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MAC Fearless Predictions, Week 5, Part 2

CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Sep 22, 2006


Preview and predictions for the week five MAC games ... Part 2


MAC
East  Akron | Bowling Green | Buffalo | Kent State | Miami Univ. | Ohio
West  Ball State | Central Mich | Eastern Mich | Northern Illinois | Toledo | West Michigan
Past MAC Predictions:
Week One | Week Two | Week Three | Week Four

How'd we do so far? 34-7 straight up, 19-14-2 ATS


Week Five MAC Fearless Predictions | Get Tickets for These Games

Eastern Michigan (0-4) at UL Lafayette (1-2) 5:00 PM EST  Saturday September 30th
Why to Watch: Each team is looking at this as a must win and a possible shot to get the season going after a rough start. Eastern Michigan is coming off a rough 24-17 overtime loss to Central Michigan to all but kill any dreams of winning the MAC West title, and now it resumes life on the road with its fourth road game of the season with yet another away game in two weeks against Bowling Green. UL Lafayette finally played someone its own size blowing out North Carolina A&T last week 48-7, and it desperately needs this win with a trip, and a likely loss, to Houston next week.
Why Eastern Michigan Might Win: UL Lafayette is as one-dimensional as it gets with no passing game whatsoever. Eastern Michigan's defense hasn't been able to stop anyone's ground attack yet, but it's had the biggest problems when offenses started to balance things out. Ball State and Central Michigan at least had the ability to beat the Eagles through the air; ULL doesn't. If this game is tight and comes down to special teams, EMU has a huge advantage.
Why UL Lafayette Might Win: EMU had to face mobile quarterbacks over the last two weeks and wasn't even close to coming up with stops. Central Michigan's Brian Brunner, despite being rusty after missing time with a concussion, ran for 72 yards and two touchdowns, while Northwestern's Mike Kafka averaged 6.6 yards per carry in the 14-6 Wildcat win. Running backs Tyrell Fenroy and Deon Wallace have done the most damage so far for the Ragin' Cajuns, but quarterbacks Jerry Babb and Michael Desormeaux will likely change that this week.
Who to Watch: Eastern Michigan's quarterback situation is shaky at best. With starter Tyler Jones out because of a shoulder injury, Andy Schmitt is the main option and is the best passer in the bunch. However, he's iffy at best after suffering a jaw injury. That means redshirt freshman Dontayo Gage, who's mainly a runner, will have to try to match the ULL quarterbacks yard for yard.
What Will Happen: Eastern Michigan's offense is too unsettled to win a shootout, but it'll get just enough defense, and just enough big plays from WR Eric Deslauriers, to come away with the win.
CFN Prediction
: Eastern Michigan 26 ... UL Lafayette 20 ... Line: UL Lafayette -6.5
Must See Rating: (5 skip the birth of your first born - 1 Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip) ... 2
   

Central Michigan (2-2) at Kentucky (2-2) 6:00 PM EST  Saturday September 30th
Why to Watch: These two teams might not have stellar records, but they're not all that bad and are in the thick of the bowl game hunt. Kentucky needs this win or dreams of an extra game could quickly be dashed leaving little margin for error the rest of the way, while Central Michigan could use a trophy win before getting back into MAC play. The Chippewas beat Akron and Eastern Michigan to take a big step in the hunt for a MAC title, but a win over an SEC team would go a long way to getting the MAC's second bowl slot if they don't win the title. These are two entertaining teams with interesting offenses, so it should be a good battle.
Why Central Michigan Might Win: If CMU can finally get its running game on track, it should be able to blow past the UK defensive front. Quarterback Brian Brunner, back from a concussion suffered against Boston College, and Dan LeFevour, if he plays through back spasms, can each run effectively, and RB Ontario Sneed is way overdue for a big game. UK allowed 363 rushing yards to Louisville, 205 to Ole Miss, and 235 to Florida. Getting to 200 shouldn't be a problem for CMU.
Why Kentucky Might Win: Teams have been picking apart the Central Michigan secondary like it's not even there. Boston College and Akron each threw for over 300 yards without much of a problem, and UK should be able to do the same. QB Andre Woodson has been excellent so far mixing up the deep passes with an efficient short game with plenty of big plays against average defenses. CMU's defense qualifies.
Who to Watch: Does Kentucky have its running game back? Top back Rafael Little missed out on the Florida game after his injured knee wasn't quite ready yet, and he had to sit and wonder on the sidelines what kind of a difference he might have made when the game was still tight early on. Making matters worse was a bruised shin problem for Tony Dixon leaving Alfonso Smith as the main runner. With the SEC schedule kicking back in next week, the Wildcats need their runners to be healthy and productive, so it'll be interesting to note how much work each of the backs gets.
What Will Happen: Kentucky will hit on several big plays to overcome a big day from the CMU ground game. UK WR Keenan Burton will score on two long passes killing a little bit of early CMU momentum.
CFN Prediction
: Kentucky 27 ... Central Michigan 20 ... Line: Kentucky -6.5
Must See Rating: (5 skip the birth of your first born - 1 Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip) ... 2
   

Northern Illinois (2-2) at Ball State (1-3) 6:30 PM EST  Saturday September 30th
Why to Watch: Even with a rocky three-game slide and a weird 29-24 loss to North Dakota State, Ball State is in the MAC West race after starting the season with a win over Eastern Michigan and with Buffalo coming up next. But first looms a Northern Illinois team that's finally starting to look like the team everyone was thinking would roll through MAC play. Unfortunately for the Huskies, there's little margin for error after a 35-23 home loss to Ohio and with a road games against Miami University and Western Michigan after this one. The Cardinals stunned the Huskies last year 31-17 as the only loss in a seven game stretch before the MAC title game, so the focus will be there for Joe Novak's team.
Why Northern Illinois Might Win: NIU and Garrett Wolfe can run; everyone knows that, but the Huskies also aren't bad a throwing it once Phil Horvath gets into a groove. Ball State's secondary has been awful over the last two games allowing 416 yards and three touchdowns against Purdue and 451 yards and three scores to North Dakota State. After an awful game against Ohio, Horvath has completed 22 of 31 passes and should stay hot this week.
Why Ball State Might Win: Ball State's pass defense is the second worst in the nation, but NIU's isn't' all that far off. The Cardinal offense has bombed away for an average of 326 yards per game over the last three with seven touchdown passes and only two interceptions. O.K., so all three games were losses, but there's enough firepower in the Cardinal air attack to offset the yards Wolfe will put up.
Who to Watch: Balll State junior TE Darius Hill is starting to look more and more like a fringe pro prospect. At 6-6 and 230 pounds, he's like a big wide receiver and has grown into the main target in the red zone as well as the team's leading receiver with 16 catches for 341 yards and four touchdowns. In the last two games, he went for 119 yards against Purdue and 108 against North Dakota State.
What Will Happen: NIU will avenge last year's loss with enough offensive balance to keep the BSU defense on its heels. Wolfe will get his yards, but Horvath will be the star in a fun shootout.
CFN Prediction
: Northern Illinois 35 ... Ball State 31 ... Line: Northern Illinois -7
Must See Rating: (5 skip the birth of your first born - 1 Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip) ... 2.5
   


Week Five MAC Fearless Predictions | Get Tickets for These Games