 6 yards out, making it 7-3. Then it was Jarvion Franklin punching it in the end zone twice in the 2nd quarter, giving WMU a 21-3 lead at the break. They kept their foot on the gas to open the second half. First play from scrimmage, Terrell connects with Corey Davis for 45 yards and a score. If that wasn’t the dagger, the ensuing drive for Central was. They moved the ball 65 yards on 12 plays, wasting nearly another six minutes off the clock. However, play No. 12 was a Cooper Rush pass picked off by Broncos cornerback Darius Phillips, who returned it 85 yards to the house. Broncos owned a 35-3 lead halfway through the 3rd.
CMU finally found the end zone later in the frame, Rush found Mark Chapman for 36 yards on their next drive to make it 35-10. But in the 4th, Western tacked on two more TDs. Terrell hooked up with Davis for a second time, this one for 6 yards. And then Fabian Johnson closed out the scoring with a 3-yard rushing touchdown.
Terrell for WMU was efficient, 15/21 for 170 yards and three TD passes. His CMU counterpart Cooper Rush did not have the greatest of days, just 17/29 for 178 and one TD completion and the pick six.
In the backfield, Jarvion Franklin dominated for the Broncos, carrying the ball 23 times for 132 yards and the two scores. Western as a team rushed for better than 250 yards. Devon Spalding led the way for CMU with 52 rushing yards.
And receiving, Davis led all receivers in the game with 72 yards and a team-high six receptions. Chapman for the Chips had a game-high seven catches for 70 yards and scored the lone TD for Central.
EASTERN MICHIGAN 28, BOWLING GREEN 25
You have to go back to 2005 the last time Eastern Michigan started 2-0 in conference play and all the way back to 1995 when they started a season 4-1 overall. Pull those two skeletons out of the closet after the Eagles held on for a 28-25 victory on the road against defending MAC champion Bowling Green.
Granted, BGSU (1-4, 0-1 MAC) is not the same team they were a year ago, having given up points in bunches this year so far, but this is still a huge statement win for EMU (4-1, 2-0 MAC). And having to survive a late push from the Falcons checks another box off the ‘gut check’ list after having to come back late a week ago against Wyoming at home.
The first half and second half in this game was basically night and day. Both teams combined for just 14 points, a pair of 1st-quarter touchdowns, in the first 30 minutes, versus 39 second-half points. For Eastern, it was tailback Breck Turner who ran it in from 3 yards out. Turner rushed 17 times for 107 yards on Saturday.
After a scoreless 2nd quarter, the Eagles took a two-score lead from quarterback Brogan Roback, who sparked the team’s offense again after coming in for a struggling Todd Porter. Roback completed two touchdowns passes in the 3rd quarter, one to Isaac Holder from 8 yards out and one to Nigel Kilby good for 7 yards. It was one of two catches for Holder for a total of 13 yards. Kilby hauled in five catches for 92 yards. EMU held a 21-10 lead heading into the 4th quarter.
After BGSU scored to make it 21-17, Eastern answered with Roback’s third touchdown pass, this one to Sergio Bailey II for 40 yards and push their lead back to two scores. The Falcons did score another touchdown with a successful two-point conversion late but EMU was able to run the clock out and hang out for a three-point victory.
Roback very well might have earned himself a start next week. He finished 9/13 for 91 yards and the three touchdown passes. Todd Porter was 11/16 for 107 yards and an interception. The Eagles as a team rushed for 216 yards, led by Turner. Ian Eriksen added 61 yards on the ground on 20 carries. Bailey, who reeled in the eventual game-winning touchdown pass, finished with four catches and 71 yards.
It was 1987 since Eastern made a bowl game. Now they are just two wins away from going bowling.