Many who follow the Central Michigan football team know how serious losing the starting quarterback and starting tailback to injury can be.
Las Vegas is taking notice, too.
CMU (0-1) has opened as a 3.5-point favorite for its home opener Saturday (3 p.m., ESPN3.com) against New Hampshire, according to VegasInsider.com.
Typically, Vegas gives home teams a default 3-point edge, so this game essentially would be a toss-up if it were to be played at a neutral site.
The Chippewas come off a 59-9 blowout loss Saturday at Michigan in which they lost two of their key pieces on offense, junior quarterback Cody Kater and senior tailback Zurlon Tipton. Both have been ruled out indefinitely.
Junior quarterback Cody Kater suffered a broken clavicle during the fourth drive of the game following a hit from a Wolverines defensive lineman. He never returned. Sophomore Alex Niznak, who had already played in the drive prior, stepped in and finished the game 11-for-22 for 131 yards and an interception.
During the drive prior to Kater getting injured, senior tailback Zurlon Tipton left the game with a broken ankle. It is believed he suffered the break during a run on 3rd-and-goal from the Michigan 1-yard line. Tipton was tackled for no gain and CMU would end up kicking a field goal after a delay of game penalty pushed them back to the Michigan 6.
New Hampshire (0-0) enters the game Saturday ranked No. 8 in the Football Championship Subdivision. CMU is 1-0 all-time against the Wildcats, beating them 40-33 in 2003 at Kelly/Shorts Stadium.
No changes to depth chart
Aside from Kater and Tipton being out for the foreseeable, there were no changes to CMU’s depth chart released Tuesday.
Niznak will start at quarterback, as expected, with redshirt freshman Cooper Rush and true freshman Darrien Boone behind him.
In addition, sophomore Saylor Lavallii moves into the No. 1 spot at halfback, with redshirt sophomore Martez Walker, senior Anthony Garland and redshirt freshman Maurice Shoemaker-Gilmore filling it out. Lavallii (10 carries, 52 yards) got a bulk of the carries after Tipton left the game Saturday while Walker (2 carries, -1 yards) and Garland (4 carries, 16 yards) saw minimal action.
Payouts: CMU will pay New Hampshire $325,000 for agreeing to play CMU in Mount Pleasant. … CMU received $850,000 for playing Michigan last week, which ended in a 59-9 blowout loss.
Contact Aaron McMann: firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @AaronMcMann.