Saturday, Oct. 1 – 7 p.m. ET
CBS Sports Network
One of the best match-ups of Week Five could be in Mt. Pleasant, Michigan. Undefeated Western Michigan visits one-loss Central Michigan Saturday night. While it might be the first week of conference action, this is a game may well have far reaching effects in the MAC West championship race.
Both programs, of course, were part of a four-way tie for first place last year. Neither one ended up in the MAC championship game as Northern Illinois triumphed through a tie-break.
Western Michigan prevailed in a 41-39 shootout last year in Kalamazoo. Could another offensive explosion be in the offing?
Both teams have . . .
The two teams are also among the MAC leaders in scoring defense. WMU ranks second, allowing 20.8 ppg. The Chippewas are fourth with a 25.0 ppg average.
WESTERN MICHIGAN (4-0, 0-0 MAC)
► The Broncos count victories over two Big Ten teams among their four season-opening wins. They edged Northwestern, 22-21, in the season opener and dominatedIllinois, 34-10, in Week Three. WMU also managed to avenge a 43-17 loss to GeorgiaSouthern last year with a 49-31 victory last week.
► Much of Western Michigan’s offensive success is related to the run game. The Broncos are No. 1 (MAC) with an average of 245.2 ypg. Although Western ranks eighth in passing yards, the air game still contributes 223.2 ypg. In fact, the Broncos rank second behind only Toledo in pass efficiency.
► WMU quarterback Zach Terrell ranks eighth nationally in completion percentage (69.4%). His 68 completions on 98 attempts have produced 893 yards and nine touchdowns without a single interception.
► The Broncos have a full stable of talented running backs. Sophomore Jamauri Bogan (5-7, 187) leads the way with 89 carries for 527 yards (5.9 ypc) and five TDs.
Junior Jarvion Franklin (6-1, 228) is a power back with some speed. He has 213 yards and two TDs on 48 trips. Levante Bellamy has chipped in 20 attempts for 133 yards and a touchdown.
► Senior Corey Davis tops the receivers and is second on the team in touchdowns. He has 24 catches for 395 yards with four TDs. Michael Henry (5-11, 189, Sr) owns 18 receptionns for 235 yards and two scores.
► Kicker Butch Hampton has been busy. He remains perfect on extra points (22/22) and has hit five of eight field goal tries with a long of 47.
► One of the big keys for CMU this week is to avoid a slow start. The Chippewas sputtered out of the gate last week, falling behind 28-0 at Virginia, and came home with their first loss of the 2016 campaign.
► Central Michigan opened the season with a 49-3 pasting of Presbyterian and followed that with the “miracle finish” win at No. 22 Oklahoma State. The Chippewas dumped UNLV in Week Three before losing to Virginia last weekend.
► One of the interesting matchups this week will be the Broncos very strong running game against a very strong run defense in CMU . The Chippewas are ranked second in run defense, allowing 106.0 ypg. They are ranked sixth in pass defense, surrendering 230.5 ypg. Central looks even better in pass defense efficiency with a third place rank behind Toledo and Kent State.
►Senior quarterback Cooper Rush not only leads the MAC in passing yardage (338.0 ypg), he ranks 10th in the FBS. He is fifth (FBS) in touchdown passes (13) and 18th (FBS) in QB rating.
► Corey Willis leads CMU receving with 17 receptions for 327 yards with six TDs. Other major contributors include Tyler Conklin (16/248 yds., 2 TDs), Jesse Kroll (13/214 yds., 1 TD) and Mark Chapman (13/186 yds., 2 TDs).
► Devon Spalding tops Central rushers with 222 yards and one TD on 43 carries (5.0 ypc). Jonthan Ward is averaging 5.6 ypc on his 29 attemts for 162 yards with two score. Jahray Hayes (5-11, 215, Sr) has registered 35 rushes for 137 yards and four scores.
► Senior kicker Brian Eavey is perfect through 21 PATs but has made just one of five field goal attempts. That one was from 30 yards out.
► Sophomore linebacker Malik Fountain leads CMU defenders with 26 tackles. Joe Ostman, a junior defensive end, has 2.0 sacks and 4.0 TFL among his 18 hits.