2011 Prediction & Game Story
Week 12 - MAC Previews
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Ohio (7-3) at Bowling Green (4-6) Nov. 16, 8:00, ESPN/ESPN3
Here’s The Deal … Ohio has won three of the last four in the series including the last two, and if it makes it three in a row, it’ll mean a trip to play for the MAC championship.
Thanks to the thrilling 35-31 win over Temple a few weeks ago, Ohio can clinch the East title and its third MAC title game in six years with a win over a struggling Bowling Green team that can’t seem to find its groove. The Bobcats come in winning three straight in the series, and while they can afford a road slip and still win the East with a Temple loss to Kent State in a few weeks, they need to take care of business now with a date with Miami coming up next Tuesday to close out the regular season.
This is Bowling Green’s bowl game. The Falcons did their part to help out the Bobcats with a win over Temple a few weeks ago for the lone victory over a rough six game span, but this is the home finale and it’s a shot to shine on national TV. The passing game hasn’t kicked in as expected and the offense as a whole has sputtered too much, and the defense hasn’t done enough to pick up the slack.
Why Ohio Might Win: Ohio’s running game is on a role with 200 yards or more in four of the last five games while coming off a dominant day against Central Michigan. The O line is improving by the week, and it showed by paving the way for 309 yards and three scores against the Chippewas last week in the blowout win. Balanced, the passing attack is working, too, helping the suddenly high-powered attack crank out its third game in a row with more than 520 yards. The Bowling Green defensive front that was so great at getting into the backfield earlier in the year hasn’t come up with a sack in three of its last four games. If Ohio’s O gets time to work, it should dominate.
Why Bowling Green Might Win: How did the Falcons beat Temple? The line got to the Owl passing game with four sacks, while the secondary came up with its best game of the season. The defense has to play at a whole other level against the Bobcats, while the passing game that’s been effective at cranking out yards over the last few weeks has to start getting into the end zone. The Falcons have thrown for 200 yards or more in four of the last five games, with 400 yards against Kent State, but they only threw six touchdowns in the span. Ohio’s pass defense has been stellar, but it also hasn’t been pushed all year long. CMU has one of the few offenses on the Bobcat schedule that can throw, and Ryan Radcliff bombed away for 362 yards and three scores.
What To Watch Out For: Ohio’s LaVon Brazill has been on a tear in MAC play hitting the 100-yard mark in every game except for the three-catch, 17-yard day against Buffalo. Equal parts steady and explosive, the veteran is doing whatever the passing game needs highlighted by his eight catches for 157 yards and two scores in the loss to Ball State.
Equally hot is Bowling Green senior Kamar Jorden, who followed up a 12-catch, 203-yard, one score day against Kent State with eight catches for 152 yards and two scores against NIU. Like Brazill, Jorden has rocked in MAC play, and now a spot on the All-MAC team next to Western Michigan’s Jordan White could come down to who has the bigger game this week.
What Will Happen: Bowling Green doesn’t have the defense to slow down all of Ohio’s parts. The Bobcats will crank out over 500 yards, and the one-dimensional Falcon offense won’t be able to keep up.
CFN Prediction: Ohio 31 … Bowling Green 17
Click For Latest Line From ATS: Ohio -6.5 O/U: 57.5
Western Michigan (5-5) at Miami University (4-6) Nov. 16, 8:00, ESPN2/ESPN3
Here’s The Deal … Before the season began this looked like it might be a MAC title game preview. WMU is out after Northern Illinois beat Ball State on Tuesday night, but Miami still has an outside shot at getting back to the MAC title game by winning this week, beating Ohio next Tuesday, and playing the tie-breaker game from there.
The RedHawks are coming off a tough loss at Temple leaving no margin for error the rest of the way, and now they have to prove they can beat a good team. The four victories have come over some of the most mediocre teams on the slate, but it’s been a decent turnaround after an 0-4 start.
Western Michigan has as fun an offense as any in the nation because of the Alex Carder-to-Jordan White combination, but it hasn’t led the way to wins losing three of the last four games including a crazy 66-63 shootout with Toledo last week that saw the Broncos give up 808 yards of total offense while Carder pitched for 548 yards and seven scores. This game won’t be nearly as interesting, but for the Broncos, it’s a chance to keep alive a desperate hope of an at-large bowl bid.
Why Western Michigan Might Win: Miami doesn’t have the firepower. The RedHawks are dead last in the nation at running the ball and aren’t equipped to take advantage of the weak WMU defensive front. MU can throw the ball, and it’s efficient, but it’s more of a dink-and-dunk attack than a bombs away passing game the Broncos will come up with. Yes, the MU pass defense is the best in the MAC, at least statistically, but that’s partly because it hasn’t faced anyone who can throw other than Toledo and Cincinnati; the Rockets and Bearcats didn’t have any problems against the RedHawk secondary.
Why Miami University Might Win: No, Miami doesn’t have a ground game in any way, shape, or form, but this is the time to force it and give it a try. The Broncos weren’t even close against Toledo, allowing 419 yards and five touchdowns on the ground, while Northern Illinois rumbled for 494 yards and six scores. It’s not like the secondary has been spared, though, with Ball State chucking for 335 yards and three touchdowns two weeks ago and Toledo bombing away for 385 yards and three scores to go along with all the rushing production. No, MU doesn’t air it out as effectively as WMU does, but …
What To Watch Out For: Zac Dysert has the experience and skill to keep up the pace with anyone in the conference. With three 300-yard games in the last four weeks and 17 touchdown passes in his last six games, he has found the groove that was missing over the first part of the season. There might be a few too many picks, throwing five in the last four games, but he’s the offense and he’s forced to make things happen to make up for the lack of a ground game.
Looking to slow down Dysert is Johnnie Simon, one of the only productive parts of a WMU defense that’s been gouged on a regular basis. The good: he’s making a ton of tackles and big plays. The bad: he’s making them down the field because the front line isn’t doing its job. He was all over the place trying to stop the Toledo attack last week with 18 tackles and 2.5 tackles for loss after making ten tackles with a pick against Ball State. On fire, he has 51 tackles in his last four games.
What Will Happen: It’s Western Michigan; it’ll be another shootout. Neither team will run the ball a lick with the two star quarterbacks combining for over 800 yards of passing. WMU’s Jordan White will catch 12 passes, and MU’s Nick Harwell will add ten of his own after catching 15 against Temple, but the Broncos will be a bit more explosive when they have to be to pull out a wild back-and-forth battle.
CFN Prediction: Western Michigan 41 … Miami University 38
Click For Latest Line From ATS: Miami University -2 O/U: 58.5
Nov. 15 at Northern Illinois 41 … Ball State 38
(AP) DEKALB, Ill. -- Mathew Sims hit two field goals in the final 2:46 and Northern Illinois piled up 710 yards of offense to defeat Ball State 41-38 on Tuesday night.
Sims nailed a 23-yarder that tied the score. After the Huskies (8-3, 6-1 Mid-American) forced a punt, they got it back at their own 20-yard line with 1:44 remaining. Ten plays later, Sims hit a 34-yarder with 8 seconds left for the game-winner.
Chandler Harnish had a school-record 519 yards of offense -- 338 passing, 181 rushing -- and a combined three TDs for Northern Illinois. Jasmin Hopkins added 122 yards rushing and two TDs, while Martel Moore (six catches, 120 yards) and Nathan Palmer (8-95) each had touchdown receptions.
Ball State (6-5, 4-3), which led 31-14 in the third quarter, got 245 yards passing and two TDs from Keith Wenning, a 92-yard fumble return from Joshua Howard for a touchdown, and a 68-yard run from Scott Kovanda off a fake punt that set up another score.
Ball State (6-4) at Northern Illinois (7-3) Nov. 15, 8:00, ESPNU
Here’s The Deal … This West title is still alive for both teams with Northern Illinois clinching
a share of the division with a win, while the
Cardinals can make next week’s Toledo game really, really matter if
they can pull off the upset.
The Cardinals have been one of the MAC’s biggest surprises with a bounceback year under first-year head man Pete Lembo, winning three of its last four games including a 33-31 thriller over Eastern Michigan to set up this showdown. The team can’t stop playing interesting games with the last four decided by a total of 18 points and five games this season decided by a touchdown or less. The firepower is there to keep up with the red-hot Huskies.
NIU has been unstoppable on offense this season, steamrolling through the MAC after the stunning 48-41 gaffe to Central Michigan to open up conference play. The 63-60 win at Toledo a few weeks ago put the Huskies in the driver’s seat, and now, with home games left against the Cardinal and Eastern Michigan, the MAC title is there for the taking in head coach Dan Doeren’s first year.
Why Ball State Might Win: The NIU defense isn’t stopping anyone except Bowling Green. The defensive front is getting into the backfield, but the line is allowing yards in chunks against anyone who can run the ball effectively, while the secondary is having problems slowing down efficient passers. There hasn’t been much of a problem against run against MAC teams, but the pass defense allowed 404 yards and three scores to Buffalo, 324 yards and five touchdowns to Toledo, and 387 yards and four scores to Central Michigan. Ball State has just enough of a running game to balance things out, while Keith Wenning and the passing game have gotten hot over the last month including 300-yard days against Central Michigan and Western Michigan. The Cardinals should be able to keep up the pace.
Why Northern Illinois Might Win: The Cardinal defense hasn’t stopped anyone. Eastern Michigan ran for 305 yards, while Western Michigan and Central Michigan each threw for over 400 yards. The Cardinal linebackers aren’t coming up with enough key stops and make too many tackles down the field – they get dragged a lot – while the line doesn’t generate any pressure. Last in the MAC in total defense, last in pass defense, and last in pass efficiency defense, Ball State should be blown off the ball by a NIU offensive line that’s jelled into a machine. NIU has only allowed five sacks this year while paving the way for …
What To Watch Out For: Chandler Harnish is the MAC Player of the Year. The nation’s leading rushing quarterback hit the 1,000-yard mark with 151 yards last week to go along with 2,256 yards and 20 touchdown passes and four picks. He’s been okay against Ball State over the last three years, but he hasn’t had his best performances. Against this D, he should go ballistic. That means Wenning will have to be perfect to keep up the pace after throwing for 944 yards and eight touchdowns after going three straight weeks without a scoring pass. If he doesn’t throw for at least 350 yards and doesn’t keep control of the clock and the chains, Ball State doesn’t have a chance.
What Will Happen: Northern Illinois will put on another offensive show. Harnish will be unstoppable, but the running backs will carry more of the workload as the Huskies will run at will against the soft Cardinal defense. Wenning will help Ball State keep up for a while, but the defense will fail for a full sixty minutes.
CFN Prediction: Northern Illinois 48 … Ball State 31
Click For Latest Line From ATS: Northern
Illinois -18 O/U: 72.5
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