Head coach Dan Enos saw 18 missed tackles and poor defensive angles when he watched film after the 55-24 loss against Northern Illinois.
Junior linebacker Shamari Benton said watching the film actually motivated the defense that allowed the most points by a Central Michigan defense since 2008.
“(It was) definitely difficult to see that (score),” he said. “We work all week preparing for the opposition. Seeing a score like that is always deflating; you never want to see that.”
Benton said the defense’s practice Tuesday was great after watching film. Both Enos and senior quarterback Ryan Radcliff backed up Benton, agreeing the team had high energy in practice and is focused on preparing for Toledo.
The CMU defense has allowed 38.5 points per game through the first four games – 111th worst in college football. That statistic puts a burden on the CMU offense to keep up with the high scores.
“There is a little pressure associated with that,” Radcliff said. “We put pressure on ourselves because of what we expect from ourselves. If you don’t have that pressure to score every possession, I don’t think you’re really competing.”
The defensive task will not get any easier Saturday against Toledo. Enos said the Rocket offense, along with NIU’s, will be the best they see the rest of the way.
When watching film from NIU, Enos said he was not concerned with the lack of effort, but miscues.
“We missed tackles; 18 tackles we missed,” Enos said. “(They gained) 140 total yards in the last eight plays of game. We played hard; just guys trying to do so much that we over–pursued on cut backs, and they got big runs.
“(We) missed tackles and (we) didn’t get off field on third downs. Four or five third–and–10s, and they got all of them. We have to be much better tackling and get off the field on third downs.”
NIU has the top third-down conversion rate in the MAC. Toledo is fourth in the MAC, one spot ahead of the Chippewas, moving the chains 45 percent of the time on third down.
When Enos was asked about defenses around college football struggling to stop offense, he said there are still good defenses, and the teams with those defenses will be playing for championships.