Midseason Report - MAC

Posted Oct 13, 2006

The best MAC players, coaches, surprises of the midseason and more

Offensive Player of the Midseason
– Garrett Wolfe, RB Northern Illinois
Defensive Player of the Midseason
– Joey Card, S Miami University

Ten best MAC players in the first half of the season
1. Garrett Wolfe, RB Northern Illinois
2. Julian Edelman, QB Kent State
3. Dan LeFevour, QB Central Michigan
4. Nate Davis, QB Ball State
5. Joey Card, S Miami University
6. Ameer Ismail, LB Western Michigan
7. Darius Hill, TE Ball State
8. Bryan Anderson, WR Central Michigan
9. Dan Bazuin, DE Central Michigan
10. Ryne Robinson, WR/KR Miami University

Biggest Surprise – Kent State
The Golden Flashes might be the biggest surprise of the season coming off a brutal 1-10 campaign and with few signs of things going from the outhouse to the penthouse. Thanks to QB Julian Edelman and a surprising defense, the Golden Flashes have been the class of the weak East division.

Biggest Disappointment – Miami University, Akron, and Toledo 
Considered to be three of the league’s top contenders going into the season, the were a combined 0-for-6 in MAC play going into the October 14th games. Toledo was the victim of tough overtime losses to Iowa State and Kansas and Akron had a highlight with a win over NC State, but Miami was a big, fat dud starting 0-6 with no running game and no clutch plays in crunch time.  

The MAC Champion will be ... Central Michigan over Kent State
Kent State gets its toughest MAC games at home over the second half, while it’s going to be a wild shootout for the West title with Northern Illinois, Western Michigan and Central Michigan having a shot. The Chippewas should be able to survive a loss to NIU as long as the Huskies drop another game, and the Western Michigan game is in Mount Pleasant.

Best Game of the First Half 
Iowa State 45 ... Toledo 43 3OT, Aug. 31
Todd Blythe caught two touchdown passes in overtime and the Iowa State defense held on stopping a Toledo two-point conversion attempt to win a wild opener. The two teams traded touchdowns over each of the overtimes highlighted by Blythe's 25-yard scoring grab in the third. Jalen Parmele ran for a two-yard touchdown to get the Rockets within two, but Chris Hopkins couldn't hang on to the conversion and Iowa State escaped. Hopkins, who made three scoring grabs, caught a 21-yard touchdown catch in the third quarter to help spark a Rocket comeback completed with a Richard Davis three-yard scoring run and a two-point conversion to force overtime. ISU QB Bret Meyer ran for three scores. Toledo's new starting quarterback Clint Cochran threw for 367 yards and three touchdowns.
Second Best Game Toledo 37 ... Kansas 31 2OT, Sept. 16
Third Best Game Akron 20 ... NC State 17, Sept. 9

Worst Game of the First Half 
Toledo 41 ... McNeese State 7, Sept. 23
 Toledo had no problems getting out to a quick 17-0 lead with short touchdown runs from Brandon Summers and Jalen Parmele before MSU appeared to take the momentum at the end of the first half on a  31-yard Quinton Lawrence touchdown catch. But Toledo was able to get into field goal range allowing Alex Steigerwald to hit his second field goal in the first half to put the game away. DaJane Collins ran for two fourth quarter scores.

Coach of the Midseason – Doug Martin, Kent State
Last year’s young team quickly turned into a killer with Martin and his staff getting the JUCO players to boost the ground game while pulling off some big early shockers to be a contender. It’s a long way from 1-10 to a possible MAC title.

Player who'll step up in the second half – Aaron Opelt, QB Toledo
The Rockets needed a spark in the offense, and it got it in Opelt, a mutli-talented quarterback who should get far better as the season goes on. He’s a solid runner with good passing skills, and once he cuts down on his interceptions, he’ll put up big numbers and start to lead the team to wins. Eventually.

Best performance so far -
Northern Illinois RB Garrett Wolfe ran 31 times for 353 yards and three touchdowns and caught three pass for three yards in the 40-28 win over Ball State.

Top Freshman – Nate Davis, QB Ball State
It takes a lot to be the top freshman in the MAC this year with Central Michigan QB Dan LeFevour, Eastern Michigan QB Andy Schmitt, Akron WR David Harvy and others playing well, but Davis led the nation in passing efficiency after six games with 12 touchdowns and only one interception while completing close to 70% of his throws.

Coach who needs to have a big second half – Eastern Michigan’s Jeff Genyk
Year three of the Genyk era has gone worse than the first two unable to capitalize and a decent 2005. With Central Michigan and Western Michigan getting better and better, Eastern Michigan can’t afford to fall further behind in the battle of directional Michigan schools.  

Player who needs to have a big second half – Bowling Green QB Anthony Turner
It was the Freddie Barnes show early on, and then Turner took over and came up with big performances against Buffalo and Florida International. Despite a rocky start, Bowling Green is right in the hunt to win the lousy East division, but it needs Kent State to start losing and Turner to take over the offense.

Best remaining conference game – Central Michigan at Northern Illinois, Nov. 17
This might not just be for the West, it might be for the whole shootin’ match. Central Michigan has had some rocky points and is hardly above getting upset, but it has a one-game lead on NIU going into the second half of the season and can likely cement a spot in the title game with a win.

Team Mid-Season MVPs & Predictions   
Akron – QB Like Getsy
predicted wins: Miami University, Bowling Green, Buffalo
predicted losses: at Toledo, at Ohio, Western Michigan
predicted record: 5-7 

Bowling Green – QB Anthony Turner
predicted wins: Eastern Michigan, at Temple, Miami University
predicted losses: at Central Michigan, at Akron, at Toledo
predicted record: 6-6 

Buffalo – LB Ramon Guzman
predicted wins: None
predicted losses: Miami University, at Ohio, at Boston College, Kent State, at Akron, at Wisconsin, Central Michigan
predicted record: 1-11 

Kent State – QB Julian Edelman
predicted wins: Toledo, Ohio, at Buffalo, Eastern Michigan, at Ball State
predicted losses: at Virginia Tech
predicted record: 9-3 

Miami Univ – S Joey Card
predicted wins: Northern Illinois, at Buffalo, Ball State, Ohio
predicted losses: at Akron, at Western Michigan, at Bowling Green
predicted record: 4-8 

Ohio – LB Tyler Russ
predicted wins: Buffalo, at Eastern Michigan, Akron
predicted losses: at Illinois, at Kent State, Miami University
predicted record: 6-6

Ball State – QB Nate Davis
predicted wins: None
predicted losses: at Central Michigan, Western Michigan, at Miami University, at Michigan, at Toledo, Kent State
predicted record: 2-10

Central Michigan – QB Dan LeFevour
predicted wins: Ball State, Bowling Green, at Temple, Western Michigan, at Buffalo
predicted losses: at Northern Illinois
predicted record: 8-4

Eastern Michigan – QB Andy Schmitt
predicted wins: None
predicted losses: at Bowling Green, Toledo, at Western Michigan, Ohio, at Navy, at Kent State, Northern Illinois
predicted record: 0-12

Northern Illinois – OT Joe Thomas
predicted wins: Temple, Toledo, Central Michigan, at Eastern Michigan
predicted losses: at Western Michigan
predicted record: 9-3

Toledo – LB Steve Alston
predicted wins: at Eastern Michigan, Akron, Ball State, Bowling Green
predicted losses: at Kent State, at Northern Illinois
predicted record: 6-6

Western Michigan – LB Ameer Ismail
predicted wins: Northern Illinois, at Ball State, Eastern Michigan, Miami University, at Akron
predicted losses: at Central Michigan, at Florida State
predicted record: 8-4