Central Michigan football head coach Dan Enos isn’t looking past Saturday’s game at Eastern Michigan.
For the first time since 2003, CMU opened Mid-American Conference play with a loss.
“They are in state and there isn’t one around here who is taking it lightly,” Enos said. “We are 0-1 in the MAC and we do not want to be 0-2 Our sense of urgency is high right now.”
Also working against the Chippewas is their recent history of playing EMU. Ypsilanti has proven to be a trap for CMU.
EMU has made a name for themselves within the Mount Pleasant community, beating the Chippewas three out of the last five years, intensifying the rivalry between both schools.
The rivalry will continue at 4 p.m. Saturday at Rynearson Stadium as the Chippewas look to improve to 2-1 overall and 1-1 in the Mid-American Conference.
Last year, Dan LeFevour and company would not allow EMU to ruin its homecoming celebration, defeating the Eagles 56-8 in dominating fashion. In 2008, EMU quarterback Andy Schmitt set an NCAA record by completing 58 passes on 80 attempts, helping the Eagles to a 56-52 shootout win in Ypsilanti.
EMU came into Kelly/Shorts Stadium in 2007 and defeated the Chippewas 48-45 in a heartbreaking loss for then-sophomore quarterback Dan LeFevour.
Regardless of either team’s overall record, the team’s annual meeting remains a rivalry.
“They play us harder than any team we play,” said senior linebacker Nick Bellore. “This is a rivalry game and we have to approach it like we are playing Western.”
Bellore practiced on Wednesday for the first time this week and is expected to be on the field Saturday. He suffered an ankle sprain last Thursday in CMU’s 13-10 overtime loss at Temple.
“We are going to see how practice goes and see how he feels but he will be a game-time decision,” Enos said. “I know this, if he is able to play he will play, that’s the type of competitor he is.”
This week will mark the first Saturday game for the Chippewas this season after starting the year with back-to-back Thursday night games.
It was perfect timing for the extra days of rest and practice after Bellore suffered his ankle injury.
Enos and Bellore both agreed that it has been a good week at practice.
“We get an extra day of preparation and it’s nice to get on a normal schedule,” Bellore said. “We also get an extra day of rest, so it has been a great week for us.”
A win on Saturday would be CMU’s first win in Ypsilanti since the 2006 season, when the Chippewas beat EMU 24-17 in overtime.
Tipton returns, Harman takes over kicking game
Redshirt freshman Zurlon Tipton will play in his first game of the 2010 season after serving a two-game suspension for a violation of team policy. Tipton is currently listed third at running back on the team’s depth chart, behind senior Carl Volny and junior Paris Cotton.
The Chippewas will turn field goal and point-after attempt duties over to redshirt freshman kicker David Harman, who kicked a game tieing field goal with just over a minute to go in last week’s game.
Former kicker Paul Mudgett went 1-for-5 in the first two games and was pulled last week against Temple.