MT. PLEASANT, MI -- Central Michigan is a team that is known for using as many as five different running backs in a single football game. On Saturday afternoon, the Chippewas (3-3, 1-1) only needed one. Senior Thomas Rawls rushed for 229 yards and two touchdowns on 40 carries as hosting CMU downed Ohio 28-10 on Homecoming day. His breakout performance helped the Chippewas snap their three-game losing streak, while Ohio failed in its bid to notch a three-game winning streak.
Aside from the running clinic put on by Rawls, the Chippewas dominated every aspect of the game, including time of possession. In all, Central Michigan had the ball on offense for over 40 minutes compared to just 17:41 for an injury-plagued Ohio (3-3, 1-1) squad.
After the ‘Cats first three-and-out, the Chippewas wasted no time in scoring their first touchdown. Quarterback Cooper Rush found wide receiver and captain Titus Davis three times on seven plays for 76 yards. The drive ended with a three-yard touchdown toss from Rush to Davis on third and goal.
The second drive for Central Michigan ended in a similar manner. A 32-yard touchdown pass from Rush to Davis put the Chippewas up 14-0 with 5:55 still remaining in the first quarter.
By the end of the first stanza, Central Michigan accumulated 208 yards of total offense --119 by Davis -- compared to just nine by the Bobcats.
For Ohio’s offense, the second quarter wasn’t much different until it received a gift from its defense. With just under a minute until the half, the Bobcats’ defense forced and recovered a fumble, returning it to the Chippewas five-yard line.
Ohio, however, stalled once again and was forced to settle for a 24-yard field goal, putting it behind 14-3 at halftime.
On the first possession of the second half, Central Michigan used Rawls 10 times on the teams’ 15-play drive including a 15-yard TD run on third-and-10. The touchdown gave Rawls his first score of the game and put his team up 21-3.
The drive by the Chippewas ate up over seven minutes of the third quarter clock and served as a testament to the way CMU was able to control the game from beginning to end.
Ohio would go on to score its first touchdown of the game with a one-yard run by senior Tim Edmond, his first carry of the game. That score, however, didn’t help the ‘Cats much as Rawls quickly added his second touchdown to ice the game for the Chippewas in front of their home crowd.
Rawls was not the only impact player for Central Michigan as he was joined by the dynamic duo of Rush and Davis.
In all, Rush completed 17-of-27 passes for 233 yards and two touchdowns. Both touchdowns went to Davis, who ended the game with 10 catches for a season-high 181 yards.
The Central Michigan defense also bounced back on a chilly day in Mount Pleasant, MI as it held the Bobcats to 10 points after giving up 106 points to its last three opponents.
Last week, the defense gave up 543 yards to Toledo, but Central was able to hold Ohio under 200 total yards and gave up only three passing yards in the first half alone.
Sacks also played a significant role in the game for Central Michigan, who recorded three against an Ohio team that had previously allowed only three through five games -- good enough for first in the MAC. Two of the three sacks came from junior defensive end Blake Serpa.
Against the Chippewas, Ohio finally showed the true impact that injuries are having on the team. Ohio entered the contest without starting quarterback Derrius Vick, starting running back A.J. Ouellette and both of its starting cornerbacks in Ian Wells and Devin Jones.
The Bobcats also lost linebacker Javon Johnso, who played the first half but did not return for the second.
Ohio will try to get healthy for next week’s game against defending MAC champion Bowling Green. Kick off is set for 2 p.m. in Athens. Central hits the road to take on defending MAC West champ Northern Illinois (5 p.m. ET).