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# Kent State at No. 1 Georgia, Noon (ESPN+)
# Central Michigan at Penn State, Noon (Big Ten)
# Bowling Green at Mississippi State, Noon (SEC)
# * Buffalo at Eastern Michigan, Noon CBSSN
# Fordham at Ohio, 2 p.m. (ESPN+)
# Toledo at San Diego State, 3:30 p.m. (Fox Sports)
# Akron at Liberty, 6 p.m. (ESPN+)
# Ball State at Georgia Southern, 6 p.m. (ESPN+)
# Northern Illinois at No. 8 Kentucky, 7 p.m. (ESPN2)
# Western Michigan at San Jose State, 10:30 pm ET (CBS Sports)
# Miami at Northwestern, 7:30 p.m. (Big Ten)
After blasting the Long Island Sharks 63-10 last week, Kent State will likely find the going a little tougher this week when it faces the nation's top-ranked team.
Not only are the Georgia Bulldogs No. 1 in both the AP and Coaches polls, they are No. 1 nationally in defense. Through three games, UG has allowed a total of 10 points. That's 3.3 ppg, which is just about what the Flashes put on the board against No. 7 Oklahoma Sept. 10. Kent State did score 20 in a (45-20) loss at Washington in Week One.
GEORGIA BULLDOGS (3-0)
➤ After winning the national championship last year, the Bulldogs are off to a dominating start in 2021. They mashed No. 11 Oregon 49-3 to open the campaign and blanked Samford 33-0 the following week. Playing its first road game last Saturday, Georgia routed South Carolina 48-7.
➤ The Bulldogs outgained USC 548-306 overall and limited the Gamecocks to 92 yards rushing. Georgia also forced three South Carolina turnovers.
➤ Senior QB Stetson Bennett completed 16 of 23 passes totaling 284 yards with two TDs. Overall, UG had 339 passing yards with three TDs and no interceptions.
➤ Brock Bowers led Bulldog receivers with five catches, 121 yards and two scores.
➤Georgia rushed for 208 yards and three TDs.
➤ UGA is ranked third nationally in passing yards (376.7 ypg) and 79th in rushing (155.7 ypg)
KENT STATE GOLDEN FLASHES (1-2)
➤ The Flashes continue to use their ground game and lead the Mid-American Conference in rushing (221.3 ypg. Meanwhile, they are 11th in passing (175.7 ypg).
➤ Marquez Cooper is seventh among MAC running backs with 180 yards (3.5 ypc). He has scored three touchdowns. Quarterback Collins Schlee is one spot behind, totaling 177 rushing yards on 24 carries (7.4 ypc).
➤ Schlee has completed 60 percent of his passes (33 of 55), totaling 508 yards with three TDs and two interceptions. He went 10 of 12 for 199 yards and two TDs last week against LIU.
➤ Safety Nico Bolden is tied for third among MAC defenders with 27 stops. Linebacker Khalib Johns has a MAC-best 4.0 sacks.
After getting back in the win column last week against Bucknell, Central Michigan takes on its second Top-25 team of the non-conference schedule when it meets Penn State Saturday at Beaver Stadium in University Park, PA.
Currently ranked No. 14, the Nittany Lions are undefeated in 2021. Thus far they have defeated Purdue (35-31), Ohio (46-10) and Auburn (41-12).
Central Michigan is returning to the road for the first time since its Week One loss (58-44) at No. 12 Oklahoma State. It’s the last outing before CMU starts MAC play at Toledo Oct. 1.
NO. 14 PENN STATE NITTANY LIONS (3-0)
➤ PSU’s only deficit at Auburn was 3-0 midway through the first quarter. The Nittany Lions were up 14-0 at intermission and began to pull away with 17 unanswered third quarter points. Auburn scored its only touchdown early in the fourth period, but Nicholas Singleton’s 54-yard TD run and Jake Pinegar’s 22-yard field goal again extended Penn State’s advantage.
➤ The Nittany Lions created four Tiger turnovers, while PSU played turnover-free football.
➤ The PSU defense recorded six sacks and 11 TFL. JiAyir Brown and Zakee Wheatley each picked off an Auburn pass.
➤ Sean Clifford completed 14 of 19 passes, good for 178 yards. Overall, PSU registered 232 passing yards. On the year, Clifford has completed 63.9 percent of his passes, with five TDs and one pick.
➤ Brenton Strange and Parker Washington combined for 10 catches and 138 yards against Auburn..
➤All five Penn State touchdowns came on the ground. Nicholas Singleton (10 carries, 124 yards) and Kaytron Allen (9 carries, 52 yards) scored two touchdowns apiece.
CENTRAL MICHIGAN CHIPPEWAS (1-2)
➤ CMU was dominant last week while picking up its first win of the season. The Chippewas outgained Bucknell 529-174. The Bison managed just 21 yards rushing, averaging less than 1.0 yards per carry. Bison quarterbacks completed 117 of 36 attempts, totaling 153 yards with one interception.
➤ QB Daniel Richardson completed 15 of 32 passes, good for 198 yards and two TDs with one pick. Freshman Jase Bauer completed his only pass attempt, with the play covering 44 yards.
➤ Jalen McGaughy led CMU with four catches totaling 69 yards.
➤ Sophomoe Lew Nichols III had his biggest game of the season, carrying 30 times for a total of 166 yards and two scores.
➤ Caleb Spann recorded one interception, returning it 18 yards. Sam Hicks returned his one kickoff opportunity 41 yards.
The Falcons were flying high last week, bouncing back from a gut-wrenching seven-overtime loss the previous week to upset Marshall at the BGSU homecoming. It’s back on the road this week as the Falcons battle Mississippi State in Starksville.
Bowling Green and Mississippi State are meeting for the second time in series history. MSU won the only other meeting, 21-20, in 2013 at Davis Wade Stadium. BGSU shut Mississippi State out in the second half but managed only seven points to fall by one.
MISSISSIPPI STATE BULLDOGS (2-1)
➤ The Bulldogs opened 2021 with wins over Memphis (49-23) and Arizona (39-17) before falling at LSU last Saturday, 31-16. MSU led13-0 after one period and 13-7 at halftime. The two teams traded third quarter field goals. However, LSU rallied for three straight touchdowns down the stretch.
➤ Mississippi State is one of six teams in the nation with two wins vs. opponents with a winning record. The other five teams are NC State, Wake Forest, Illinois, Indiana and Wyoming.
➤ Junior QB Will Rodgers has completed 72.1 percent of his passes, producing 977 yards with 10 TDs and three interceptions. He leads the nation in completions per game (33.7), is fourth in passing touchdowns (10) and sixth in passing yards per game (325.7).
➤ State has picked up 25.3 first downs per game, which is third in the SEC. Of the Bulldogs' 76 first downs this year, 48 have come through the air.
➤ There are just 21 players nationally in the FBS with active streaks of 20 or more games with a catch and only three in the SEC. RB Jo’quavious Marks has the second-longest active streak in the SEC at 27 games, and WR Jaden Walley has catches in 25 straight contests.
➤ The Bulldogs rank eighth nationally and lead the SEC in time of possession, averaging 35:08.67 on offense through three games. Since Mike Leach arrived in 2020, Mississippi State ranks sixth nationally in time of possession, averaging 33:06 per game.
➤ Since 2020, MSU has allowed fewer than 150 rushing yards in 17 games, which trails only Alabama (29) and Georgia (27) in the SEC during that span. MSU is holding its opponents to just 121.6 rushing yards per game, which ranks third in the SEC during that span.
➤ Mississippi State boasts some of the best special teams return units in the nation. State's kickoff return unit is ninth in the nation, averaging 32.8 yards per return.
➤ Six different Bulldogs have caught a touchdown this season, which is tied for eighth in the FBS. Only North Texas (8), Oklahoma State (8), Appalachian State (7), North Carolina (7), NC State (7), SMU (7) and UCLA (7) have had more receivers score.
BOWLING GREEN FALCONS (1-2)
➤ QB Matt McDonald is No. 1 in the MAC and tied for No. 4 in the nation with 10 passing touchdowns. His 72.0 points responsible for ranks No. 1 in the MAC and No. 3 in the nation. Three of his passing touchdowns have come in overtime.
➤ RB Ta’ron Keith is No. 3 in the nation among running backs with 14 receptions. He trails Mississippi State’s Dillon Johnson (17) and Georgia’s Kenny McIntosh (15). Keith also has two receiving touchdowns, both coming in each of the last two overtime games. TE Christian Sims is No. 5 in the nation among tight ends with 13 receptions.
➤ Bowling Green is tied for No. 6 in the nation with 12 team sacks. The 12 sacks lead the Mid-American Conference.
➤ Bowling Green has 10 takeaways (six INTs, four fumble recoveries) over its last four games. During that span BGSU has committed only two turnovers.
➤ Bowling Green is 4-9 all-time against current members of the SEC. • The Falcons are 3-2 against Missouri, 1-2 against Kentucky, 0-2 against Tennessee, 0-1 against Mississippi State, 0-1 against Florida and 0-1 against Alabama.
➤ Three Marshall turnovers were a big part of last week’s BGSU win. The Thundering Herd outgained Bowling Green 547-377, but the Falcons did not commit a turnover.
➤The Falcons totaled 77 yards of rushing against Marshall.
➤ Four of five BGSU touchdowns last week were through the air as McDonald completed 27 of 45 attempts, good for 282 yards. He was not intercepted.
➤ For handing Arizona State its first home non-conference loss since 2017 and becoming the first Mid-American Conference team to beat a Pac-12 Conference team in the regular season, the Eagles earned the Cheez-It Bowl National Team of the Week honor for games of the weekend of Sept. 17, as selected by the Football Writers Association of America.
➤ Eastern Michigan entered its game against Arizona State as a 20.5-point underdog. According to Action Network Colleges, the Eagle victory is the secondbiggest upset over the Sun Devils, by pregame point spread, in the last 20 years. UNLV was a 25-point underdog when it defeated ASU in 2008.
➤ A win would give Eastern Michigan its first win over Buffalo since the 2014 season, when it defeated the Bulls, 37-27, inside Rynearson Stadium, Oct. 10. The two squads have met just twice since, with UB emerging victorious in both 2018 (35-28, Sept. 15), and 2019 (43-14, Nov. 2), respectively.
➤ Fifth-year Arizona State football Head Coach Herm Edwards was fired after last weekend's loss, which dropped the Sun Devils to 1-2.
➤ Through its first two games, the EMU defense had allowed an average of 475.5 yards per contest to its opponents. The Green and White was much improved against Arizona State, Sept. 17, where it kept the Sun Devils to just 352 total yards of offense. That number is a 36 percent decrease over its season average.
➤ The Eagles finished the first half of its game at Arizona State with 307 total yards of offense, the most for the team in any game this season. Additionally, EMU’s 154 rushing yards in the first half were more than any full-game total for the team this season.
➤ Eastern Michigan went for 307 yards on the ground against the Sun Devils, just the second game under Head Coach Chris Creighton the team has hit that number and the most since it put up 337 rushing yards against Buffalo, Oct. 11, 2014.
➤ : Senior running back Samson Evans put together a career night in EMU’s win over ASU. The Crystal Lake, Ill. native carried the ball 36 times for 258 yards on the ground with one touchdown, an average of 7.2 yards per carry on the night. Evans also pulled in one pass for seven yards and returned one kickoff for 21 yards to finish the game with 286 all-purpose yards.
➤ Sophomore kicker Jesus Gomez split the uprights on a 27-yard field goal attempt at 11:04 in the first quarter. It was the first field goal make of his career. Moreover, it was the first three-point attempt for Eastern Michigan this season. Prior to Saturday’s game, EMU had not made a field goal since Dec. 18, 2021, against Liberty University. Gomez finished the contest a perfect 3-of-3 on field goal attempts, while also hitting each of his three extra-point attempts.
➤ EMU’s offense was one of the best in the Mid-American Conference on third down a season ago. As an offense, Eastern converted 42.4 percent (67-of-158) of its third down tries. That number ranked 45th in the nation in the regular season. The EMU scoring unit is off to a good start in 2022. An 11-for-15 day, good for a 73 percent rate of conversion against Arizona State, puts EMU at 22-for-39 (56.4%) this season. That number ranks first in the MAC and is tied with the University of North Carolina for seventh in the nation.
After back-to-back losses to Power Five opponents over the last two weeks, Ohio will attempt to even its non-conference record Saturday when it hosts undefeated Fordham.
The Rams, who are an FCS school and play in the Patriot League have used a strong passing offense to post victories over Wagner. Monmouth and Albany. The latter two were both by three-point margins.
FORDHAM RAMS (3-0)
➤ This will be the first meeting between Fordham and Ohio on the gridiron. The Rams are 2-3 all-time against teams currently in the MAC (Buffalo (1-2) , Akron (1-0), Ball State (0-1)).
➤ Fordham, ranked 18th in the latest NCAA FCS Coaches Poll, enters the game with a 3-0 record after a 48-45 win over UAlbany on Jack Coffey Field last Saturday,
➤ Albany led 38-27 over Fordham after three quarters last week. However, the Rams outscored UA 21-7 in the final stanza.
➤ Trey Sneed’s 7-yard run at 4:40 was the winning score, capping a game in which the two teams combined for 1,130 yards of offense. The Rams produced 603 yards, while the Great Danes registered 527 yards.
➤ Fordham averaged 4.3 yards per carry, rushing 32 ties for 139 yards and one TD.
➤ Senior QB Tim Demorat completed 33 of 53 passes, totaling 464 yards with five TDs.
For the third straight week, DeMorat was named GEICO Patriot League Offensive Player of the Week when the league office announced honors on Monday.
➤ On the year, DeMorat has completed 85 of 129 passes for 1,302 yards and 16 touchdowns. He leads the NCAA FCS in passing touchdowns and passing yards/ game.
➤ Senior wideout Garrett Cody scored two of the touchdowns on just four catches (totaling 123 yards). Fotis Kokosioulis, meanwhile, had a game high nine catches for 81 yards. He also averaged 23.8 yards per kick return.
➤ Punter Will Haslett averaged 49.3 yards (with a long of 58) on four punts. Brandon Peskin was good on both field goal attempts (long of 38) and all four PATs.
➤ Sophomore linebacker James Conway who was named the GEICO Patriot League Defensive Player of the Week. Conway led the Fordham defense with 15 total tackles on Saturday, seven solo, including one for loss and he had a pass breakup. On the year, Conway is tied for the team lead with 23 total tackles, ten solo, including 2.0 for loss and one sack.
➤ The 2022 Fordham football roster is full of seniors and grad students, 35 to be exact. • Among the 35 are five who are fifth-year seniors, taking advantage of the NCAA rule allowing student-athletes an extra year due to COVID.
OHIO BOBCATS (1-2)
➤ After scoring 41 pints in a season-opening win over Florida Atlantic, the Bobcats were limited to 10 points in each of losses to Penn State and Iowa State.
➤ The ‘Cats were outgained 463-233 in last week’s 43-10 loss at Iowa State. The Cyclones also enjoyed a 4-1 turnover advantage.
➤ Quarterback Kurtis Roark connected on 20 of 33 pass attempts, good for 194 yards with one TD and two interceptions against ISU.
➤ Miles Cross and Nolan McCormick combined for 11 receptions and 73 yards last week.
➤ Ohio is averaging 20.3 ppg and 2.9 yards per carry when rushing the ball.
➤ James Bostic, Tyler Walton and Sam Wiglusz have combined for 31 receptions, 377 yards and three TDs.
➤ Kicker Nathanial Vakos has not missed a boot this season. He has hit all seven PATs and is four-of-four on field goal attempts, with a long of 45 yards.
The Rockets two-game winning streak came to a screeching halt last Saturday as No. 3 Ohio State rolled to a 77-21 win over UT. If Toledo can regroup, however, it could finish non-conference play at 3-1 with a road win Saturday at San Diego State. Although SDSU owns a 1-2 record, the Aztecs are slight favorites on their home turf.
The Aztecs and Rockets have been two of the better teams in the FBS over the last seven-plus seasons. SDSU is 66-26 (.717) since 2015 with six bowl appearances, the 12th-best record over that span (min. 70 games as FBS program) (No. 3 Group of 5 record). Toledo, meanwhile, is 56-30 (.651) since 2015 with five bowl trips, the 22nd-best mark over that span (No. 6 Group of 5 record).
SAN DIEGO STATE AZTECS (1-2)
➤ The Aztecs are coming off a 35-7 loss at No. 14 Utah. SDSU lost quarterback Braxton Burmeister to an eye injury in the first quarter and struggled on offense into the second half. San Diego State’s only touchdown came with 3:56 left in the fourth quarter when true freshman Kyle Crum hit Josh Nicholson on an 18-yard TD pass. Crum was behind center for SDSU’s final 44 snaps.
➤ Burmeister is listed at the starter on this week’s two-deep. On the year, he has completed 52.5 percent of his passes, producing 165 yards and two TDs with one interception. Last year at Virginia Tech, he completed 55.7 percent of his attempts, registering 1,960 yards, 14 TDs and four interceptions. He started his college career at Oregon.
➤ San Diego State held the Utes scoreless over their first four possessions following a 73-7 Utah win over Southern Utah the previous week, but the Utes scored a touchdown on its next five possessions, including two off Aztec turnovers.
➤ SDSU has played its last 19 games without having a two-game losing streak. San Diego State’s last two-game losing streak came in the COVID-shortened 2020 season when it lost at Nevada, 26-21, on Nov. 21 and to Colorado, 20-10, on Nov. 28 on a five days notice.
➤ SDSU fell at home to Arizona in Week one (38-20) and rebounded to rout Idaho State (38-7) the following week.
➤ Despite losing punter/kicker/kickoff specialist Matt Araiza to the NFL Draft, Aztec special teams coordinator Doug Deakin is still loaded in the special teams space. Two-time all-Mountain West kick returner (2021 first team, 2020 second team) Jordan Byrd returns for a fifth year. Byrd ranks second in program history in kick return average (25.4), fourth in kick return touchdowns (2), kick return yards (1,449), fifth in kick returns (57) and sixth in punt returns (49). Byrd also ranks fourth among active FBS players in kick return average (25.2, min. 50 KR).
➤ The Aztecs average 5.6 ypc when rushing the football. They have 119 rushes and 63 passing attempts for the year.
TOLEDO ROCKETS (2-1)
➤ The Rockets opened 2021 with wins over Long Island University and UMass. UT outscored those opponents by a total of 92-10. The Rockets are averaging 37.7 ppg on offense, while allowing 29.0 ppg defensively. Both are tops among MAC teams.
➤ Toledo (197.4 ypg) ranks second behind Kent State in rushing offense. The Rockets are sixth in passing offense (190.3 ypg). Dequan Finn’s average of 8.0 ypc is tops among MAC runners with at least nine carries. He is fifth in total offense (249.7 ypg).
➤ Toledo scored one touchdown in each of the first three quarters at Ohio State. Finn’s 50-yard pass to Thomas Zsiros in the first period tied the game at 7-7. Finn tallied on a 23-yard scamper early in the second quarter and tossed a 40-yard score to Jerjuan Newton in the third period.
➤ Finn has completed 58.9 percent of his passes this year. He has tossed five TDs and two interceptions. His top two targets have been Newton and DeMeer Blankumsee. That due has combined for 26 catches, 325 yards and a pair of scores.
➤ This will be the first ever meeting between Toledo and San Diego State, though Rocket fans will certainly be familiar with Aztec head coach Brady Hoke. Hoke was an assistant coach at Toledo from 1987-89 and faced the Rockets six times as the head coach at Ball State from 2003-08, achieving a 4-2 record in those games.
➤ Kicker Thomas Cluckey is still perfect on the season, hitting all 14 PATs and five field goals. His long for this year is 43 yards, although he nailed one from 50 yards in 2021.
The Liberty Flames may be without star QB Malik Willis this year, but they are nonetheless enjoying early success. Were it not for a one-point loss to No. 19 Wake Forest last Saturday, LU would have equaled its 3-0 2021 start. Still, if the Flames can beat Akron this week, they’ll finish non-conference play at 3-1.
Akron, meanwhile, could conclude its non-conference slate at 2-2 with a victory over Liberty. The Zips opened 2021 with a thrilling 30-23 overtime win over St. Francis (PA), but fell to No. 14 Michigan State (52-0) and No. 15 Tennessee (63-6) over the next two weekends.
LIBERTY FLAMES (2-1)
➤ Last year’s Liberty team featured quarterback Malik Willis, who is now with the NFL’s Tennessee Titans. He passed for 2,857 yards and ran for 878 more while leading the Flames to an 8-5 season. That included a 58-20 Lendingtree Bowl win over Eastern Michigan.
➤ Freshman Kaidon Salter has stepped in at quarterback and again gives LU a pass run-pass threat. He has completed 55.6 percent of his passes, good for 606 yards with four TDs and three interceptions. He also leads the team rushing with 38 carries for 216 yards -- one yard more than RB Dae Dae Hunter. Both have 38 carries and two TDs.
➤ Salter has made his first two career starts the last two weeks. He was impressive during the Flames' second-half comeback attempt at Wake Forest, running for a 43-yard TD and throwing two TD passes on fourth down.
➤ Although Salter is listed atop the Liberty two-deep, he is reportedly dealing with an ankle injury. Johnathan Bennett or Nate Hampton - both redshirt juniors -- would be next in line. Bennett had three pass attempts last week, but he did not complete a pass and had one interception.
➤ Hunter averaged 5.2 ypc, gaining 89 yards with one TD last week against Wake Forest.
➤Demario Douglas led LU receivers against the Demon Deacons, catching seven balls for 124 yards and two touchdowns. He is tied for No. 9 nationally this season with four TD receptions. Douglas leads the team in receptions (15) and receiving yards (272).
➤ linebacker Mike Smith Jr. led Liberty defenders with 10 tackles (2.5 TFL), while Quinton Reese and Robert Rahimi recorded interceptions.
➤ Liberty’s defense held Wake Forest to 21 yards rushing on 26 carries.
➤ The Flames' defense picked off a pair of passes at Wake Forest, giving Liberty 11 takeaways this season. That matches Liberty's season total from 2021 and ties the Flames with Nevada and Western Kentucky for No. 1 nationally in 2022.
AKRON ZIPS (1-2)
➤ Noah Perez accounted for the Zips only points in last week’s loss to Tennessee. He booted second half field goals of 35 and 41 yards.
➤ Bubba Arslanian led UA defenders with 12 tackles (10 solo) at Tennessee. He is fourth among MAC defenders with 27 stops.
➤ Victor Jones has recorded four TFL on the year (tied for second MAC).
➤ The Zips are last among MAC teams in both scoring offense (12.0 ppg) and scoring defense (46.0 ppg).
➤ Akron QB D.J. Iron has completed 67 percent of his passes, totaling 650 yards with two TDs. He has been sacked 10 times.
➤ Cam Riley leads UA rushing with 38 carries for 118 yards (3.1 ypc) with two TDs. Irons is next with 28 carries for 48 yards (1.7 ypc).
➤ Senior Shocky Jacques-Louis tops the Zips with 20 catches for 256 yards and one score.
The Ball State Cardinals will try to finish their non-conference schedule on a winning Saturday when they visit Georgia Southern. After starting 2-0, including a victory over Nebraska (45-42), the Eagles fell at UAB (35-21) last Saturday. Meanwhile, Ball State picked up its first victory last week, shutting out Murray State 31-0.
The BSU vs GSU matchup is set to feature two of the top performing offensive lines thus far into the season. Ball State has only allowed one sack through 230 offensive snaps this season and is one of 10 teams in the country to allow one or fewer sack this season, including Georgia Southern (0). In addition, the Cardinals and Eagles have both allowed just six negative plays all season, which is only topped by Georgia and TCU nationally
GEORGIA SOUTHERN EAGLES (2-1)
➤ Georgia Southern and Ball State have never met in football. • Georgia Southern has played four games previously against current members of the Mid-American Conference, posting a 3-1 record. The Eagles’ last game against a MAC team came in the 2018 Camellia Bowl when now Buffalo Bills kicker Tyler Bass hit a 40-yard field goal as time expired to beat Eastern Michigan, 23-21. Georgia Southern is 1-0 against EMU, 1-0 against Bowling Green (2015 GoDaddy Bowl) and 1-1 against Western Michigan.
➤ The Eagles hurt their own cause with three turnovers at Alabama-Birmingham, which played turnover-free football.
➤ UAB rolled out to a 21-0 lead before Georgia-Southern got on the board with a 6-yard pass from former Buffalo Bulls quarterback Kyle Vantrease to Derwin Burgess Jr. at 5:13 of the second period. Jalen White’s 71-yard gallop for the third quarter’s only scored closed to gap to 21-14 and the team’s traded TDs before UAB tallied a final tD with 4:46 to play.
➤ Vantrease completed 24 of 50 passes against the Blazers, good for 204 yards with one TD. However, he was intercepted three times. On the season, Vantrease has six TDs and six interceptions.
➤ This will be quarterback Kyle Vantrease’s second game as a quarterback against Ball State. In the 2020 MAC Championship Game, he threw for 365 yards and a touchdown and ran for a score.
➤ The Eagles are averaging 6.1 yards per carry overall. White and Gerald Green lead the way, combining for 72 carries, 458 yards and nine TDs. White is fifth in the country in points per game, averaging 12.0 after scoring two touchdowns in all three games.
➤ Khaleb Hood and Burgess lead the receiving corps, combining for 39 catches, 408 yards and three TDs.
➤ Adversity is a word linebacker Todd Bradley-Glenn doesn’t want to hear after what he went through in 2015, 2016, 2018 and in 2021. The super senior has overcome cancer, three knee surgeries and a torn biceps injury to return to the field for a seventh season.
BALL STATE (1-2)
➤ Ball State has matched up with current members of the Sun Belt Conference 10 times in program history and are 4-6 in those games, which includes wins over Appalachian State, Georgia State and James Madison.
➤ Ball State is coming off a 31-0 shutout vs. Murray State. The Cardinals recorded a shutout for the first time since defeating Toledo (31-0) on Oct. 4, 2008. It was the 21st shutout with Ball State winning by at least 31 in program history with the previous shutout victory by at least 31 coming against Kent State (34-0) on Nov. 19, 1994.
➤ Ball State’s defense limited Murray State to just 155 total yards on 53 plays, forced three turnovers and held the Racers to just 3-of-14 on third down. Of Murray State’s 53 plays, only nine came in Ball State’s side of the field with four coming on one drive in the second quarter and four more off a Cardinal turnover.
➤ Ball State broke out in a big way on offense in its first home game of the season vs. Western Michigan. The Cardinals put up a season-high 447 yards of total offense. It was the highest yardage total in 17 games, in which the Cardinals had 519 yards at Central Michigan on Dec. 5, 2020.
That number was bested just seven days later when Ball State put up a season-high 476 yards of offense against Murray State. Ball State’s total offense of 422.0 yards per game ranks second in the MAC only to Central Michigan (476.3).
➤ The Cardinals are seventh among MAC teams in scoring (23.7 ppg) but second in total offense (422.0 ypg). They are also second in passing offense (265.7 ypg) and eighth in passing offense efficiency.
➤ RB Carson Steele is second among MAC running backs with an average of 101.7 ypg. Steele, who is 6-foot-0 and 225 lbs, has 7.0 percent body fat, can back squat 615 lbs, bench press 405 lbs and power clean 305 lbs. In addition, he owns a pet alligator back in his hometown of Greenwood, Ind.
➤ John Paddock is the only quarterback on the roster to have seen game action entering this season. The Cardinals’ quarterback room had a combined 34 passes (all Paddock), which is the second-fewest in college football.
➤ In his first career start at Tennessee, Paddock went 27-for-43 for 269 yards and a touchdown. He hit nine different targets, including all three starting wideouts hauling in five receptions. In his second career start, and first start at home, Paddock raised the bar even higher. He went 24-of-41 for a career-best 301 yards and two touchdowns. Through three games as the signal caller, Paddock has thrown for 797 yards and six touchdowns while completing over 60 percent of his passes. Paddock’s yardage total is the secondhighest in the MAC heading into the fourth week of action, trailing only Central Michigan’s Daniel Richardson (889).
➤ The Cardinals are plus-14 in turnover ratio over the last 12 games (23 gained, nine lost).
After starting the season with a win, the Northern Illinois Huskies have dropped two straight. This week’s non-conference finale will be another big challenge as NIU travels to No. 8 Kentucky. The Wildcats are undefeated and want to stay that way before entering the always-tough SEC schedule that follows.
KENTUCKY WILDCATS (3-0)
➤ This will be UK’s second MAC opponent of 2022. The Wildcats beat Miami (OH) 37-13 in Week one. They followed that with victories over No. 12 Florida (26-16) and Youngstown State (31-0).
➤ UK outgained YSU 480-192 last week. Despite committing three turnovers, Kentucky registered 26 first downs to just nine by the Penguins.
➤ Kentucky scored three second quarter TDs and added another in the third period before tacking on a fourth quarter field goal to close the scoring.
➤ The home triumph helped UK reach its 18th straight nonconference win, the longest such active streak in FBS, which dates back to the 2017 Music City Bowl loss to Northwestern.
➤ After the Kentucky-Youngstown game, quarterback Will Levis improved to third in the conference in completions per game (20.33), passing touchdowns (6), passing yards (882) and passing yards per game (294.0). After transferring from Penn State in 2021, quarterback Will Levis earned the starting spot early in fall camp and started all 13 games.
➤ Freshman wide receiver Dane Key had season highs with six catches for 90 yards, including a three-yard touchdown reception in the second quarter. Senior running back Kavoisey Smoke rushed for 66 yards on a career-high 18 carries, recording one touchdown.
➤ The Wildcats defense has limited its last seven opponents to 21 or fewer points, the longest stretch since an eight-game streak of 21 or less points to begin the 2018 season
➤ Kentucky finished 5-3 in the SEC for second place in the SEC Eastern Division in 2021. It marked the first time since the league split into divisions in 1992 that UK ended the season in sole possession of second place of the East. UK has finished in a tie for second in the division on two other occasions, 2016 and 2018. All three second-place East finishes have been in the last six seasons under Mark Stoops.
➤ Freshman receiver Barion Brown made a stunning debut against Miami (Ohio), taking the opening kick of the second half back 100 yards for a touchdown in the season opener. Brown took the kick, sliced to his left, found open space and then outran everyone down the visiting sideline. It was the first Kentucky kickoff return for a score since Derrick Locke went to the house vs. Louisville (100 yards) in September 2009.
NORTHERN ILLINOIS (1-2)
➤ NIU is looking for its seventh win over an Associated Press ranked team all-time, and its first over a non-conference opponent since defeating No. 21 Alabama, 19-16, in Tuscaloosa in 2003. At No. 8/9 in the latest polls, Kentucky is the highest ranked team NIU has faced since Sept. 19, 2015 when the Huskies lost at No. 1 Ohio State, 20-13.
➤ After opening the campaign with a 34-27 win against Eastern Illinois, the Huskies lost to Tulsa (38-35) and Vanderbilt (38-28).
➤ NIU led Vandy 28-14 in the third quarter, but A.J. Swann tossed three third period TDs and the Commodores added a field goal in the final stanza for the victory.
➤ Huskies QB Rocky Lombardi was injured in the second quarter. Ethan Hampton took over, completing 12 of 19 attempts, good for 124 yards and two TDs with one interception.
➤ Lombardi and Hampton combined to complete 14 straight passes (seven each) to start the Vanderbilt game, one off the NIU record for consecutive completions.
➤ Northern Illinois totaled 203 yards through the air and 151 on the ground.
➤ Antario Brown and Harrison Waylee led the ground attack, combining for 25 carries, 112 yards and a touchdown. Cole tucker caught four passes, totaling 88 yards and two TDs.
➤ C.J. brown (13) and Kyle Pugh (12) led NIU defenders with a combined 25 tackles.
➤ Against Tulsa, freshman safety Muhammad Jammeh collected NIU’s third interception of the season, matching the Huskies’ season total from a year ago. Jammeh added his first career interception to sophomore cornerback Eric Rogers’ two picks versus Eastern Illinois. Last season, NIU defensive backs had just one interception
➤ Sophomore linebacker Daveren Rayner leads NIU in tackles after making 25 tackles in the first two games and adding seven versus Vanderbilt. His 32 tackles in just three games are already a single season best as he totaled 29 tackles in eight games a year ago and 27 in the Huskies’ six-game season in 2020
San Jose State is 3-5 all-time against Mid-American Conference teams. None of those victories came during the regular season. Western Michigan would like to make it 0-9 this Saturday when the Broncos and Spartans clash at CEFCU Stadium in San Jose. A win would allow WMU to even its record at 2-2, with both losses coming at the hands of Top 25 teams.
SAN JOSE STATE (1-1)
➤ The Spartans had last week off but fell at Auburn (24-16) Sept. 10. SJSU led 10-7 at intermission, but the hosts scored two touchdowns and added a field goal in the second half. San Jose State was limited to a pair of field goals. In fact, the Spartans had just one touchdown. Caren Schive accounted for the rest of their scoring with four field goals.
➤ SJSU was limited to 54 yards rushing. Through two games, the Spartans are averaging 51.5 rushing yards per outing.
➤ The Spartan allowed seven sacks in their opener against Portland State and gave up three more at Auburn.
➤ Junior quarterback Chevan Cordeiro, who previously logged 22 starts in three seasons at Hawaii, completed 24 of 40 passes for 275 yards against AU.
➤ San Diego State has eight runs for first downs and 23 passing first downs.
➤ Elijah Cooks leads Spartan receivers with 10 catches for 169 yards.
➤ Safety Tre Jenkins and linebacker Kyle Harmon own a team-best 15 tackles. Harmon was one of the best tacklers in college football last season. Harmon ended the 2021 campaign with 133 tackles, which was good for third in the nation.
➤ The Spartans haven't turned over the ball once this season and have four interceptions and one muff punt recovery. This is the first time this century SJSU has gone the first two games without turning the ball over and they are one of five FBS teams without a turnover so far this season
➤ SJSU returns one of the best defenses in college football from a season ago. Nine starters return with six of them earning All Mountain West recognition last year. The Spartans let up the fourth fewest yards in the Mountain West at 4,455 yards.
WESTERN MICHIGAN (1-2)
➤ The Broncos are the only MAC team with a conference win to their credit entering Week Four. They defeated Ball State 37-30 in Week Two action.
➤ WMU committed three turnovers and produced just 180 yards of total offense in the loss at Pittsburgh. The Broncos only touchdown came in the third quarter when wide receiver Anthony Sambucci hit A.J. Abbot t with a 31-yard scoring strike. That pulled WMU within seven points at 20-13, but Pitt added two touchdowns in the final stanza.
➤ Quarterback Jack Salopek completed 6 of 18 passes totaling 99 yards against Pitt. He was intercepted three times.
➤ On the year, Salopek has completed 53.6 percent of his passes, producing 522 yards with one TD and four picks. He has been sacked nine times.
➤ Sean Tyler and La’Darius Jefferson have carried the rushing load in 2022, combining for 70 carries, 321 yards and all five rushing touchdowns.
➤ Junior Corey Crooms tops Bronco receivers. He has 18 catches totaling 169 yards and a TD. Jehlani Galloway is also in double-digit catches with 10 -- good for 142 yards.
➤ Linebacker Zaire Barnes (23 hits) is one of four WMU defenders with at least 21 tackles.
➤ The Broncos rank seventh in rushing offense (132.7 ypg) and 10th in passing (184.3 ypg).
➤ Western Michigan is last among MAC teams in offensive efficiency (100.1)
By MIKE SMITH
When “veteran” Miami University or Northwestern fans hear the name Randy Walker, it typically evokes fond memories. Walker, who played at Miami, coached at both MU (1990-98) and Northwestern (1999-2006). Before passing away in June of 2006, he left a legacy of building both teams and men.
"If you followed college football, you knew what Randy Walker did," current Miami head coach Chuck Walker said this week. "I didn't know Randy Walker, (but) I knew OF Randy Walker. I knew (of) him when he had a great run at Miami, and then I knew what he did at Northwestern."
The two schools have met on the gridiron just once since Walker's death, but they will face off again Saturday at historic Ryan Field in Evanston (IL). Both teams are 1-2, so Saturday is a chance to get back to .500 before entering the grind of conference play.
Martin and his wife grew up in the Chicago area, but he has never been on the Northwestern campus. He said he and the team are looking forward to a hard-fought game between "like-minded" schools. "We're a little beat up ... (but) we're going to do everything we can to get our guys as healthy as we can, ... and then we're going to to after Northwestern. We know the challenge ahead."
ABOUT THE SERIES
Northwestern won the last meeting (2009), 16-6, as defenses ruled most of the day. It also took a 21-3 decision in Oxford just a few months after Walker’s sudden passing in 2006. That game marked the debut of Northwestern head coach Pat Fitzgerald.
However, Miami actually . . .