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CMU keeps bowl hopes alive with 30-16 win over Miami

The football team’s hopes for a .500 season and bowl-eligibility looked bleak after it gave up 28 fourth-quarter points in the loss against Western Michigan Nov. 3.

But Central Michigan kept those hopes alive Saturday, defeating Miami 30-16 in front of 7,223 at Kelly/Shorts Stadium, improving to 5-6 with one game remaining.

“My last game here (at Kelly/Shorts) … it was special,” senior safety Jahleel Addae said.  “As far as bowl-eligible goes, we had that as one of our goals heading into camp. We’re still in the hunt, and we have to come out tomorrow, look at what we did and get back to work.”

After the Chippewas took a 21-7 lead into the locker room, the RedHawks attempted a comeback in the second half.

Miami kicked a 39-yard field goal on its first possession out of the gate and intercepted senior quarterback Ryan Radcliff midway through the third quarter.

The RedHawks capitalized with a touchdown drive, ending it on a one-yard quarterback sneak by senior Zac Dysert. Miami went for the two-point conversion to try to pull within three but did not convert.

CMU responded, using a seven-play, 76-yard drive to extend its lead to 28-16.  Freshman running back Saylor Lavallii rushed up the middle for a 10-yard score, taking the clock down to the 10:28 mark of the fourth quarter.

“It was huge,” head coach Dan Enos said.  “We had some big plays from some guys on the drive, but true freshman Saylor Lavallii got his most touches today, and I think everybody can see how special that guy is going to be.”

The CMU defense was able to get pressure on the quarterback, finishing with five sacks.

“I think, since Akron, we’ve done a much better job of getting pressure,” Enos said. “Today, when we blitzed, the guys blitzed on time and were able to be a factor.”

The Chippewas will travel to Gillette Stadium in Massachusetts Friday in search of their sixth victory.

“Believe me, our team won’t overlook anybody,” Enos said.  “We’re a blue-collared bunch of guys that are trying to scratch and claw and get any win, anyway we can get it. We’re going to come back tomorrow, and we’re going to work.”

First Half

The Chippewas struggled early offensively, going three and out on their first three possessions.

Miami blocked Richie Hogan’s punt on CMU’s first drive and received favorable field position on the 50.

But on the RedHawks first play, running back Justin Semmes fumbled during the handoff exchange, and the Chippewas recovered.

CMU did not get a first down until the 4:26 mark in the first quarter, when junior running back Zurlon Tipton broke off a 15-yard run.

Tipton later broke the scoreless tie on the same drive with a 12-yard rush. He finished with 113 yards rushing, his fifth-straight game with 100 or more yards.

But Miami wasted no time evening things up when Dysert threw a 68-yard strike to receiver Nick Harwell.

Harwell had 11 catches for 215 yards.

“He’s a great player,” Enos said. “We knew going into the game that he and Dysert were both great playmakers.”

The RedHawks were threatening again with a third-and-goal on the CMU 15-yard line, but Addae intercepted Dysert’s pass in the end zone.

After redshirt freshman receiver Andrew Flory caught a career-high nine passes last week against Eastern Michigan, he had another big 57-yard reception to bring the Chippewas to the Miami 16-yard line with 6:40 remaining in the half.

Tipton finished the drive with a one-yard touchdown run, giving CMU a 14-7 lead.

Radcliff was 2-9 passing at the start of the team’s final drive of the half, but he completed all four of his passes on that possession, capped off by an eight-yard touchdown toss to junior tight end Connor Odykirk.

“Our quarterback (Radcliff) probably did not play as well as he has in the last four or five weeks, but, with that being said, for us to able to win the game, it means a lot that we’re growing,” Enos said.


  1. Hurricanebilly says:

    I wish the author could have explained how CMU could make a bowl game. I know 6 Div I victories would make them eligible, but what is the scenario in which they could get an invite? It appears to be impossible they would get an bowl invite.

    • I’ve said it before, and I tend to agree. The MAC had a lot of success this year, and I don’t think it happens. With only four contracts for MAC schools in the bowls, those will most likely be claimed by more successful teams (Kent State, NIU, Ohio, Toledo). Ball State and Bowling Green have better records too, and would most likely take spots not able to be filled by bigger conferences, such as (maybe) the Big Ten.

    • You’re right. Lots of teams pad their records with wins against FCS teams and mid majors (MAC, Mount West, Sun Belt, etc.) teams. In fact many of the SEC teams played FCS teams this weekend. Approximately 60 teams get bowl invites and many factors (strength of schedule, poor attendance, etc.) weigh against Central.

  2. Yes, it’s a very SLIM chance CMU will receive a bowl bid. Even if we win next week there are too many other eligible MAC teams out there with better records. We also lost to multiple teams who are not going to be post-season eligible. Still, I’d like to see it happen for the players on this team who came in under Jones and have had to suffer though this coaching tenure (which will hopefully conclude after this season). I will say. . . I would happily watch a CMU MSU re-match in Detroit for the Little Caeser’s bowl (motor city bowl) the day after x-mas. While CMU has managed to win a few games since that thrashing MSU has fallen flat on their face. It would be a sell-out game easily due to the geography for both teams. Also, the chance to exact some revenge would be fun to watch!

  3. Wow! I haven’t seen that much metal (empty Kelly/Shorts) since the beginning of the industrial revolution! Wobbly passes and a porous defense. Yeah, that’ gonna get us a bowl bid—LOFL!

  4. Logical Chip says:

    Enos…the only thing that is “growing” is the sense of frustration with your destruction of this program. If UMass was still a FCS school (this is only their second season of FBS play), there would be no talk of bowl eligibility, just talk of “salvaging” another season and trying to stay out of the MAC West basement.

  5. What a bunch of Negative people on this board, but what do you expect from a blog. From what I see is a coach who is rebuilding a program after it’s best players left. Had a coach who won on Brian Kelly’s recruits, and left ASAP, without recruiting effectively. [ Who also lost to Toledo!] Sure the record has been bad, but this team is getting better .Enos has had had only 2 recruiting classes and the best players for the most part are his recruits Titus Davis, Williams… I see freshmen like Flory, Dean and Lavalli who are Freshmen and could be stars in this league. The MAC is also the best it has ever been by far! Enos is building a program that will not crumble after it’s best players leave in bunches. I will support a coach who is trying to build something.

    • Putting things in perspective – the Chips did not beat a single team with a winning record. There are 124 teams in the FBS. CBS Sports ranks Miami #77, Iowa #82, Akron #118 and Eastern #122 prior to this weekend’s games. UMass is #116 with its only win against Akron.

    • Enos would have to win the division, the MAC Championship, AND a bowl game all in one season in order to be redeemed in the eyes of those of us who never liked his hire from Day One! There is too much distrust and discontent over his hire for any of us to be positive about having him as CMU’s head football coach!

  6. Western Michigan fired their coach today. Looks like they’re beating us to the punch-line again! FIRE ENOS!

  7. Discussion should at least take place about Heeke/Enos and this program without be labled negative. As the college football season winds down it is very interesting to see the coaches that are being let go and those that continue to keep their jobs. Cubit is fired for a sub-par season, yet his overall body of work at WMU isn’t that bad. The powers that be expect more. Dooley at Tenn lost his job because of a poor record (15-21 overall–4-19 SEC) but mainly because the stands are no longer full and the alumni $ has started to become less and less. I have sat in the stands at Kelly-Shorts for the past four seasons and the past 3 under Enos have been tough to watch. Most coaches when taking over a program ALWAYS insist the cupboard is bare, thus giving themselves at least 3-4 years to sell the program to fans and alumni with “their” recruits. I happen to disagree with Enos on this one. Go back and look up the stats on where Kelly and Jones’ last couple of recruting classes were rated and you will see this is unfounded. Wins and losses do not always tell the complete story of a program and that is true here. I have been to every home game again this year and they have beaten some sub-par teams and I truly see a lack of improvement from Enos-year 1. I am as ardent a supporter of CMU football as you will find, however, I will spend my $ elsewhere as I feel the value for my $ with what Enos puts on the field is no longer worth my time. The empty stands over the past 3 seasons really tell the story. (11-24 overall–7-16 MAC )

  8. To Enos’ credit and the team’s credit, the team has beat the weaker teams during this stretch and have shown progress in doing so. If the Chips win on Friday, as much as I’ve been an Enos detractor, I don’t see any way you can fire him. The program is starting to show some progress under him. Even if it is against weaker competition, it is nice to see some victories that you think are possible becoming victories.

  9. The Chips can make a bowl game this way. While the MAC has limited bowl lock-ins, there are so many bowl games that frequently the large conferences can’t fill in their obligations. For that reason, there’s always a chance that other teams will get bowl bids because these conferences can’t fill their required bowl spots.

  10. I’m glancing over the bowl picture right now. The Big East could have as few as four teams with 6-6 or better marks, but will end up with probably five. Without checking, I’m sure they have bowl commitments from more than five bowl games. The Big Ten has eight games they have locked up, but that’s not going to happen with two teams experiencing bowl bans. Those are just two conferences I looked at quickly. Actually, it’s more likely at 6-6 the Chips do go bowling than not.

  11. The one thing that gets you into bowl games that no one has mentioned is a traveling fan base. Bowl Games are a joke. Bowl committee’s get to handpick who they want at their bowl (usually who is going to make them the most money)……all you have to do is look back to last year with Michigan getting into the Sugar Bowl. They may not have outright deserved a BCS bowl bid, but they sure as heck are going to fill the stadium. Does anyone really think bowl officials are going to take CMU who can barely get 7,000 people to the last home game of the year? And lets be honest it was Senior Day, how many people do you think were family members of band, cheerleaders and players?

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