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NCAAF Team Report - Massachusetts - INSIDE SLANT
For the first time this season, Northern Illinois got outshined by a fellow conference member. The Huskies have carried the conference flag for several seasons, but Ball State emerged atop the headlines with a big win at Virginia.
The Cardinals knocked off Virginia by holding Virginia to three points after the score was knotted at 24-all to run away with a 48-27 win over Virginia. For the second week in a row, the MAC had a member defeat a well-known BCS team on the road by double digits. A week after NIU crushed Purdue, the Cardinals threw their name into the national spotlight by allowing just 299 to Virginia and quarterback Keith Wenning throwing for two touchdowns.
Ball State coach Pete Lembo didn't sugarcoat the importance of the win over Virginia.
"This has got to be the biggest win in the history of Ball State football in 90 years," Lembo said. "We've had three BCS wins the last two years, but nothing compares to this, coming on the road, to Virginia, beating an ACC opponent."
The Huskies improved to 5-0 on the season with a solid 38-24 win at Kent State in their first conference game of the season. Northern Illinois struggled at the start, with the rain a big factor and Dri Archer taking a 100-yard kickoff for a touchdown. But the Huskies, like championship teams do, responded with a strong second half. The Huskies have played this season without last year's starting tailback, Akeem Daniels, who remained sidelined with a leg injury. But sophomore Cameron Stingily has picked up the slack in the last few weeks. He raised his season totals to 576 yards rushing and five touchdowns after rushing for 266 yards against Kent State. The recent play of Stingily, who leads the team in rushing, gives the Huskies another weapon when, or if, Daniels returns from his injury.
"I'm getting untouched for four yards," Stingily said, praising his offensive line. "I've got a full head of steam. Linebackers and safeties, I'm the same size, if not bigger. Punish them and get a chance."
The Huskies and Cardinals are headed toward a showdown for the MAC West title on Nov. 13. The Golden Flashes did receive some good news with Archer coming back healthy. But he was a non-factor due to taking just limited carries, but he was a factor in the return and passing game.
Halfway into the 2013 season, the Mid-American Conference still has three winless teams and two one-win teams. Western Michigan, under first-year coach P.J. Fleck, leads the way with a 0-6 record. The Broncos have gotten progressively more beaten up with each passing week.
"I think we didn't play very well, to be honest with you," Fleck said after Toledo's blowout win over Western Michigan. "As you can see, we got out-physicaled again."
Miami-Ohio and UMass join Western Michigan in the non-win column, but both teams have played just five games this season. On Sunday, a day after the Redhawks dropped their fifth straight decision, athletic director David Sayler fired Miami coach Don Treadwell.
"I have decided to make a change in our football leadership now in hopes of seeing improved performance for the rest of the season," Sayler said. "Miami University takes the interest of our student-athletes seriously and this decision is the result of the past nine months since I've been on the job. Don is a great man, nobody can disagree with that, but I felt a change was needed immediately in the direction of our program."
Miami offensive coordinator John Klackik was also fired, with Sayler not announcing an interim head coach as of Sunday.
Akron and Eastern Michigan have just one win each this season. This Saturday's Miami at UMass contest carries a lot of weight due to one team finally getting its first win of the season.
NORTHERN ILLINOIS (5-0, 1-0)
Game: Northern Illinois 38, Kent State 24. In a rematch of last year's MAC Championship game, the Huskies got a career-high 266 yards rushing from Cameron Stingily to beat the Golden Flashes on a rainy afternoon. On his 22nd birthday, Stingily carried the ball 37 times to help the Huskies compile 454 yards rushing and 698 yards of total offense.
"I just wanted to play hard and I wanted a win for my birthday," Stingily said. "I didn't know I was going to touch the ball so many times. I ready my keys and just tried to keep going."
Takeaway: This was a chance for Kent State to test itself, but the Golden Flashes failed miserably. Kent State led 28-24 in the third quarter, but allowed 17 unanswered points. Jordan Lynch threw for 244 yards and two touchdowns and finished with 338 yards of total offense.
--RB Cameron Stingily, a junior, made the best out of his 22nd birthday. Stingily set career-highs with 37 carries and 266 yards rushing and two touchdowns to pace NIU's attack.
--S Jimmie Ward picked off his fourth pass of the season in the first half. Ward has four interceptions in five games. He entered the game ranked first in the conference and fifth in the country in interceptions.
Next: vs. Akron, Oct. 12.
OHIO (4-1, 1-0)
Game: Ohio 43, Akron 3: Ohio won its fourth straight game with a strong effort on both side of the ball. The Bobcats have won 19 of their last 25 games. They held Akron to 157 yards and recorded eight sacks -- the most for the Bobcats since 1999.
Takeaway: The Bobcats need a challenge. Another blowout victory against a hapless team. The Bobcats showed some fight on the defensive end, with eight sacks and holding Akron to three points.
--QB Tyler Tettleton threw for 171 yards on 14-of-21 passing and two touchdowns. He improved to 22-9 all-time as a starter.
--DE Ty Branz, a redshirt senior, paced Ohio's aggressive defense with a team-best two and a half sacks against Akron.
Next: vs. Central Michigan, Oct. 12.
BALL STATE (5-1)
Game: Ball State 48, Virginia 27. Ball State quarterback Keith Wenning threw for 346 yards and two touchdowns to spark the Cardinals to a rare victory over a BCS team. The Cardinals trailed 17-7 early in the second quarter but scored 17 straight points to take a 24-17 lead. After Virginia tied the game at 24-24, Jahwan Edwards scored a touchdown and Wenning hit Jordan Williams for a 72-yard scoring strike to put the game out reach.
Takeaway: Another week, another double-digit road win for the MAC against a well-known BCS school. A week after Northern Illinois crushed Purdue, the Cardinals notched a 21-point road win against Virginia. The Cardinals, led by Wenning, are looking every week like a contender for the MAC West crown.
--TB Jahwan Edwards set the Ball State career touchdowns rushing record with his 35th touchdown at Virginia. Edwards had scored three touchdowns for three straight games to give him six career games with three touchdowns.
--QB Keith Wenning completed 23-of-41 passes for 346 yard and two touchdowns to guide the Cardinals to the road win. Wenning became the Cardinals' career passing leader with 9,250 yards.
--WR Jordan Williams notched career highs of nine catches for 159 yards. He tallied a 72-yard touchdown catch in the win.
Next: vs. Kent State, Oct. 12.
TOLEDO (3-3, 2-1)
Game: Toledo 47, Western Michigan 20. Toledo senior tailback David Fluellen carried the offensive load, rushing for 220 yards and a career-high four touchdowns. Toledo's defense got into the act, forcing four turnovers that led to 17 points. Senior quarterback Terrance Owens threw for 149 yards and Bernard Reedy added four receptions for 85 yards, including a touchdown.
Takeaway: The Rockets improved to 7-1 at home in the Matt Campbell era. Toledo's offense rolled up an impressive 528 yards of total offense, while the defense held WMU to 375 yards. Toledo's defense forced four turnovers and scored a defensive touchdown for the third straight game.
--LB Trent Voss scored a touchdown for the Rockets, scooping up a fumble and returning it seven yards for a touchdown in the third quarter.
--TB David Fluellen carried the ball 23 times for 220 yards and scored four touchdowns. His 220 yards was the 10th best all-time in a single game in school history.
Next: vs. Navy, Oct. 19.
BOWLING GREEN (5-1, 3-0)
Game: Bowling Green 28, UMass 7. The Falcons scored the first 28 points of the game to roll to their fifth victory of the season. The Falcons started slowly, though. They didn't register any points until their sixth drive of the game. But the Falcons managed to compile 448 yards of total offense on 65 plays, while limiting UMass to 280 yards on 57 plays.
Takeaway: The Falcons should've won this game by more than 21 points. But playing their third straight game at home, they might have overlooked the Minutemen. The Falcons enter their bye week in good shape, and all the ingredients to make a run for the conference title. They just need to work out some kinks on offense to increase their productivity.
--QB Matt Johnson made the best out of a tough day, completing 11 passes in 20 attempts for 166 yards and three touchdowns.
--DB Ryland Ward picked off a pass in the fourth quarter. Normally, that wouldn't be a big deal in a 21-point victory, but the pick represented BGSU's first one of the season, snapping a streak of 261 consecutive passes by opponents without an interception.
Next: at Mississippi State, Oct. 12.
KENT STATE (2-4, 1-2)
Game: Northern Illinois 38, Kent State 24. Kent State allowed 454 yards rushing and 698 yards of total offense in dropping a key test against Northern Illinois. The Golden Flashes had an opportunity to pull off a program-building upset, leading 28-24 in the third quarter, but allowed 17 straight points to close out the game.
Takeaway: Whether it's the new coaching staff or Dri Archer's injury in the opener, the Golden Flashes don't look anything like last season's team. The Golden Flashes had an opportunity to fix their problems against NIU, but wilted in the second half. The good news is Archer to healthy and back to his tricks, returning a kickoff 100 yards for a touchdown early in the game.
--QB Colin Reardon passed for 209 yards and two touchdowns. He completed 16-of-35 passes and tossed one interception.
--TB Dri Archer had four carries for 13 yards and caught four passes for 80 yards and one touchdown. Archer returned a kickoff in the first quarter 100 yards for a touchdown.
Next: at Ball State, Oct. 12.
CENTRAL MICHIGAN (2-4, 1-1)
Game: Central Michigan 21, Miami-Ohio 9. The Chippewas got a career-high 151 yards rushing and two touchdowns from tailback Saylor Lavallii to win their second game of the season. After a 49-minute lightning delay, the Chippewas relied on their defense to take control of the game. The Chippewas had four sacks.
Takeaway: A solid win over a winless team, but CMU's lack of points is a concern. They scored 21 points despite getting a big rushing day (184 yards total) and recording four sacks. But wins, at least early in the season, have been hard to come back for the Chippewas in recent years.
--RB Saylor Lavallii set career highs with 25 rushing attempts and 151 yards rushing and tied his best of two touchdowns.
--DL Leterrius Walton had one of CMU's four sacks, while adding a career-high seven tackles, including five solo tackles and three for a loss of nine yards.
Next: at Ohio, Oct. 12.
MASSACHUSETTS (0-5, 0-1)
Game: Bowling Green 28, UMass 7. The Minutemen remain winless on the season after dropping their conference opener. This time, UMass played solid defense and gave the offense a chance. UMass didn't allow any points until BGSU's sixth drive of the game and gave up 14 first-half points. Mike Wegzyn relieved starter A.J. Doyle at quarterback late in the game, leading UMass to a pair of long drive, including a 24-yard touchdown pass to Tajae Sharpe.
Takeaway: A moral victory for a winless team. The Falcons, by the season's end, could be one of the top teams in the conference. UMass' defense allowed just 28 points on the road, including not giving up a point until BGSU's sixth drive. The Minutemen kept fighting, having their best two drives late in the game. Many positives came from this loss, but its time UMass turns the corner and builds off each game.
--RB Jamal Wilson, a redshirt sophomore, had a career day at Bowling Green, rushing for a 119 yards on 20 carries. He had a career-best 51-yard run in the loss.
--QB Mike Wegzyn came on in relief to complete seven of his eight pass attempts for 76 yards and added 40 yards rushing.
Next: vs. Miami-Ohio, Oct. 12.
AKRON (1-5, 0-2)
Game: Ohio 43, Akron 3. Akron's offense managed just 157 yards and allowed eight sacks to drop its fifth game of the season. The Bobcats scored 21 points in the second quarter to blow the game wide open.
Takeaway: This is what most observers expected out of the Zips this season. Akron doesn't have the horses to compete against most teams, aside from their Michigan game. That Michigan game could've been a momentum builder, but the Zips have gone the opposite way and could be headed for a fourth straight one-win season.
--LB Jatavis Brown, a sophomore from Belle Glade, Fla., tied a game-high seven tackles, including compiling five solo stops.
--CB Malachi Freeman, a senior, tallied five solo tackles, picked off a pass and recorded two pass breakups.
Next: at Northern Illinois, Oct. 12.
BUFFALO (3-2, 1-0)
Game: Buffalo 42, Eastern Michigan 14. In front of 23,602 fans, the Bulls won their second straight game to extend their home winning streak to five -- the longest since the 1983 campaign.
Brandon Oliver paced the Bulls with 150 yards and two touchdowns, scoring a 60-yard touchdown to set the tone for the game and an early 7-0 lead. Buffalo built a 28-7 lead at halftime.
"The effort was excellent today in all three phases," UB coach Jeff Quinn said. "Our coaching job did a tremendous job in preparation. To beat this team was just another important step for us to accomplish the goals that we set for ourselves this season."
Takeaway: Buffalo rarely scores 40 points in a game, let alone in consecutive weeks. The Bulls are definitely building momentum for a strong, or better, conference showing than past seasons. The Bulls scored at least 40 points for the second game in a row for the first time since 1981.
--TB Brandon Oliver rushed for a season-high 150 yards and scored two touchdowns to spark the Bulls. Oliver had a 60-yard touchdown scamper on UB's sixth offensive play of the game.
--QB Joe Licata had a solid day, completing 15 of his 22 passes for 224 yards and one touchdown. Six different UB receivers had a catch in the game.
Next: at Western Michigan, Oct. 12.
EASTERN MICHIGAN (1-4, 0-2)
Game: Buffalo 42, Eastern Michigan 14. Buffalo quarterback Joe Licata threw for 224 yards and one touchdown and Brandon Oliver ran for 150 yards to beat Eastern Michigan.
The Eagles fell into an early 21-0 hole before scoring their first touchdown.
Takeaway: The Eagles have lost four games in a row after beating Howard on Aug. 31. The Eagles head into a treacherous stretch of games against Army, Ohio, Northern Illinois and Toledo before closing out the season against Western Michigan, Bowling Green and Central Michigan. It might be several weeks before EMU gets a second win of the season.
--TB Ryan Brumfield had just two carries, but made the best of each opportunity. Brumfield led the Eagles in rushing with 79 yards, including a 75-yard touchdown run.
--QB Tyler Benz completed 12-of-19 passes for 157 yards, with one touchdown and one interception. He was sacked three times.
Next: at Army, Oct. 12.
MIAMI-OHIO (0-5, 0-1)
Game: Central Michigan 21, Miami 9. The RedHawks rushed for 123 yards but couldn't stop CMU's Saylor Lavallii, who tallied a career-high 151 yards rushing and two touchdowns. Miami tried a two-quarterback system to break out of its losing streak, with Austin Gearing and Austin Boucher splitting the snaps.
Takeaway: A rare competitive game for the RedHawks. The offense turned to a two-quarterback system to try and break out of its funk, but Boucher and Gearing were equally ineffective. The RedHawks managed just nine points against a CMU team not known for defense.
--QB Austin Gearing split his snaps in the loss, but took advantage of his limited play by rushing for 108 yards on 15 carries.
--QB Austin Boucher completed 12 of his 26 passes for 161 yards and one touchdown, but was sacked four times.
Next: at UMass, Oct. 12.
WESTERN MICHIGAN (0-6, 0-2)
Game: Toledo 47, Western Michigan 20. Toledo won its four straight meeting with Western Michigan by racking up 528 yards of total offense. The Broncos hurt any chance of notching their first win of the season by committing four turnovers, including giving up a defensive touchdown.
Takeaway: The Broncos allowed Toledo to score a season-high 47 points and tally 528 yards of total offense. Just a tough game all around for a struggling winless program. The Broncos keep on going backward since their opening loss at Michigan State, playing less competitive each week. They made countless mistakes, couldn't stop UT's running game and struggled moving the ball.
"We continued to stub our toe," WMU coach P.J. Fleck said. "We got out-physicaled up front and got pushed back. We were in our backfield for half of the day. We just weren't good enough."
--PK Andrew Halderman quietly made both of his field goal attempts against Toledo. He made field goals from 19 and 35 yards out to remain perfect on the season at 5-for-5.
--TE Clark Mussman tallied five catches for 62 yards to lead a productive day for WMU's tight ends. In all, WMU's tight ends accounted for 11 receptions.
Next: vs. Buffalo, Oct. 12.
NCAAF Team Report - Massachusetts - NOTES, QUOTES
--Miami athletic director David Sayler fired football coach Don Treadwell the day after 21-9 loss to Central Michigan. The RedHawks have lost their first five games this season, and looked inept most of their games.
--Northern Illinois remained unbeaten with a solid 38-24 win at Kent State. The Huskies tallied a whopping 698 yards of total offense, the eighth-highest total in conference history. The Huskies have won 18 straight conference games, the longest conference winning streak in the country. The Huskies haven't lost a conference game since the MAC opener at Central Michigan in 2011.
--Before Ball State coach Pete Lembo arrived on campus, the Cardinals had just one win against a team from a BCS conference, beating Indiana in 2008. The Cardinals have now won four games against BCS teams in the last three seasons.
--Ball State quarterback Keith Wenning passed for 346 yards and two touchdowns against Virginia. He completed 23-of-41 passes. He surpassed Nate Davis for the school record for career passing yards with 9,250 yards. Wenning passed for 215 yards in the first half at Virginia.
--Ohio senior quarterback Tyler Tettleton gained plenty of headlines for his 171-yard passing day against Akron, but the Ohio defense tallied eight sacks and held Akron to 157 yards of total offense. Before the game, the Zips had not allowed a sack in three straight games.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "I wouldn't have been surprised. I'm confident in our offense, I'm confident in our team. Watching them on film earlier this week, sitting with coach (Rich) Skrosky, we were kind of licking our chops early on." -- Ball State quarterback Keith Wenning on not being shocked about the Cardinals' double-digit win at Virginia.
NCAAF Team Report - Massachusetts - STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL
FIVE BIGGEST TAKEAWAYS FROM WEEK 6 IN THE MAC:
1. Northern Illinois and Ball State are the class of the Mid-American Conference West Division, maybe the entire conference. The Huskies have won at Iowa and Purdue. The Cardinals, behind a big-play offense led by quarterback Keith Wenning, won their fifth game of the season with a 48-27 win at Virginia. The two teams play at Northern Illinois on Nov. 13.
2. Toledo running back David Fluellen continues to put up big numbers. The senior rushed for 220 yards and scored a career-high four touchdowns in UT's romp over Western Michigan. Fluellen has rushed for 433 yards and seven touchdowns in his last two games against Western Michigan. For his career, Fluellen has 3,061 yards rushing and only the fifth player in school history with at least 3,000 yards.
3. Ohio gets a mini-challenge this coming Saturday. After beating their last two opponents by a combined 81-3, the Bobcats host Central Michigan on Homecoming. Although the Chippewas are a shell of the team due to losing two key offensive players, they represent a tougher challenge. The Bobcats play Eastern Michigan, Miami and Buffalo after the CMU contest. Those three teams have a combined 4-11 mark, with Buffalo sporting the best record at 3-2.
4. Western Michigan is off to its worst start since 1996. At 0-6 and 0-2 in the conference, the Broncos would like to avoid any more comparisons to the 1996 squad, which started 0-9.
5. Normally, a Miami at UMass football game this coming Saturday would generate little attention within the conference. But this game serves great importance for one simple reason -- one team will finally get its first win of the season. Both teams have lost their first five games, with UMass playing competitively in losses to Kansas State, Vanderbilt and Bowling Green.