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CFN Take: CMU Bowl Eligible With Win Over EMU
Posted Nov 29, 2013

Central Michigan Chippewas 2012 ... Head Coach: Dan Enos

Central Michigan Chippewas

2013 Record: 3-6
8/31 at Michigan L 59-9
9/7 New Hampshire W 24-21
9/14 at UNLV L 31-21
9/21 Toledo L 38-17
9/28 at NC State L 48-14
10/5 at Miami Univ. W 21-9
10/12 at Ohio W 26-23
10/19 NIU L 38-17
11/6 at Ball State L 44-24
11/16 at Western Michigan W 27-22
11/23 UMass W 37-0
11/29 Eastern Michigan W 42-10
at Central Michigan 42, Eastern Michigan 10
Basically … Central Michigan got touchdown runs from Zurlon Tipton from four, one, 86 and 44 yards away, and Courtney Williams returned the opening kickoff of the second half for a touchdown on the way to an easy win. The Chippewas scored the first 21 points of the game before EMU got on the board with a 24-yard Dylan Mulder field goal and a ten-yard Cole Gardner catch before the end of the first half. The D finished things off with a 75-yard pick six from Avery Cunningham.
- Central Michigan RB Zurlon Tipton ran 20 times for 216 yards and four scores
- Eastern Michigan RB Bronson Hill ran 25 times for 166 yards
- The two teams combined for 12 penalties and five turnovers
- Eastern Michigan WR Dustin Creel caught ten passes for 109 yards

at Ball State 44, Central Michigan 24
Basically … Ball State cruised after scoring the first 21 points on three of Keith Wenning’s four touchdown passes including a 13-yarder to Willie Snead, who also caught one-yard touchdown pass in the third. Down 41-10, Central Michigan got a 26-yard touchdown run from Cooper Rush in the fourth and a 22-yard Titus Davis scoring grab.
- Ball State QB Keith Wenning completed 20-of-29 passes for 299 yards and four scores.
- Central Michigan WR Titus Davis caught nine passes for 187 yards and a score.
- Central Michigan turned it over three times, and Ball State didn’t give the ball away.
- Ball State WR Willie Snead caught nine passes for 118 yards and two scores.

Northern Illinois 38, at Central Michigan 17
Basically … NIU’s Jordan Lynch set the NCAA record for the most yards run for by a quarterback with 316 with touchdown runs from five, one and three yards out. The Huskies trailed 14-7 in the first quarter on two Cooper Rush touchdown passes for CMU, but that was it for the fun. NIU outscored CMU 31-3 the rest of the way.
- There’s the Jordan Lynch we’ve all been waiting for. He ran 32 times for 316 yards and three scores, and he completed 20-of-30 passes for 155 yards and a score with an interception. He took control of the game and never let it go, leading NIU to 437 rushing yards.
- Everything seemed so promising for Central Michigan early, but the offense fizzled in the second half after Lynch and the NIU running game dominated. CMU could never establish Saylor Lavallii and the ground attack, but Titus Davis was Titus Davis with five catches for 109 yards and a score.

Central Michigan 26, at Ohio 23
Basically … Courtney Williams caught a five-yard touchdown pass from Cooper Rush with 22 seconds to play to give Central Michigan the surprising win. In a seesaw game, Ohio got two touchdown passes from Tyler Tettleton including a 69-yarder to Chase Cochran, and Ryan Boykin gave the team a four point lead with under five minutes to play on a one-yard run, but CMU was able to come back to get the win. Rush threw three touchdown passes for the Chippewas.
- In several ways, this was one of the biggest wins in the Dan Enos era. There wasn’t any Titus Davis at receiver to rely on, but Cooper Rush was still terrific completing 20-of-28 passes for 224 yards with three touchdowns and a pick. Saylor Laviallii continues to be one of the MAC’s best backs with 184 yards with a receiving score; he was a steadying factor for a CMU offense that held the ball for almost 36 minutes.
- Devastating. Considering Ohio set up perfectly with an easy schedule up until the road games at Buffalo and Bowling Green, losing to a mediocre Central Michigan squad could become a killer in the MAC East race. The four turnovers helped to keep the Chippewas alive, but it was the inability of the defense to get off the field, or come up with a stop late, that proved fatal. The running game still hasn’t found its stride – the Bobcats finished with just 107 yards.

Central Michigan 21, at Miami University 9
Basically … Saylor Lavallii ran for scores from 16 and three yards out and Maurice Shoemaker-Gilmore ran for a 16-yard score as Central Michigan took the lead late in the third quarter and closed well with 14 unanswered points. Miami started out the scoring with a 40-yard Kaleb Patterson field goal, and got in the end zone on a ten-yard David Frazier touchdown catch, but that was it for a sputtering offense that couldn’t take advantage of a few late chances.
- The Central Michigan offense didn’t crank out anything big, and the 294 yards were hardly impressive, but Saylor Lavallii carried the attack with 151 yards and two scores on 25 carries. There were two turnovers, but only two penalties as the O did what it needed to do to break through late against a struggling team.
- And that’s it for the Don Treadwell era. The Miami offense just didn’t score, and after a disastrous start to the season, the administration pulled the plug. The RedHawk short passing game didn’t come up with enough long drives against CMU, but the rushing attack had one of its better games. However, the nine points once again showed the offensive woes and why a change was needed. Offensive coordinator Jon Klacik was let go, too. Mike Bath was named the interim head man.

at NC State 48, Central Michigan 14
Basically … The Wolfpack took a 38-0 lead in a laugher, getting points from everywhere. The defense started things off with a 37-yard pick six from D.J. Green, the running game came up with home runs from Shadrach Thornton and Matt Dayes for scores on three straight second quarter drives, and Rashard Smith added a 67-yard punt return for a touchdown. CMU finally got on the board with two fourth quarter touchdowns on a 13-yard Titus Davis catch and a 38-yard Maurice Shoemaker-Gilmore run, but NC State answered with an 80-yard Bryan Underwood touchdown catch.
- After the loss to Clemson, NC State didn’t come out down in any way. It might have taken a little bit for the offense to get going, but the running game destroyed the CMU front line early on. The Wolfpack finished with 239 yards on the ground.
- CMU tried to get the rushing attack on track early on, but it wasn’t even close to working. Saylor Lavalli was held to 16 yards on 14 carries, and there wasn’t any consistent help from Cooper Rush and the passing game.
- The NC State secondary swarmed, and while the defense let up off the gas late, it didn’t allow much of anything early on and jumped all over the short-to-midrange plays. Everyone got in on the act.
- The Chippewas did a decent job getting into the backfield, making two sacks and doing some decent things early on against the run, but it all broke down in the second quarter. The offense didn’t provide any support.

Toledo 38, at Central Michigan 17
Basically … Toledo broke open a tight game in the fourth quarter on touchdown runs from Damion Jones-Moore and David Fluellen to put it away. Terrance Owens came off the bench and threw a three-yard touchdown pass to Alonzo Russell, and the defense got into the act with a 22-yard fumble return for a score from Junior Sylvestre. CMU kept fighting with a 19-yard TD catch from Connor Odykirk and a one-yard score from Saylor Lavallii late in the first, but the offense could only manage a field goal in the second half.
- The Rockets might have had some key players banged up, but they fought through it. Terrance Owens was magnificent, completing 13-of-17 passes for 139 yards and a score, and David Fluellen, on a gimpy ankle ran for 197 yards and two scores on 32 carries.
- This was one of CMU’s better efforts, even in the loss. Saylor Lavallii continues to try carrying the offense, with 24 carries for 144 yards and a score, but the offensive line struggled mightily in the second half.
- There were too many plays made down the field, but CMU LB Justin Cherocci was terrific with 15 tackles with a tackle for loss and a fumble recovery. The CMU D’s problem was pressure into the backfield. There wasn’t any.
- Chase Murdock was a playmaker for the Rockets. Justin Sylvestre tied for the team lead with 12 tackles with a sack and two fumble recoveries, including a scoop-and-score, but Murdock was just as dominant with 12 stops, two sacks and a pick.

at UNLV 31, Central Michigan 21, Sept. 14
Basically … Central Michigan took a 21-0 lead on two three-yard Saylor Lavallii touchdown runs and a 20-yard Titus Davis scoring grab, and then it was all UNLV the rest of the way with 31 unanswered points. Caleb Herring connected with Devante Davis on touchdown passes from 12, 42 and 12 yards out, and Tim Cornett ran for a 12-yard score in the rally for the win.
- For the moment, this was a program and job saver for UNLV’s Bobby Hauck. Central Michigan has had a nightmare start to the season, and to get down 21 at home was a disaster. The second half was what the Rebel offense can become.
- Central Michigan really, really misses Zurlon Tipton and a steady running game. It should’ve been able to hold on to a 21-point lead, and couldn’t. Saylor Lavallii has been good, but he was held to 3.4 yards per carry and no one else picked up the slack.
- Caleb Herring was on. He might not have gotten the offense going early, but he completed 24-of-28 passes for 266 yards and three scores, finding a weapon in Devante Davis, who caught seven passes for 140 yards and three scores. There’s potential with this UNLV attack, and finally, it stopped making the big mistakes that proved costly over the first few games.
- Titus Davis continues to have a great year for a bad Chippewa team. He caught eight passes for 116 yards and a score, but he’s not getting enough help.

at Central Michigan 24, New Hampshire 21, Sept. 7
Basically … Ron Coluzzi connected on a 27-yard field goal with no time left on the clock to complete a wild Central Michigan comeback. Down 21-7 in the fourth, Cooper Rush found Andrew Flory for a 20-yard touchdown and connected with Titus Davis for a 97-yard touchdown to tie the game with just over nine minutes to play, leading to Coluzzi’s heroics. Davis added a nine-yard touchdown catch in the third quarter to keep the Chippewas in the game, but UNH answered with a two-yard Nico Steriti touchdown run for its final points of the game.
- Cooper Rush might have had an uneven game, but he led the way to the win. Titus Davis made him look great, but he moved the offense and showed he deserves an even longer look and a bigger chance.
- It’s not going overboard to suggest that Titus Davis saved the season. After the ugliness in the opener against Michigan, the Chippewas couldn’t afford a loss to an FCS team, even a good one like New Hampshire, and Davis’s 97-yard touchdown play could be the season’s signature moment.
- Without star running back Zurlon Tipton, Saylor Lavallii filled in and ran 20 times for 93 yards. There’s no wiggle, but he’s a tough runner.

at Michigan 59, Central Michigan 9, Aug. 31
Basically … Devin Gardner threw two of Michigan’s three interceptions, but everything else seemed to work just fine as he hit Jeremy Gallon for a 16-yard touchdown and ran for two scores. Fitzgerald Toussaint also ran for two short touchdowns in the blowout. The defense held CMU to 210 yards of total offense, while the special teams scored first on a blocked punt for a score. CMU managed three Ron Coluzzi field goals.
- It’s not like everything was perfect. There were three interceptions and seven penalties, but for the most part, there’s nothing for Michigan to complain about scoring the most points in any opener since 1905.
- So how did the new guys do? Star quarterback recruit Shane Morris completed 4-of-6 passes for 59 yards with a pick, running back Derrick Green ran 11 times for 58 yards and a score, and top tight end prospect Jake Butt caught a pass for eight yards.
- There was nowhere for the CMU ground game to go. Zurlon Tipton ran for ten yards on four carries and the team finished with 66 yards on 29 runs.
- Who’s going to replace Jake Ryan as Michigan’s top pass rusher? Cameron Gordon came up with two of the team’s four sacks, and the team generated nine tackles for loss.

Spring Analysis

Why To Be Excited ... 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.

Why To Be Grouchy ... Why did the offense improve so much over the second half of last year? Eric Fisher and the offensive line started to dominate, but he’s gone along with two other starters up front. Losing quarterback Ryan Radcliff will be a step back for the attack, while the defense that didn’t rush the passer last season has to try to improve despite losing Joe Kinville and Caesar Rodriguez on the outside. Making matters worse is the loss of playmaking strong safety Jahleel Addae and corners Anthony Young and Lorenzo White

What Needs Working On ... The defensive front has to make a play behind the line of scrimmage. Losing both starting defensive ends might not be the end of the world considering the Chippewas finished second-to-last in the nation in tackles for loss and couldn’t generate any semblance of a pass rush. The secondary didn’t struggle too much, but it could’ve used some more help. This spring, it’ll be vital to come up with a few new wrinkles and get more creative, and fortunately, the veteran linebackers are in place to utilize more.

Non-Conference Games: at Michigan, New Hampshire, at UNLV, at NC State
Games Against The East: at Miami Univ., Ohio, UMass
Realistic Best Case Record: 6-6
Worst Case Record: 2-10
Likely Finish: 3-9

Pre-Preseason Projected Wins: New Hampshire, UMass, Eastern Michigan

Pre-Preseason Projected Losses: at Michigan, at UNLV, Toledo, at NC State, at Miami Univ., at Ohio, Northern Illinois, at Ball State, at Western Michigan

Schedule Analysis: The Chippewas will have a hard time capitalizing on a strong end to last season with a road game at Michigan to kick things off and dates at UNLV and NC State making it a rough September. Five of the first seven and seven of the first ten games are away from Mount Pleasant, and while getting ten days off to prepare for Western Michigan will be needed, it might not matter. Closing out against UMass and Eastern Michigan at home should help end things on a high note, but they’ll come after a rough overall road.

Team Concerns For 2013: The pass rush has to show up. 100th in the nation in sacks, the front four failed to do nearly enough to bother the quarterback, while there weren't enough tackles for loss to help out a mediocre run defense. The offense was fine, but the ground game needs to be more effective behind a solid offensive line. The punt return game has to improve after averaging a miserable 2.58 yards per try. The punting could stand to be better after netting just 35.6 yards per try.

The 2013 Class Is Heavy On ... Offensive linemen. Getting defensive tackle Michael Steinhauer and safety Josh Cox should help out a defense full of decent prospects. The defensive backfield should turn out to be one of the biggest keys to this class, while linebackers Jeffrey Perry and Joey Ostman will eventually be factors. Mark Chapman leads an excellent haul of receivers, and Darrien Boone is a good looking passer, but the class is most helped by the offensive linemen. Derek Edwards is a terrific guard prospect and tackle Jack Ford and guard J.P. Quinn should eventually be a key part of the puzzle.

2012 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 77. That Class Was Heavy On ... The secondary needs a lot of help. Head coach Dan Enos has struggled in his first few seasons and needs as many options as possible to battle for jobs right away. This is a huge class with a little something for all spots, but safety will be the strongest position and the offensive line will get a big boost. The receiving corps is apparently set with just a few prospects coming in. 

2011 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 90. That Class Was Heavy On ... Tight ends. Apparently, head coach Dan Enos thinks the team needs more options for the offense with four tight ends coming in to go along with Jason Wilson and some nice wide receivers. Ben McCord, Blake Serpa, and Ben Randle are good pickups, but there should be some moving around of positions. The spotlight, though, will be on QB Alex Niznak, a 6-4, 225-pound passer who could get a long, long look right away. Defensive tackle was a target led by 6-1, 300-pound Shafer Johnson.
2010 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 112. That Class Was Heavy On ... The defensive front seven. New head man Dan Enos had roughly ten minutes to work, and it showed with a mediocre class that will need some developing. The one positive area was up front on defense with Kevin Henry a near-certain all star end with the potential to bulk up into a tackle. Caleb Southworth is a nice speed rushing prospect, while linebackers Tyler Lombardo, Andy Phillips, and Nores Fradi will be a big deal in three years.

2009 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 75. That Class Was Heavy On ... Running backs. The idea is to get as many good athletes as possible and find positions for them, and the Chippewas have brought in four good backs, led by the small, but speedy, Malek Redd, along with two good receivers in Cody Wilson and Ronny Kennedy who aren’t all that big, but can be used in a variety of ways.

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