It’s Week No. 2 for college football, but two MAC teams will be starting their 2015 campaigns Saturday. One program planned it that way, while the other was forced into a Week Two opener.
UMass embarks on its final season as a MAC member when it travels to Colorado (0-1) for the Buffaloes home opener. Toledo, meanwhile, tried to start its season last week against Stony Brook and managed to get in just over two quarters of football. Severe weather (lightning) delays, however, eventually led to a permanent stoppage. That game will not be made up, so UT goes for its first win this week against Arkansas.
Eight MAC teams will be on the road, while five are home Saturday. The schedule includes several matchups with Power Five conference members.
Buffalo is at Penn State, Miami is at Wisconsin, UMass is at Colordo, Toledo is at Arkansas, Pittsburgh is at Akron, Ball State is at TexasA&M and Bowling Green is at Maryland.
Let’s take a sneak peek at matchups for the MAC West teams:
(CLICK READ MORE TO CONTINUE . . . )
Donald W. Reynolds Razorbacks Stadium, Fayetteville, AK.
Saturday, Sept. 12, 4 p.m. ET
It’s the first meeting these two teams. Arkansas opened last week with a 48-13 win over UTEP. Although severe weather eventually wiped out Toledo’s first game, the Rockets did get some live “game” action with over two quarters of play. After something of a slow start, UT seemed to get its offense cranking as the game progressed.
ARKANSAS -- The Razorbacks return 15 starters (9 offense/6 defense) and 49 letter-winners from last year’s 7-6 (2-6 SEC) squad. … QB Brandon Allen threw for 308 yards against UTEP, marking the first 300-yard passing game of his career. His 14 (of 18) completions included four touchdown passes. … Keon Hatcher topped all receivers with six catches for 106 yards with two TDs. Jared Cornelius picked up 75 yards on just two receptions and scored a touchdown. …UA took advantage of three UTEP turnover last week. … The Razorbacks outgained UTEP 490-204 and limited the Miners to 58 yards rushing.
TOLEDO -- The Rockets return 17 starters. While only five are on offense, that unit is both experienced and talented at the skilled positions. RB Kareem Hunt is one of the top ball carriers in the league, however he is currently serving a two-game suspension. Junior Damion Jones Moore scored two touchdowns, including a 37-yard jaunt against Stonybrook (although stats for the action to not count, since the game was declared no contest). Senior Phillip Ely should get the nod at quarterback, but he is backed up by experience in Logan Woodside. Alonzo Russell and Corey Jones are part of an experienced receiving group.
EASTERN MICHIGAN AT WYOMING
War Memorial Stadium, Laramie, WY
Saturday, Sept. 12, 4 p.m. ET
It’s the first meeting between the two programs. Both are coming off losses. EMU led much of the way against Old Dominion Saturday, but the Monarchs battled back and scored the winning touchdown with 1:57 remaining for a 38-34 victory.
Wyoming struggled in a 24-13 loss Saturday to North Dakota, which picked up its first win against an FBS team in eight years. The Bisons led 21-0 early in the fourth quarter.
WYOMING -- Quarterback Cameron Coffman, an Indiana transfer, hit Tanner Gentry on a 92-yard passing play to get UW on the board. He later added a another passing TD when he found Tyree Mayfield on a 12-yard strike with 5:44 to play. Coffman completed 19-of-37 for 270 yards with the two TDs and no interceptions. ….North Dakota outgained Wyoming 276-41 rushing the ball and held a 37:14 to 22:46 advantage in time of possession. … Wyoming did not help itself with eight penalties for 96 yards. The Cowboys registered 19 rushes for 31 yards. Brian Hill carried 10 times for 31 of those yards. Shaun Wick gained 21 of his 27 yards on one play. … Defensive Lineman Eddie Yarbrough was a preseason all-conference pick. … The defenseive front figures to be a strength of the team, while the linebacking and backfield levels entered 2015 with a number of questions. The Cowboys were picked for fifth out of six teams in the MWC Mountain Division, according to a preseason media poll. … The Cowboys re in their second year under head coach Craig Bohl and were picked for fifth in the Mountain West. Wyoming’s defense allowed 32.8 points and 430.8 yards per contest in 2014.
EASTERN MICHIGAN – The Eagles return 15 starters (offense/7 defense). … Quarterback Reginald Bell threw two touchdowns passes to Dustin Creel in the loss to Old Dominion. Darius Jackson led receivers with five catches for 67 yards. Darius Jackson topped rushers with 19 trips for 117 yards and the Eagles first two touchdowns. … Dylan Mulder hit two field goals (19, 52).
WESTERN MICHIGAN (0-1, 0-0 MAC) AT
GEORGIA SOUTHERN (0-1, 0-0 SUN BELT)
Allen E. Paulson Stadium
Saturday, Sept. 12, 6 p.m. ET
It’s the first meeting between the two teams. Both teams are coming off a loss in their openers. Western Michigan fell short in its upset big of Michigan State, falling, 37-24. Georgia Southern also had a tough task with a matchup against West Virginia never really got untracked in a 44-0 loss in Morgantown.
GEORGIA SOUTHERN: The Eagles brought an option offense into their first season as an FBS team in 2014. They went 9-3 last season, going 8-0 in Sun Belt Conference play. The Eagles also were able to hang tough in losses at North Carolina State (23-24) and Georgia Tech (38-42). The only one-sided setback was a 19-52 drubbing at Navy. … Head coach Willie Fritz is attempting to tweak the Eagles traditional option offense with some passing capabilities. However, quarterback Favian Upshaw was just 2-of-13 with four interceptions against WVA. Georgia Southern, which also fumbled twice and lost one, generated just 29 yards through the air and 195 yards on 57 rushes. Working behind a line that lost five seniors with graduation, Matt Breida turned 17 carries into 70 yards, while Upshaw gained 64 yards on 16 attempts. … West Virginia rolled up 544 total yards, including 359 yards passing. The Mountaineers shutout snapped a streak of 242 games in which the Eagles reached the scoreboard.
WESTERN MICHIGAN – The Broncos put up a stubborn fight against Western Michigan, which was a particularly tough matchup because of MSU’s run-stuffing prowess. Sophomore Jarvion Franklin, coming off a spectacular freshman campaign, managed just 23 yards on eight carries and WmU totaled 18 yards due to sacks. The passing game, however, was healthy as quarterback Zach Terrell launched 50 passes, completing 33 for 365 yards with two touchdowns. Special teams provided another big score when Darius Phillups returned a kickoff 100 yards to tie the game at 7-all. Defensively, WMU allowed 452 yards – 196 on the ground and 256 (2 TDs) through the air. David Braverman grabbed 13 receptions for 109 yards, while Corey Davis added 10 receptions for 154 yards.
MURRAY STATE (1-0, 0-0 OVC) AT NORTHERN ILLINOIS (1-0, 0-0 MAC)
Huskie Stadium, Dekalb Illinois
Saturday, Sept. 12, 3:30 p.m.
The Racers are an FCS team from the Ohio Valley Conference. New head coach Mitch Stewart’s team opened 2015 with a 52-12 mashing of Kentucky Wesleyan. Northern Illinois edged UNLV, 38-30, on the Huskie Turf. NIU leads the series with Murray State, 1-0.
MURRAY STATE -- Quarterback KD Humphries completed 25-of-34 for 385 yards and 385 yard with five touchdowns. … Jeremy Harness led the Racers’ receivers with seven receptions for 156 yards and three TDs. … Roman Clay (17 carries, 96 yards) and Nick Taylor (14 carries, 72 yards, 1 TD) paced the ground game, which totaled 191 yards. … Zach Dean led the Murray State “D” with nine tackles, (4.5 TFL, 2.0 sacks).
NORTHERN ILLINOIS – The Huskies surrendered 493 total yards, including 329 through the air. NIU quarterback Drew Hare completed 21-of-26 for 360 yards. Joel Bouagnon logged 21 carries for 152 yards as the Huskies totaled 545 yards. Linebacker Boomer Mays had 13 tackles , while LB Jamaal Paytol recorded five tackles, 2.0 TFl and one sack). DB Shawun Lurry recorded one interception as NIU won its third straight season opener.
MONMOUTH (0-1, 0-0 BIG SOUTH) AT CENTRAL MICHIGAN (0-1, 0-0 MAC)
Kelly/Shorts Stadium, Mt. Pleasant, MI
Saturday, Sept. 12, 3 p.m. ET
The FCS Hawks have not only never played Central Michigan, they have never played a Mid-American Conference team. It’s Monmouth’s second year in the Big South. After a 5-1 start last year, the Hawks struggled in conference play. Central Michigan, meanwhile, is trying to bounce back after dropping a 24-13 decision to Oklahoma State at home.
MONMOUTH – Turnovers proved costly, indeed, for the Hawks last week in a 27-19 season-opening loss to Holy Cross. Monmouth outgained HC, 422-301, but the Hawks threw two interceptions and lost two fumbles. … Freshman Cody Williams got the start for Monmouth, which lost standouts Brandon Hill (QB) and Neil Sterling (WR) after a 6-5 (1-4 Big South) 2014 campaign. Lavon Chaney did return this year, however, and came up just one yard short of the century mark (20 carries, 99 yards) last week. Monmouth picked up 164 yards rushing and added 258 through the air. … The Hawks defense improved over the final two quarters, limiting Holy Cross to 84 second half yards after surrendering 241 before intermission. … Safety Mike Basile, who earned conference Rookie of the Year honors in 2014, started the new season with another impressive performance, recording a team-high 10 tackles (9 solo). … Senior DE Jack Eisenstadt left Saturday’s game in the first quarter with an injury. Monmouth will start two freshmen up front this week. …The Hawks were picked for sixth place among seven teams in a Big South preseason coaches poll.
CENTRAL MICHIGAN – The Chippewas stayed right with visiting Oklahoma State in last Saturday’s 24-13 loss. The two teams were tied (3-3) after one quarter, and CMU never trailed by more than four points until OSU tallied the only score of the final stanza with a touchdown at 9:20. Oklahoma State had one more first down on the evening (19-18). … Rushing turned out to be one of the big differences. While OSU had one more yard passing (266-265), the Cowboys outgained Central 153-78 on the ground. Quarterback Cooper Rush, in fact, led CMU with 51 net yards on eight carries. He scored the only Chippewa touchdown with a 16-yard run in the third period …OSU also had four sacks (20 yards), compared to two sacks (5 yards) by the Chippewas. … Rush was 28-of-41 for 225 yards with one interception. … Mark Chapman led CMU receivers with six catches for 72 yards Ben McCord and Anthony Rice combined for eight receptions and 105 yards. … Kavon Frazier registered 12 tackles (11solo) to lead the defense.
BALL STATE (1-0, 0-0 MAC) at NO. 16/19 TEXAS A&M
Kyle Field, College Station, TX
Saturday, Sept. 12, 7 p.m. ET
It’s the Cardinals second trip to the state of Texas in three years, but this time they get the A&M Aggies (instead of North Texas). It’s the first meeting between the two. If anything, the Aggies stock is on the rise. They are coming off an impressive 38-17 win over highly regarded (and then No. 15) Arizona State.
Ball State owns three wins over Power 5 conference schools under head coach Pete Lembo. Last year, the Cardinals nearly knocked off Iowa on the road before falling in the final minute, 17-13.
TEXAS A&M – The Aggies were impressive at times on both sides of the ball last week. Defensively, they forced nine turnovers, and registered nine sacks (14 TFL). … Daeshon Green had a huge day with four sacks and two forced fumbles, while Myles Garrett got two sacks of his own and one forced fumble. … A&M used two quarterbacks, including freshman Kyler Murray, who replaced starter Kyle Allen. The latter completed 15-of-26 for 198 yards and one interception. Murray was 4-of-9 for 49 yards and a pick. … Tra Carson carried 29 times for 96 yards, while Murray added 69 yards on six carries. … Christian Kirk led Aggie receivers with six catches for 106 yards. …Punter Drew Kaser took a hard hit Saturday and was helped off the field. … A&M totaled 178 on the ground and 247 through the air, outgaining Arizona State 425-291.
BALL STATE – With the graduation of Jahwan Edwards, some might have wondered how long it would take to find a productive successor. Time will tell, but sophomore Darian Green (5-8, 176) certainly put together a pretty good opener as he tied a school record with four touchdowns in a 48-36 Cardinals win over VMI last week. Green totaled 267 all-purpose yards (73 yards rushing, 74 receiving and 120 on kick returns). His total was the second most by any Division I player on the opening weekend. … The Cardinals have scored at least 40 points in three consecutive games dating bck to last year. … BSU led the MAC by surrendering the least amount of sacks last year. With the line essentially intact in 2015, it is perhaps a little reassuring given A&M’s big sack performance against Arizona State. … Sophomore quarterback Jack Milas made his seventh career start in the opener. he posted career highs in completions (34), attempts (52) and passing yards (338). … Jordan Williams led BSU with eight receptions for 99 yards. … Ball State totaled 567 yards of offense in the opener. … The Cardinals recovered two fumbles against VMI and turned them into 14 points. BSU has forced at least two turnovers in seven of its last eight games. … Senior Darnell Smith, a 2014 Third Team All MAC selection is likely to miss his second consecutive game. Sophomore Kevin Willis filled in last week. … Of the 11 players listed on the defensive backfield chart in the opener, six did not play for the Cardinals in 2014.