2011 Prediction & Game Story
Week 13 - MAC Previews
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13 MAC Previews Part 2
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Nov. 25 at Temple 34 … Kent State 16
(AP) PHILADELPHIA -- Bernard Pierce ran wild in the second half Saturday and finished with 189 yards and three touchdowns in Temple's 34-16 victory over Kent State in Mid-American Conference play.
The Owls (8-4, 5-3) have won eight games or more for three straight seasons for the first time in school history. This marks the most victories by a first-year Temple coach, Steve Addazio.
With its third straight victory, Temple is bowl-eligible for the third straight season. Last year, Temple was the only program in the country with a winning record that was snubbed by the bowls.
The Owls led Kent State (5-7, 4-4) 10-6 at halftime despite losing quarterback Chris Coyer to an injury on the third play. In the second half, Pierce exploded for 167 yards and all three touchdowns, scoring on runs of 18, 25 and 69 yards. Pierce averaged 9.8 yards on each of his 17 second-half carries.
Kent State took a 6-0 lead early in the second quarter, capitalizing on the first of backup Temple quarterback Chester Stewart's two first-half fumbles. After recovering at the Temple 16, the Golden Flashes needed three plays to score on Jacquise Terry's 11-yard run. Temple's Kee-ayre Griffin blocked the extra point try.
On the ensuing kickoff, Matt Brown returned it 100 yards for the go-ahead touchdown and a lead Temple never relinquished. It was the second 100-yard kickoff return in school history. Five seconds before halftime, a 33-yard field goal by Brandon McManus made it 10-6 at the break. Then Pierce took over in the second half to end Kent State's four-game winning streak and keep Temple's hopes for a second bowl invitation in three years alive.
The Owls are one of six bowl-eligible teams from the MAC. The victory may have solidified a berth in the December 31st Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl in San Francisco's AT&T Park.
Kent State (5-6) at Temple (7-4) Nov. 25, 12:00
Here’s The Deal … With Ohio clinching the division last week, there is only pride on the line to try and finish with a better record, and of course the opportunity to make it to a better bowl game. Kent State has more than salvaged its season by winning four in a row now via a close win against Eastern Michigan last week, while Temple absolutely destroyed an Army squad that was clearly out-manned last week to run its win streak to two.
Both teams are more than likely thinking what might have been if things would have bounced their way one additional time this season. A win is a chance for Kent State to finish .500, and for Temple to have a strong kick at the end of a bit of a disappointing season by its own expectations.
Why Kent State Might Win: Perhaps no team is hotter in the MAC than the Golden Flashes. After starting the season 1-6, they have now run off four in a row in league play and have come almost all the way back to respectability. The offense isn’t breaking any records, but it has started to get its act together to give the deserved support to a defense that has carried its own all year.
If any team in the MAC can stop the vaunted rushing attack of Temple, this Golden Flash team is it. The KSU defense is only giving up 123 yards of rushing per contest, and it has been even better during its win streak--only surrendering an average of 95 yards each time out. If the Golden Flashes can continue to shut down the running game, they’ve got a real shot to finish the season out right.
Why Temple Might Win: As good as the Kent State defense is, the Temple defense is that much better. The Owls defense is fourth in the country in scoring, only allowing a mere 13.64 pints per game. That body of work was done against teams with much more imposing offenses than what the Golden Flashes are bringing in. KSU has had issues moving the ball and scoring all season, and it figures to be even more challenged against the stout run and pass defense of Temple. It’s just hard to believe that Kent State will be able to conjure up enough points to have a legitimate shot at winning this matchup in Lincoln Financial Field.
What To Watch Out For: Which team still believes that it has something to play for? We’re going to find out fast who wants to be playing and who doesn’t now that the division is all sewn up with neither team having a shot at a championship. Kent State has had a very good run against mid level MAC teams, but now we find out for real if it’s improved enough to play with the more talented teams in the league.
It’ll be Bernard Pearce versus the defense of the Golden Flashes, and nearly everyone on the offensive roster against a very good Temple defense. Whichever team has the most pride on the line with nothing to play for will have the upper hand.
What Will Happen: The Golden Flashes have had a solid run to round out the season and should be proud, but this is where it ends. Temple is arguably still the best team in the MAC despite its record, and the combination of defense and rushing attack will be too much for Kent State to handle. KSU will not be able to get anything going offensively all game, and Temple will break through for some big gains in the running game, control the possession, and end the regular season on a high note.
CFN Prediction: Temple 30 … Kent State 14
Click For Latest Line From ATS: Temple -17 O/U: 39.5
Nov. 25 at Northern Illinois 18 … Eastern Michigan 12
(AP) DeKALB, Ill. -- Chandler Harnish ran for 148 yards, including a 68-yard touchdown, and threw a 54-yard touchdown pass as Northern Illinois wrapped up a spot in the Mid-American Conference championship game by beating Eastern Michigan 18-12 on Friday.
The Huskies (9-3, 7-1) clinched a share of the MAC West title, and because they beat Toledo 63-60 on Nov. 1, they own the tiebreaker and have earned a second straight trip to the MAC championship game. NIU will play Ohio on Dec. 2 at Ford Field in Detroit for the MAC championship.
Harnish's 54-yard touchdown pass to Willie Clark opened the scoring. The Huskies led 12-3 at the half and Harnish's 68-yard run on a third-and-1 play extended their lead to 18-6.
The Eagles (6-6, 4-4) cut the deficit in half on Alex Gillett's 24-yard TD pass to Nick Olds with 6:19 to go, but were stopped on their final possession.
Eastern Michigan (6-5) at Northern Illinois (8-3) November 25th, 11AM ET
Here’s The Deal … Northern Illinois will attempt to win its second consecutive MAC West division title when they host Eastern Michigan this weekend. The Huskies won last year’s meeting 71-3 in Ypsilanti.
Eastern Michigan is easily the most improved team in the MAC this season. After perennially finishing towards the bottom of the division, the Eagles have been in contention for the division title all season until last week’s 28-22 loss to Kent State. While they cannot win the West division, a win over Northern Illinois would give Eastern its best season since 1995, as well as an outside chance at a bowl game.
Few people would have expected to see Northern Illinois atop the division back on October. The Huskies were 2-3, and dropped their conference opener to Central Michigan. However, first year Coach Dave Doeren rallied the Huskies to six consecutive wins. After narrowly escaping a Ball State upset bid last week, all Northern needs to do is win against Eastern Michigan to earn a return trip to Ford Field.
Why Eastern Michigan Might Win: With the exception of Wisconsin, no one has stopped the Eagles from running the ball this season. Eastern Michigan ranks third in the MAC and 13th nationally in rushing yards per game, averaging 226 yards per contest. The Eagles will run the ball right at a Northern Illinois defense that ranks 90th nationally against the run, and yields a 4.4 yards per carry. In addition, Eastern has the added motivation of avenging last season’s embarrassing 71-3 loss to the Huskies.
Why Northern Illinois Might Win: Northern Illinois has one of the most explosive offenses in all of college football. The Huskies lead the MAC in total offense averaging a whopping 506 yards per contest. In conference play, they have stepped it up a notch, accumulating 546 yards per contest. While Northern has established a reputation as a running team, they can also throw when they need to, topping the 300-yard mark four times this season, including each of the last two games.
What To Watch Out For: When Eastern Michigan has the ball, keep an eye on QB Alex Gillet. Gillet’s versatility causes nightmares for opposing defensive coordinators because he can beat them on the ground and through the air. Gillet leads the Eagles in rushing with 669 yards. Even though the Eagles prefer to run the ball, Gillet’s accuracy - 59% completion percentage in conference play – will prevent teams from loading the box to stop the run.
On the other side of the ball, watch out for Northern Illinois QB Chandler Harnish. Harnish is the MAC’s most electrifying QB, averaging 345 yards of total offense per game. Harnish is one of the nation’s most efficient passers, ranking 12th nationally in passing efficiency. In addition, he is also an excellent runner, leading the Huskies in rushing with 1203 yards, and a whopping 7.8 yards per carry.
What Will Happen: Both teams will come out and do what they do best, which is running the football. Eastern Michigan will keep the Northern Illinois offense on the sideline by grinding out some long drives, while the Huskies will strike quickly. With both offenses firing on cylinders, the team that has the best defense will win the game. The Northern Illinois defense will rise to the occasion in the second half, and lead the Huskies to their second straight MAC West title.
CFN Prediction: Northern Illinois 35 … Eastern Michigan 21
Click For Latest Line From ATS: NIU -19.5 O/U: 64
Nov. 26 at Ohio 21 … Miami University 14
(AP) ATHENS, Ohio -- Tyler Tettleton threw three touchdown passes to rally Ohio in a 21-14 win over Miami (Ohio) Tuesday night.
The Bobcats (9-3, 6-2 Mid-American Conference) trailed 7-0 at halftime, before Tettleton threw three touchdowns of 4 yards each.
Tettleton tied it when he found Jordan Thompson with 5:49 left in the third quarter. The Bobcats took the lead for good as Tettleton's touchdown pass to Donte Foster capped a 12-play, 80-yard drive just two seconds into the fourth quarter. Ohio wrapped the scoring on Riley Dunlop's catch from Tettleton with 8:43 remaining.
Tettleton was 18 of 26 with an interception and 203 yards, and rushed for 11 yards on 12 carries as the Bobcats won their fifth straight and finished with nine wins for the sixth time in school history.
Nick Harwell caught 14 passes for 163 yards to set the single-season receptions record for the RedHawks (4-8, 3-5) with 97.
Miami University (4-7) at Ohio (8-3) Nov. 22, 7:00, ESPN2/ESPN3
Here’s The Deal … In a true play-out-the-string game, Ohio has the East title clinched after beating Bowling Green and winning four straight MAC games. The victory over Temple a few weeks ago turned out to be the clincher, while the 17-10 win over Kent State in early October was a difference-maker, too. Even though the game doesn’t matter, it’s still an in-state rivalry game and it should still be competitive and entertaining. Five of Ohio’s conference games this year were decided by a touchdown or les with three decided by three points or fewer.
Miami has also played in some close, exciting battles losing to Temple and Western Michigan over the last two weeks 24-21. This is the RedHawks bowl in their final game of the season, and the defending MAC champs get one last shot to make the season a positive. Finishing 5-7 looks a lot better than 4-8, and it would be a nice send-off into the off-season to finish Don Treadwell’s first season at the helm.
Why Miami Might Win: MU will care about this game, but Ohio won’t. The Bobcats might put out the effort on national TV, but the main focus is on keeping everyone healthy and getting to the MAC title game to finally win it under Frank Solich. Energy and effort will matter, and MU should bring both. Offensively, QB Zac Dysert should get time to work against a Bobcat pass rush that’s not getting into the backfield. Ohio is 102nd in the nation in sacks and doesn’t generate any steady pressure. The pass defense has held up fine, but it hasn’t played a slew of high-octane passing teams other than Central Michigan, and two weeks ago Ryan Radcliff threw for 362 yards and three scores.
Why Ohio Might Win: The offense has found a great balance – averaging 211 rushing yards per game and 256 through the air – that should keep the MU defense on its toes. The RedHawks don’t have the high-powered attack to keep up the pace with most good MAC offenses, and while the run defense has been fine, it got shoved around by Temple and ripped up by Toledo. The teams one dimensional teams on the slate haven’t had much of a problem working that one dimension against MU, and Ohio should be able to do a little bit of everything right.
What To Watch Out For: Call this a tone-setter for Dysert going into next year. He was hurt late last season when Miami won the MAC title, and while he has done everything he can to carry an offense without a running game, he’s not leading the way to wins. He has thrown for 300 yards or more in four of his last five games with 364 yards and three scores against Temple and 413 yards and three touchdowns last week against Western Michigan, and last year he carved up the Bobcats for 332 yards and two scores, but threw four picks, in the loss.
Ohio’s Matt Weller has been a savior for a team that’s fought through close game after close game. On the year he has nailed 22-of-29 field goals including 5-of-6 against Bowling Green. His one miss came from 47 yards out, while his two misses against Temple were from 48 and 53 yards away. He might not have deep accuracy, but he’s a rock from 40 yards and in.
What Will Happen: Ohio is the better team and it’ll go on to the MAC title game and play well, but it’s going to struggle with motivation this week. MU has played well over the last two weeks but with nothing to show for it. Dysert will throw for 300 and the fired up RedHawks will pull off the upset by hanging on late.
CFN Prediction: Miami 24 … Ohio 23
Click For Latest Line From ATS: Ohio -7 O/U: 53.5
13 MAC Previews Part 2
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