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Week 3 MAC - BGSU-Indiana & More, Part 1
Posted Sep 12, 2013

Week 3 - MAC Fearless Predictions, Bowling Green at Indiana & More

- Bowling Green at Indiana & More, Part 1
- Marshall at Ohio & More, Part 2

Bowling Green (2-0) at Indiana (1-1) Sept. 14, 12:00, ESPNU

Why You Should Give A Hoot: Is this one of the big chances for the MAC to make a statement? Northern Illinois beat Iowa, and Bowling Green is also a MAC title favorite with the potential to give a Big Ten team a bad day. Coming off a blowout win over Kent State and a dominant performance over a Tulsa team that could win Conference USA, this is a sneaky-good Falcon team looking to do what the Huskies did last season and shock the world on the way to the BCS – the team has that much potential. However, Indiana is coming in a bit desperate and looking to rebound after a tough loss to Navy. The Hoosiers have to deal with Missouri next week and the Big Ten slate to follow, and if they want to go bowling, they probably can’t afford to drop a second straight home game.

Why Bowling Green Might Win: The Falcons should be able to hang on to the ball and keep the Indiana offense off the field. It’s not like the offense is cranking out long drives – it’s struggling so far on third downs – but it’s doing a great job of milking the clock offensively while getting the defense off the field. The Falcons are third in the nation in time of possession, while IU has only been hanging on to the ball for 27 minutes a game. The Falcon running game is just good enough to control the tempo against a still-improving Hoosier defensive front.

Why Indiana Might Win: The firefight. The Bowling Green offense has been efficient and effective so far, but IU has far more firepower. The Hoosiers are actually improving against the run, but they couldn’t handle the Navy option attack and they couldn’t seem to get the defense off the field. The passing game blew up against the Midshipmen and has been nearly perfect over the first two games. If IU can get up early and make Bowling Green press, this could get into the type of shootout that should be a positive.

Who To Watch Out For: How was Bowling Green supposed to go on without Anthon Samuel running the ball? In one of the biggest surprises so far this season, wide receiver Travis Greene has turned into a dangerous, slippery runner who started out the year with 88 yards against Tulsa and 145 last week against Kent State. He’s not a pounder at just 5-10 and 176 pounds, but he’s turning into a key part of the puzzle.

What Will Happen: Get ready for a fun shootout and a big statement being made by Bowling Green. Matt Johnson has taken over and is turning into a nice passing option, and the defense has been terrific so far and should be aggressive and productive. The Falcons will control the clock and the game, and IU won’t be able to rally back.
Prediction: Bowling Green 34 … Indiana 30
Line: Indiana -3 o/u: 63.5
Must See Rating: (5 Boardwalk Empire – 1 Teen Beach Movie) ... 3

Akron (1-1) at Michigan (2-0) Sept. 14, 12:00, BTN

Why You Should Give A Hoot: Maybe Michigan is that “it” team. After looking terrific against Notre Dame, maybe it’s that team that no one really thought much about in the national title hunt, but has the goods to fight through a decent schedule and be right there at the end – at least that’s the hope for the Maize and Blue fans. Akron is just trying to get its head above water, slipping past James Madison last week and with Louisiana-Lafayette and Bowling Green to come. It’ll take a massive, massive upset to be anything better than 1-6 before going to Miami University, but the Zips have to keep improving and will look for any positive signs in a game like this.

Why Akron Might Win: The letdown factor? Michigan isn’t exactly focusing on dealing with Connecticut next week, but it’s coming off the emotional win over Notre Dame and might not bring the A effort. The only way the Zips have any way of keeping this close, or at make it slightly interesting, could be by owning field position. Punting has been a slight issue for the Wolverines so far, while the Akron is getting a great season out of Zach Paul and a punting game that’s averaging 44 yards per try.

Why Michigan Might Win: The Akron secondary gives up way too many big plays. UCF was able to do whatever it wanted in the 38-7 opening weekend win, and James Madison’s Michael Birdsong bombed away for 310 yards and three scores. The Zip pass rush has been terrific so far, but the results haven’t been there for the pass defense. With Devin Gardner’s mobility, he should be able to buy time to connect with …

Who To Watch Out For: Jeremy Gallon, who ripped apart Notre Dame for 184 yards and three touchdowns on eight catches. The senior has had a decent career, but nothing special, and then everything changed last season as soon as Gardner took over the starting quarterback gig with 31 of his grabs coming over the last five games. With his extreme speed to go along with his experience, he should be even more of a factor as the season goes on.

What Will Happen: Michigan will keep the momentum going. The Akron defense won’t have any answers early on and Gardner will be sharp on the way to a big first quarter lead. The Zips will come up with a few scores, but the Wolverines will coast.
Prediction: Michigan 51 … Akron 10
Line: Michigan -37 o/u: 58
Must See Rating: (5 Boardwalk Empire – 1 Teen Beach Movie) ... 1.5

Eastern Michigan (1-1) at Rutgers (1-1) Sept. 14, 1:00, ESPN3

Why You Should Give A Hoot: Rutgers and Eastern Michigan share similar starts to the 2013 season, achieving a two-game split at the expense of an FCS opponent. The Scarlet Knights began to shake the memory of their opening night heartbreaking loss to Fresno State with a 38-0 whitewash of Norfolk State. The victory gave the team a chance to work on the small things, such as tackling and more physicality. The Eagles fell on Saturday to Penn State, 45-7, a week after slipping past Howard.
Why Eastern Michigan Might Win: The Rutgers D remains a work-in-progress, one that the Eagles will attempt to exploit on the ground. RB Bronson Hill has a proven track record of keeping the chains moving, while QB Tyler Benz is a senior and a returning starter.
Why Rutgers Might Win: Too much offensive firepower. The Scarlet Knights have really clicked in the first two games behind the passing of Gary Nova and the running of former walk-on Paul James. James has been a revelation so far in Piscataway, leading the American in rushing.
Who To Watch Out For: The Eagles will have their hands full with Rutgers receivers Brandon Coleman and Leonte Carroo. Eastern Michigan defensive backs struggled badly last week to contain Penn State's Allen Robinson.

- In the market for defensive playmakers, Rutgers has found one in sideline-to-sideline LB Steve Longa. The Knights' man in the middle has a team-high 17 tackles to go along with a couple of forced fumbles.
What Will Happen: The Knights made the necessary Week 2 adjustments, especially on defense, to continue surging ahead in 2013. Their offensive balance will overpower an Eastern Michigan visitor that lacks the weapons to keep pace in this type of a game.
Prediction: Rutgers 40 … Eastern Michigan 10
Line: Rutgers -27 o/u: 49
Must See Rating: (5 Boardwalk Empire – 1 Teen Beach Movie) … 1.5

Stony Brook (1-0) at Buffalo (0-2) Sept. 14, 3:30, ESPN3

Why You Should Give A Hoot: No, really, Buffalo is better than this. This was supposed to be the year when the defense started to take over and be excellent, but Ohio State and Baylor in back-to-back weeks didn’t help the stats. The Bears did whatever they wanted in a 70-13 win, but now the Bulls are at home against an FCS team – that’s not as easy as it sounds. Stony Brook started out the season with a win over Rhode Island, and while URI is supposed to be among the worst teams in the Colonial, it was a 24-0 shutout.

Why Stony Brook Might Win: Marcus Coker. If the name sounds familiar, the former Iowa running back is now the star of the Stony Brook show, running for 78 yards and a touchdown last week. He had to work for the yards, but he’s a talented back with the upside and potential to rip through a UB defense that’s giving up big plays in chunks. The Seawolves have to mix it up and get quarterback Lyle Negron into the action early – UB has had problems so far with mobile quarterbacks.

Why Buffalo Might Win: Rhode Island didn’t score, but it got blown out because it kept screwing up. Stony Brook’s defense had something to do with it, but the three fumbles turned a tight battle into a blowout. URI moved the ball through the air, and while there weren’t any deep passes, the dinks and dunks were effective. Buffalo should be able to get the passing game working early against a soft Seawolf secondary, and it starts with …

Who To Watch Out For: Alex Neutz. The UB veteran target has been the lone bright spot so far, catching nine passes for 98 yards and a touchdown against the Bradley Roby-less Ohio State secondary, and he followed it up with six catches for 197 yards and a score against Baylor. The Bulls have to keep pressing with the passing game, and it might be a necessity to keep up.

What Will Happen: Don’t dismiss Stony Brook. Coker could run for 100 yards and carry the day, but the Bulls will finally get a little bit of production from the defense to go along with a balance offensive attack. It won’t be pretty, but it’ll be a win.
Prediction: Buffalo 23 … Stony Brook 20
Line: Buffalo -12 o/u: 44
Must See Rating: (5 Boardwalk Empire – 1 Teen Beach Movie) ... 1.5

Ball State (2-0) at North Texas (1-1) Sept. 14, 4:00, FSN

Why You Should Give A Hoot: The underrated matchup between the two signal-callers in this one should be an intriguing one to pay close attention to. Ball State’s Keith Wenning has been threading it, and so has North Texas’ Derek Thompson. Most have no idea who these two are, but they have had a large say thus far in the season for their programs.

Why Ball State Might Win: The Cardinals are poised under Pete Lembo to get back into the postseason, but they need their defense to be able to get a few more stops. Luckily, their offense is strong enough to help pick up some of the slack. Spreading the ball out wide with wide receivers Jamill Smith and Willie Snead has been great so far, as both are over 100 yards on the season. Their ability to stretch the field will allow their running game to develop, which certainly gives them an excellent chance of building a lead into the fourth quarter.

Why North Texas Might Win: Army absolutely gashed Ball State and it cannot slow anybody down with its small defensive front. If Army can run roughshod, there is no telling what North Texas can do with a fairly balanced offense. Talented WR Darnell Smith had a nice game in Week 2, and we could see an even better performance going up against a questionable secondary.

Who To Watch Out For: Wenning. The Muncie star quarterback is coming off his eighth game in which he threw for 300-plus yards, and there is no telling how many more of those games he can put together this season. In a game that should feature plenty of points, Wenning is the player a coach wants leading his team when it’s crunch time.

What Will Happen: Ball State may not be the sexiest squad out there, let alone even in the MAC, but it has had two consecutive non-losing seasons. Coming off a tremendous 9-4 year where they lost in the Beef ‘O’ Brady’s Bowl, the Cardinals have built a foundation for continued success under Lembo. They will go through some growing pains throughout the season, but this won’t be one of them.
Prediction: Ball State 34 … North Texas 28
Line: Ball State -3 o/u: 63
Must See Rating: (5 Boardwalk Empire – 1 Teen Beach Movie) … 1

- Bowling Green at Indiana & More, Part 1
- Marshall at Ohio & More, Part 2