The Central Michigan football team went on the road to take on a Mid-American Conference West Division favorite for the second–straight weekend.
This weekend, the Chippewas lost to the Toledo Rockets by a final score of 50–35. The game was closer than the score indicates, but the loss drops the Chippewas to 2-3 overall and 0-2 in the MAC.
Let’s grade the Chippewas performance:
Passing Offense: (B-) This grade would be much higher if it wasn’t for two fourth–quarter interceptions that were returned for touchdowns. Senior quarterback Ryan Radcliff had a monster game, completing 63 percent of his passes, while throwing for 337 yards and four touchdowns. Radcliff’s targets also had big days. Senior Cody Wilson caught nine passes for 108 yards. Sophomores Titus Davis and Courtney Williams added five catches for 107 yards and a touchdown and seven catches for 59 yards and two touchdowns, respectively.
Rushing Offense: (C-) Following Saturday’s game, head coach Dan Enos said he was most disappointed in his team’s inability to run the football, which probably made them throw the ball too much in the second half. Junior running back Zurlon Tipton gained 67 yards on 13 carries and also scored a touchdown, but sophomore Anthony Garland and freshman Saylor Lavallii combined for just five yards on six carries.
Passing Defense: (B) The Chippewas gave up 246 yards passing against the Rockets and forced one interception when senior Anthony Young caught a fluttering pass thrown by UT junior quarterback Terrance Owens.
Rushing Defense: (C-) CMU gave up 187 yards rushing against the Rockets. UT junior running back David Fluellen carried the ball 22 times for 104 yards and a touchdown. Owens added 81 yards and two touchdowns on 10 carries, including a 40-yard scamper that essentially ended the Chippewas hopes of a win. The loss to Toledo marks the third–straight game CMU has allowed a 100-yard rusher.
Special Teams: (D) Special teams continue to be an area of concern for the Chippewas. On Saturday, the punt coverage team allowed a 66-yard punt return for a touchdown, as well as another long return, which set up the first Toledo score of the game. On the flip side, CMU returners had a long of just 27 yards. Junior punter Richie Hogan continued to struggle as well, averaging 38.5 yards per punt.
Overall: (C+) Saturday’s game was a lot more competitive than the final score indicates, and the Chippewas actually played a pretty solid game. That being said, until CMU wins a game, the grade cannot be higher than a C+. Radcliff and the receivers have shown an ability to put up big numbers, but the defense and special teams need to improve.