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2013 MAC Pre-Spring Preview
Kent State RB Dri Archer
Kent State RB Dri Archer
CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Mar 2, 2013


2013 MAC Pre-Spring Preview - Why Every MAC Team Should Be Fired Up

2013 Pre-Spring Preview   

Why To Be Excited - MAC


2013 MAC Pre-Spring Preview
- Why Every Team Should Be Excited
- Why Every Team Should Be Grouchy
- What Every Team Needs To Work On  
- MAC East Schedule Breakdown
- MAC West Schedule Breakdown
- MAC Composite Schedule Breakdown
- 2013 MAC Pre-Preseason Rankings 

EAST
 
Akron
Start: April 2 Spring Game: April 27

The Zips welcome back 15 starters including running back Jawon Chisolm and most of the top receivers from an attack that led the MAC in passing averaging 313 yards per game. Terry Bowden is now firmly entrenched after getting through his first year at the helm and has a rising team with plenty of young depth and options. There will be plenty of big battles throughout spring ball, especially at quarterback, but the competition across the board should be solid.

Bowling Green
Start: March 13 Spring Game: April 12

Everything is in place to go on a run for the MAC title and a good bowl game – the expectations are rightfully high. After a nice eight-win season and a bowl appearance, the Falcons should be among the league’s favorites with ten starters returning on offense – only losing right tackle Jordon Roussos – and with nine coming back on the league’s best defense. If quarterback Matt Schilz can come up with a decent season, and if running back Anthon Samuel can build on his great 2012 to make the offense improve, this upside for 2013 is through the roof.

Buffalo
Start: March 26 Spring Game: April 20

A little bit of an offensive boost will likely mean the difference between 4-8 and 6-6. If the UB offense is ever going to start working, it has to happen in 2013 with nine starters returning losing guard Graham Whinery and tackle Gokhan Ozkan off the right side. After being dinged up throughout last season, running back Branden Oliver is back along with dynamic young speedster Devin Campbell and veteran Brandon Murray. The quarterback play has to be better, but Joe Licata worked through the freshman kinks and should be a bit better, and receiver Alex Neutz should be among the league’s top targets.

Kent State
Start: April 2, Spring Game: April 27

Dri Archer. The terrific team of last year loses a ton of talent on both sides of the ball, and new head coach Paul Haynes has a ton of work to do, but one of the nation’s top playmakers returns in the backfield. Archer and fellow running back Trayion Durham should form a deadly 1-2 punch even with the O line needing to be revamped. Only four starters are back on defense, but Roosevelt Nix should be the league’s best defensive lineman.

Massachusetts

It’s still a rebuilding process. Seven starters return to a defense that was inconsistent and struggled, but this was a really, really young group that took its lumps. There’s hope on the ends with Kevin Byrne and Stanley Andre returning. The Minutemen started two freshmen outside linebackers, and now Kassan Messiah and Jovan Santos-Knox are experienced and true sophomore John Robinson will get a look in the middle. Freshmen quarterbacks A.J. Doyle and Mike Wegzyn also struggled but have a year under their belts.

Miami University
Start: March 25, Spring Game: April 26

There’s a ton of returning experience from a team that lost three of its last four games by a touchdown or less. Eight starters are back on offense including leading receiver Nick Harwell and promising target Dawon Scott to help out quarterback Austin Boucher, who’s just experienced enough to be able to step in and produce with Zac Dysert gone. Four starters are back on an offensive line that struggled, but was young, and seven starters return to a defense that rocky defense that will at least be experienced.

Ohio
Start: March 13, Spring Game: April 13

The offense that found its groove in the bowl blowout over ULM should be back and rolling. The attack died late in the season, but with quarterback Tyler Tettleton and seven other starters returning, this should be among the MAC’s most efficient offenses. Star running back Beau Blankenship is back along with Donte Foster and all the top receivers. The defense loses several key players, but the secondary should be terrific with corners Ian Wells and Larenzo Fisher along with safety Josh Kristoff all growing into their roles.

WEST

Ball State
Start: March 26 Spring Game: April 20

The Cardinals were able to find ways to win with a defense that struggled mightily against the run and didn’t get into the backfield nearly often enough. With eight starters coming back, the D should be more efficient and more effective. Offensively, Jawhan Edwards is one of the MAC’s best backs, but the attack should thrive mostly through the air with quarterback Keith Wenning and all the top targets returning including speedy Willie Snead on the outside and tight end Zane Fakes. Three starters return to a defense that should be better with more help from the defensive front.

Central Michigan
Start: March 12 Spring Game: April 13

The Chippewas roared over the back part of the 2012 season winning four of their final five games. While there’s work to be done on offense, and a new starting quarterback has to emerge, Zurlon Tipton is a terrific back to revolve the offense around, while Titus Davis leads a strong group of receivers. The linebacking corps improved as the season went on, and now it welcomes back all three starters along with all the key backups. There are enough good pieces in place to hope for the momentum to continue.

Eastern Michigan
Start: March 12, Spring Game: TBD

As bad as the 2-10 season might have been, there were a few signs of life here and there in close losses to decent teams like Toledo and Central Michigan. There might be miles to go to get back to being in the hunt for six wins, but Tyler Benz is a good-looking young quarterback who got his feet wet last year and running back Bronson Hill is a good back who should be in for a nice season if the passing game can take some of the heat off.

Northern Illinois
Start: March 20, Spring Game: April 13

Dave Doeren was a terrific head coach, and it might be a new year with a new team, but almost the entire offense is back only losing receiver Perez Ashford and tight end Jason Scepler. The entire offensive line returns, Akeem Daniels and the running backs are back, and, of course, quarterback Jordan Lynch is going to be on all the preseason Heisman lists. New head coach Rod Carey is inheriting a heater that should average around 40 points per game without much of a problem.

Toledo
Start: March 14, Spring Game: April 12

The Rockets are absolutely loaded on offense. Northern Illinois might have the league’s best attack, but Toledo should be able to keep up with anyone with nine starters returning including quarterback Terrance Owens and four starters on the line. The receiving corps should be devastating with Bernard Reedy and Alonzo Russell two terrific playmakers to work around. Throw in running back David Fluellen, who averaged 125 yards per game, and this will be a nasty team to keep in check.

Western Michigan
Start: March 19, Spring Game: April 20

Is this the year the defense finally turns into a killer? The Broncos have had some dangerous and aggressive defenses over the years, and experience hasn’t always translated into production, but this year should be different with nine starters returning to a group that had some nice moments. It was consistently mediocre, and was disastrous against Kent State and Northern Illinois, but with the entire back eight returning, and only losing ends Deauntay Legrier and Freddie Bishop, the potential is there to go from decent to fantastic.

2013 MAC Pre-Spring Preview
- Why Every Team Should Be Excited
- Why Every Team Should Be Grouchy
- What Every Team Needs To Work On  
- MAC East Schedule Breakdown
- MAC West Schedule Breakdown
- MAC Composite Schedule Breakdown
- 2013 MAC Pre-Preseason Rankings