By EVAN MEYER
This week in the Mid-American Conference...Action begins with a pair of key division battles. Tuesday in Toledo where the Rockets, nationally ranked for the first time this season,  put their eight-game winning streak on the line against a Ball State squad that has strung together three straight victories…On Wednesday in Athens, Ohio faces Bowling Green with the Falcons bringing a four–game winning skein into town.
East Division-leading Kent State takes its seven-game winning streak to Miami on Saturday, while Western Michigan heads to Buffalo, Central Michigan makes the short trek to Eastern Michigan. Finally, Akron hosts Massachusetts as both teams are sporting long losing streaks and are desperate for a victory.

Last Week…Northern Illinois extended its winning streak to nine games in a dominating performance,shutting out Massachusetts at home…Ohio bounced back from a heartbreaking loss at Miami to distance themselves in the second half in beating Eastern Michigan…Kent State retained the Wagon Wheel Trophy for a third consecutive year as the Flashes used a big second half against Akron for their seventh straight win…Buffalo kicked a field goal on the final play of the game to stun Miami, and Western Michigan used a big fourth quarter comeback to beat Central Michigan ending their two-game losing streak.

Here is a look at the thirteen MAC teams as we begin Week 11

EAST DIVISION


AKRON (1-9, 0-6 MAC): The Zips suffered their seventh straight loss overall last Saturday at arch rival Kent State, squandering a pair of 14-point leads and a 24-14 advantage at halftime while falling to the Golden Flashes for the third consecutive season, 35-24. QB Dalton Williams completed 30-of-41 passes for 312 yards and two touchdowns, both going to WR Jerrod Dillard. RB Jawon Chisholm had 115 yards rushing and a touchdown after missing the Zips last game at Central Michigan. However, it was his costly fumble in the third quarter, the only turnover of the game that allowed KSU to score the go-ahead touchdown. LB Kurt Mangum led the defense with 11 tackles (six solo). UA closes the home portion of its schedule this Saturday as Massachusetts comes to InfoCision Stadium. It is the first ever meeting between the two schools, and the Minutemen come into the game at 0-9 after being shutout last Saturday at Northern Illinois 63-0.

BOWLING GREEN (6-3, 4-1): The Falcons had last Saturday off as they prepared for Wednesday night’s game at Ohio. BGSU comes into the game truly in flight and is definitely in the race in the Eastern Division. The Falcons defeated Eastern Michigan on October 27 at Perry Stadium, 24-3, for their fifth consecutive victory. WR Jordan Hopgood had a fine game with seven receptions for 53 yards, including a 53-yard touchdown pass on the flea flicker to WR Shaun Joplin in the first quarter. RB John Pettigrew had 24 carries for 136 yards while QB Matt Schilz completed just 9-of-20 passes for 78 yards. The BGSU defense also came to the fore as it held the EMU offense, which had been explosive over their past two games, against Toledo and Army to just 178 total yards. Last year when the Falcons and Bobcats met at BG, the ‘Cats escaped with a 29-28 victory. The Falcons have not won in the series since 2008, 28-3, at Peden Stadium.

BUFFALO (2-7, 1-4): The Bulls ended their six-game losing streak last Saturday when they defeated Miami at UB Stadium, 26-24. PK Patrick Clarke hit a 47-yard field goal on the final play of the game en route to garnering MAC East Special Teams Player of the week. RB Branden Oliver rushed for 195 yards on 32 carries and led the UB receivers with five catches for an additional 17 yards. He was named MAC East Offensive Player of the Week. QB Joe Liacati, in his first start of the season, completed 13-of-24 passes for 127 yards and two touchdowns while QR Alex Neutz had three receptions in the contest for 60 yards and a score. The Bulls play their final home game this Saturday as Western Michigan travels to Amherst. Last Saturday the Broncos ended a two-game losing streak with a 42-31 win at Central Michigan. The last time these two teams met was in 2009 in Kalamazoo when the Broncos emerged victorious, 34-31, in overtime.

KENT STATE (7-1, 5-0): The Golden Flashes won their seventh consecutive game last Saturday ,defeating their arch rival the Akron Zips, 35-24, at Dix Stadium. Kent State came back from a 24-14 halftime deficit as it retained the Wagon Wheel trophy for a third consecutive year, their longest such streak in the series since 1954, In addition, the Flashes seven game winning skein is the longest in the regular season since 1940 and they are off to their best start since 1954. RB Trayion Durham & Dri Archer both rushed for over 100 yards in the game (107 and 126, respectively). NT Roosevelt Nix made the biggest of plays as he forced a fumble in the third quarter, recovered by LB Luke Batton. KSU turned the fumble into the go-ahead touchdown. Nix was named MAC East Defensive Player of the Week. This Saturday, the Flashes begin a two-game road stretch, beginning at Miami who lost last week at Buffalo on the final play of the game, 27-24. MU has won the last two meetings in the series, including last year at Kent in a battle of field goals, 9-3 

MASSACHUSETTS (0-9, 0-5): The Minutemen were totally outclassed for the second consecutive game as they were routed at Northern Illinois, 63-0, their worst loss of this first season in the MAC. They have been outscored in their last three games, 136-7. Against the Huskies, the offense managed just 267 yards while giving up 610 to the high-powered NIU attack. RB Michael Box led the ground game with 81 yards on 25 carries, while QB Mike Wegzyn completed 16-of-28 passes for 137 yards. UMass is on the road again this week as it travels to Akron to meet the Zips for the very first time. UA has lost seven straight games after squandering a 10-point halftime lead at Kent State, falling to the Golden Flashes, 35-24.

MIAMI (4-5, 3-2): The RedHawks suffered heartbreak last Saturday as they lost at Buffalo, 27-24, when the Bulls connected on a 47-yard field goal on the final play of the game. QB Zac Dysert completed 25-of-44 passes for 242 yards and three touchdowns and added 42 yards rushing on 13 carries. WR Nick Harwell had 10 receptions for 62 yards and all three touchdowns. MU has lost three of its last four games as they battle Kent State Saturday at Yager Stadium. The ‘Hawks have won the last two games in the series including, 9-3, last year at Dix Stadium and 27-21 in 2010 in Oxford

OHIO (8-1, 4-1): The Bobcats rebounded from their first loss of the season as they beat Eastern Michigan at Peden Stadium Thursday night, 45-14, outscoring them 21-0 in the second half. The Cats amassed 559 yards of total offense, of which 304 came on the ground. RB Ryan Boykin was the workhorse in the ground game as he had 128 yards on only 18 carries and also scored a touchdown. QB Tyler Tettleton completed 19-of-27 passes for 255 yards and three scores, with WR Donte Foster collecting seven of them for 164 yards and two touchdowns. The Cats are back in midweek action this week as they host Bowling Green in a key Eastern Division battle. BGSU comes into the contest riding a five-game winning streak. Last year, when they met at Perry Stadium, the ‘Cats escaped with a 29-28 victory. The Falcons have not won in the series since 2008, 28-3, at Peden Stadium.

WESTERN DIVISION

BALL STATE (6-3, 3-2):
  The Cardinals had last Saturday off as they prepared for Tuesday night’s big Western Division battle at Toledo, which will end a three-game road swing. BSU will come to the Glass Bowl with a three-game winning streak after defeating Army at West Point on October 27, 30-22, using a 10-point fourth quarter as the margin of difference. QB Keith Wenning completed 18-of-27 passes for 189 yards and two touchdowns. RB Jahwon Edwards rushed for 148 yards and a score. WR Willie Snead and Jamill Smith each had six receptions for 78 and 58 yards respectively. This is a Rockets squad that has won eight consecutive games after their opening game loss at Arizona in overtime. UT continues to lead the West after they beat Buffalo in Western New York 25-10 on October 27. . When they met last year at Schunemann Stadium, the Rockets destroyed the Cards 45-28.

CENTRAL MICHIGAN (3-5, 1-5): The Chippewas dropped their fourth in the last five games last Saturday, falling at home to the Western Michigan Broncos, 42-31, despite having 506 yards on total offense. What makes this loss worse for CMU is that they held a 23-14 lead going into the fourth quarter. RB Zurlon Tipton had another solid game with 112 yards rushing and two touchdowns. QB Ryan Radcliffe completed 26-of-41 passes for 383 yards and a touchdown. WR Titus Davis had 10 receptions for 208 yards and a touchdown, while WR Cody Wilson had seven receptions for 81 yards. P Richie Hogan was named MAC West Special Teams player of the Week as he averaged 52.7 yards punt against the Broncos, including a career-best 74 yarder. This week, the Chips make the short trek south to Ypsilanti to face Eastern Michigan, who lost last Thursday night at Ohio, 45-14. Last year in Mount Pleasant, the Eagles surprised CMU with a 35-28 victory.  In 2010, it was CMU winning, 52-14.

EASTERN MICHIGAN (1-8, 0-5): The Eagles stayed competitive with the Ohio Bobcats early last Thursday night in Athens trailing 24-10 at halftime before the ‘Cats took control in the second half, grounding EMU 45-14. RB Bronson Hill was the only bright spot for EMU on the night offensively as he had 111 yards on 25 carries. QB Tyler Benz could only completed 7-of-21 passes for 128 yards and a touchdown. This Saturday, the Central Michigan Chippewas come to Rynearson Stadium on a stretch where they have lost four of their last five games including last week at home to Western Michigan 42-31. EMU shocked the Chips last year at Kelly Shorts Stadium, 35-28, one of their biggest wins of the 2011 season.

NORTHERN ILLINOIS (9-1, 6-0): The Huskies extended their winning streak to nine games overall, 14 straight against MAC opposition, and 20 straight at Huskie Stadium as they totally outclassed the Massachusetts Minutemen, 63-0. It was the most NIU points scored in a MAC game at home since 2010 when they scored 65 against Toledo. QB Jordan Lynch was his usual unstoppable self as he completed 15-of-19 passes for 191 yards and two touchdowns and also rushed 15 times for an additional 157 yards and a score. It was part of an NIU offense that gained 610 yards on the afternoon. The defense also came up big, holding UMass to just 267 yards in total offense. DE Ken Bell was named MAC West Defensive Player of the Week with four tackles, one for loss, and a fumble recovery. The Huskies will have this week off before their West Division showdown with Toledo on November 12  in DeKalb.

TOLEDO (8-1, 5-0): The Rockets had last Saturday off as they prepared for Tuesday night’s Western Division tilt with Ball State at the Glass Bowl. In their last game on October 27, UT won its eighth consecutive game, coming back from a 14-7 halftime deficit. Toledo scored 18 points in the third quarter to defeat the Bulls in Western New York, 25-10. RB David Fluellen rushed for 228 yards and a pair of touchdowns, while QB Terrance Owens was able to complete just 12-of-25 passes for 171 yards, a touchdown, and two interceptions. BSU will come to the Glass City riding a three-game winning streak after defeating Army at West Point 30-22. They met last year in the regular season finale in Muncie and the Rockets picked up a 45-28 victory

WESTERN MICHIGAN (4-6, 2-4): After two tough losses to Kent State and Northern Illinois, the Broncos returned to the winning column last Saturday as they came back from a 23-14 fourth quarter deficit to post a 42-31 victory at Central Michigan gaining 513 yards of total offense. QB Taylor Van Tubergen completed 23-of-33 passes for 362 yards and four touchdowns. RB Dareyon Chance had 19 carries for 111 yards and a score, and WR Eric Monette had a career day with 11 receptions for 196 yards and a touchdown. He was named MAC West Offensive Player of the Week. WMU heads to Buffalo this Saturday to face the Bulls, who ended their six-game losing streak last Saturday, defeating Miami 27-24 with a field goal on the final play of regulation.

 


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