Ball State (1-2, 0-0 MAC) at Toledo
7 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 20,
Last year, this matchup was a considered a huge game in the MAC West race.
Each team had significant personnel losses entering 2014, but both have the potential to fare well in the coming weeks. For now, both teams are on two-game losing streaks.
Ball State’s loss to Iowa 17-13, especially after holding a 13-10 lead until a Hawkeye field goal with one minute left was one thing. Losing at home last week to Indiana State was another.
Two Cardinal field goals in the third quarter tied the game, but Kyani Harri’s 28-yard TD pass to Mike Perish with 3:50 left proved to be the game winner in a 27-20 ISU decision.
Ball State currently ranks seventh among MAC teams in total offense and third in total defense. The Cardinals are ranked second in defending the run allowing just 82.3 ypg. BSU leads the conference in field goals with seven successful tries (out of nine).
Jahwan Edwards leads the Cardinals rushing with 88.3 ypg. KeVonn Mabon is third in receptions per contest (7.3)
Toledo might have been suffering from some kind of hangover last week at Cincinnati. After struggling at home against No. 24 the previous week, UT quickly fell behind 34-0 in the second quarter against highly touted QB Gunner Kiel and the Bearcats.
After trailing 41-7, the Rockets rallied for 27 straight points before Cincy closed out scoring with 17 more of its own. Kiel and the ‘Cats were certainly impressive, but coming on the heels of the Iowa loss, it raises questions about Toledo’s defense. The Rockets are a very respectable third in rushing defense (120.7 ypg). However, they are 12th in pass defense with a whopping 366.3 ypg).
Offensively, things look much better for Toledo. The Rockets are second in total offense (546 ypg) and also second in rushing offense (233 ypg).
Sophomore Kareem Hunt is third among MAC rushers with 128.3 ypg and is probable for this week’s contest.
Logan Woodside, who took over the Rockets QB duties following an injury to junior Phillip Ely in the Missouri game, completed 27 of 40 passes for 322 yards and three TDs versus the Bearcats.
Norfolk State (0-3, 0-0 MEAC) at Buffalo (1-2, 0-0 MAC)
3:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 20,
The Bulls were plastered at home last week as No. 8 Baylor posted a 63-21 victory. All 21 UB points came in the second half.
Buffalo has given 46 points per game so far, and that has to change soon. MAC play is just two weeks away.
Norfolk State has struggled on offense this season, mustering 20 points total over three outings. Consequently, the Bulls should look much better on defense this week. How much that might say UT’s defense in MAC play is another story.
Offensively, quarterback Joe Licata came down to earth last week with 15 of 25 completions for 171 yards and one TD.
The Bulls were able to put together 139 yards of rushing. Sophomore Jordan Johnson led the way with 97 yards.
Freshman Terrance Ervin completed 16 of 24 passes for 176 yards with no touchdowns and two interceptions in last week’s loss to William & Mary. Aaron Daniels led NSU rushing with 106 yards with one TD on 21 carries. Issac White paced the receivers with eight catches for 89 yards, while Markice Street added three receptions for 46 yards.
Bowling Green (2-1, 0-0 MAC) at Wisconsin (1-1, 0-0 Big Ten
Noon, Saturday, Sept. 20, ESPN2/Watch ESPN
The Bowling Green Falcons have posted two wins since the disappointing opening loss against Western Kentucky. While the 48-7 drubbing of VMI showed their was life after the loss of QB Matt Johnson, last week’s dramatic victory over Indiana at home re-established the Falcons as a viable MAC contender.
What would a win over Wisconsin do? The Falcons would like to find out. Right now, they’ve rallied behind quarterback James Knapke. The 6-2, 220-pounder has completed 68 of 104 for 632 yards and four touchdowns with two interceptions since picking up the gauntlet.
Knapke’s amazing day Saturday included 73 pass attempts, of which he completed 46 (63%). He tossed three TDs and one interception.
Junior RB Travis Green leads the team with 343 yards on 60 carries (5.7 ypc). Freshman Roger Lewis hit the ground running and leads the Falcons with 30 catches and 366 yards. He has two TDs, including a 51-yard strike. Sophomore Ronnie Moore also has a pair of TDs and is averaging 13.4 ypc on 11 receptions for 147 yards.
Wisconsin, currently ranked No. 19, enters Saturday coming off a 37-3 home victory over Western Illinois. The Badgers dropped their opener a week earlier, falling to No. 13 on Badger turf, 28-24.
Quarterback Tanner McEvoy has completed 59.6 percent (31/52) of his passes in 2014, with three touchdowns and three interceptions.
Junior RB Melvin Gordon had a big day against LSU, 140 yards on 16 carries, but he picked up just 38 on 17 totes against Western Illinois. Sophomore Alex Erickson is pacing the receiving corps with 13 catches for 155 yards and one TD.
The Badgers were off last week.
Northern Illinois (3-0, 0-0 MAC at Arkansas (2-1, 0-1 SEC)
7 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 20 – Razorback Stadium
The Northern Illinois Huskies broke a 34-all tie with two late TDs to post a 48-34 victory at UNLV last week. Once again, NIU showed a prolific offense, producing 616 yards on the way to its third win in three outings.
With the victory, NIU extended its streak of consecutive road wins to 17, dating back to 2012. This week’s test at Arkansas will certainly put that streak to a stern test.
The Razorbacks dropped their season opener to No. 6 Auburn on the road, 45-21. UA then followed that with a 73-7 win over Nicholls State and 49-28 triumph at Texas Tech. Three ranked teams wait in the wings following the NIU matchup (No. 6 Texas A&M, No. 3 Alabama and No. 13 Georgia.
Rushing is the Razorbacks calling card, and they rank third in the country with an average of 362 ypg. Alex Collins (50/411/5 TDs) and Jonathan Williams (33/322/6 TDs) have been the workhorses.
Quarterback Brandon Allen has completed 28 of 48 for 353 yards with six touchdowns and one interception. Demetrius Wilson has a team-high six catches for 76 yards.
QB Drew Hare completed 18 of 28 for 285 yards and three TDs in last week’s Huskie win over UNLV. Cameron Stingily got back on track with 102 yards with two TDs on 17 carries.
Eastern Michigan (1-2, 0-0 MAC) at No. 11 Michigan State (1-1, 0-0 Big Ten)
Noon ET, East Lansing, Spartan Stadium
Big Ten Network
Two weeks after getting drubbed 65-0 by Florida, the Eastern Michigan Eagles take on No. 11 Michigan State this weekend. The Spartans last outing was a disappointing 46-27 loss at No. 3 Oregon. But MSU had a week off, so maybe it has had time to cool off. Of course, the Spartans could also be anxious to get back on the field. They’ve got two more weeks to get ready for Big Ten play. In the case of the Spartans, that starts with a matchup against No. 24 Nebraska Oct. 4
Michigan State’s forte thus far has been the pass, and the Spartan’s rank 11th nationally with an average of 348.5 ypg. The sample size is small, considering the opponents have been Oregon and Jacksonville State. But MSU is likely capable of reaching its average again this week.
Junior QB Conner Cook is completing 68.3 percent of his passes (41/60) with a total of 628 yards, five touchdowns and two interceptions through two outings.
Senior wideout Tony Lippet (6-3, 185) has been the Spartans top target. He registered 11 of his 15 catches while picking up 133 yards and scoring one TD against the Ducks. He had four receptions for 167 yards and a pair of scores in the opener against JSU.
Jeremy Langford, a 6-1, 208 senior, totaled 1,492 yards on 292 carries (t4.9 ypc) with 18 touchdowns in 2013. He’s down to 3.9 ypc so far this year with 143 yards on 37 trips.
The 46 points allowed to Oregon last week may belie the Spartans abilities on that side of the ball. Oregon ranks fifth nationally in scoring (52.0 ppg). Moreover, Oregon posted the game’s final five scores – all touchdowns, suggesting the Ducks frenetic offensive pace might have finally caught up with Michigan State. The Spartans had a 27-18 lead before Oregon opened the scoring floodgates with 4:33 remaining in the third period.
Eastern Michigan, meanwhile, failed to score a touchdown for the second straight week in a 1703 setback at Old Dominion last Saturday.
The Eagles managed just 215 yards of total offense, with 143 coming on the ground. Bronson Hill (16/78 yds) and Rob Bolden (12/31 yds) carried most of the load. No EMU receiver had more than two receptions. David Gibson’s had one catch for 31 yards, but no other Eagles player had a catch of over nine yards.
Central Michigan (2-1, 0-0 MAC) at Kansas (1-1, 0-0 Big 12)
3:30 ET, Saturday, Sept. 20, Memorial Stadium
The visiting Orange turned Central Michigan blue last week with a 40-3 setback. It was quite a shock – especially on home turf – after CMU posted a 38-17 victory at Purdue the previous week to go 2-0.
The Jayhawks had their own disappointment last week as Duke allowed only a first quarter Kansas field goal on the way to a 41-3 drubbing of KSU. Duke rolled up 331 yards on the ground and added another 180 in the air. Kansas picked up 202 yards rushing on 47 carries and added another 95 through the air, completing 12 of 29 with two interceptions.
Corey Avery (16/87 yards) and DeAndre Mann (12/65 yards) led the Jayhawks rushing attack.
NOTES: Former Notre Dame head coach Charlie Weis is head coach of the Jayhawks. … Former Miami RedHawks receiver Nick Harwell is on the KSU roster. He had two catches for nine yards against Duke but registered four receptions for 46 yards and two TDs in the opener against Southeast Missouri.
Central Michigan ranks 11th among MAC teams in total offense and fourth in total defense. More specifically on offense, the Chippewas are ninth in rushing and 12th in pass offense. Senior Thomas Rawls
CMU does lead the MAC in interceptions with six, including one pick-six. No other MAC team has more than three interceptions. Turnovers, which proved helpful in the win at Purdue, have been a plus for Central, which ranks third in the MAC at plus-three.
Murray State (1-1, 0-0 OVC) at Western Michigan 1-1, 0-0 MAC)
7 p.m. ET Saturday, Sept. 20, Waldo Stadium
Coming off a nice road win at Idaho to even their record at 1-1, the Western Michigan Broncos will finally get a chance to play before the home folks Saturday when they meet another 1-1 team. The question is which is the “real” Murray State team?
There’s the racer team that got thumped by No. 25 Louisville back on Sept. 6. Then there’s the Murray State team that pummeled Union Kentucky College, 73-26, to open the season.
The Racers managed 292 total yards against Louisville, with 251 of that total coming through the air. Senior quarterback C.J. Bennett, who tossed five touchdowns in his first career start (Week NO. 1), was 8 of 19 for 93 yards and one TD with one interception. Redshirt freshman K.D. Humphies entered in the second half and completed 13 of 19 for 158 yards with two touchdowns. Bennett again sits atop the Racers depth chart this week
Junior Janawski Davis continued his strong start to the season with five catches for 100 yards and a pair of TDs. It was the first time a Racer receiver recorded a 100-yard game against an FBS opponent.
On the defensive side, senior linebacker Travis Taylor recorded a career-high 12 tackles with a sack and two TFL against Louisville.
The Racers were picked to finish sixth in the Ohio Valley Conference this season.
Western Michigan’s offense has paved the way through two contests. The Broncos have managed to rank third among MAC teams in scoring, although they are fifth in total offense (470.0 ypg). When WMU gets close, it tends to finish. The Broncos are a perfect six of six in the red zone with five TDs.
Freshman Jarvion Franklin (6-1, 220), who rushed for 211 yards on 33 carries last week and 163 yards on 19 carries in the opener against Purdue, leads the MAC in rushing.
Sophomore Daniel Braverman, meanwhile, sits atop MAC rankings in receiving yards per game (126). The road gets tougher for WMU in the coming weeks as the Broncos go to Virginia Tech before a three week MAC gauntlet of Toledo, Ball State and Bowling Green – the latter two on the road.
UMASS (0-3, 0-0 MAC) at Penn State (3-0, 0-0 Big Ten)
4 p.m. ET, Saturday, Sept. 20 Beaver Stadium
Big Ten Network
There may have been a time when this matchup might have been considered a laugher. Heck, the records suggest something like that now. But those who have been watching scores recently have no doubt noticed something about the UMass Minutemen – they are putting points on the board.
After a 30-7 loss to area rival Boston College, UMass has suffered consecutive three-point losses to Colorado (41-38) and Vanderbilt (34-31).
Though not an offensive juggernaut by any means, the Minutemen are sixth among MAC teams in scoring.
Part of the success goes down to less mistakes. UMass is even in turnover margin and third in penalties (39.3 ypg).
Senior quarterback Blake Frohnapfel has thrown five TDs against two interceptions, although his completion percentage is 48.9 percent (46 of 94 for 619 yards.
Tajae Sharpe leads UMass receivers with 15 catches for 246 yards with one TD. Rodney Mills has three TDs in just five receptions for 112 yards. Both Sharpe (77 yards) and Mills (53 yards) have used the big play to score a touchdown.
Jamal Wilson leads rushers with 20 carries for 88 yards. J.T. Blyden (20/68 yards) and Lorenzo Woodley (24/53 yards) are also sharing the work load.
Penn State also has shown it can produce through the air. The Nitanny Lions are ranked 10th in the nation in passing. Sophomore QB Christian Hackenberg has completed 62.2 percent of his passes (79/127, 1,082 yards). He has, however, also thrown five interceptions against four TDs and been sacked eight times.
Junior WR Geno Lewis has the most receiving yards (380 on 20 receptions) while DaeSean Hamilton leads in receptions (26 for 337 yards).
Things aren’t going quite so well on the ground as the Lions are averaging just 2.5 ypc with 227 yards through three games.
Fortunately for PSU, the Lions’ defense ranks 11th in the country, allowing just 12.2 ppg.
As might be expected, although Penn State sports an unblemished record, it has been in three tight games. It opened with a 26-24 win over Central Florida, pulled away from Akron (21-2) late in game two and slugged out a 13-10 victory over Big Ten newcomer Rutgers last week.