As a crucial three-game road trip comes to a close, the Central Michigan football team will embark on its toughest portion of the schedule Saturday against Mid-American Conference East Division favorite Ohio.
The Bobcats (4-1, 1-0 MAC) enter the game having won four straight after a blowout loss to Louisville in their season opener. CMU, meanwhile, is looking to put together some type of consistency coming off a game against Miami (Ohio) it desperately needed to win.
“To know that we’re going back right on the road this week, it’s huge,” Enos said Thursday during CMU’s Sideliners radio show. “A lot of confidence was drawn from being able to win on the road last week. We need to win on the road against a good team.”
Saturday’s game (2 p.m., ESPN3) will be the first meeting between the two teams since 2011, a 43-28 win for Ohio in Mount Pleasant. The Bobcats went on to finish the season with a 10-4 overall record, losing to Northern Illinois in the MAC championship game but winning the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl.
But this is a different Ohio team, one that is experienced at spots and inexperienced, but healthy and deep, on the lines. Earlier in the week, during the MAC coaches’ teleconference, Ohio head coach Frank Solich credited his line’s versatility and work this season. The Bobcats’ offensive line has only allowed two sacks this season, giving senior quarterback Tyler Tettleton plenty of time behind center.
And it has paid off, evident by Tettleton’s less-than-gaudy, but effective production. Through five games, he has thrown for 718 yards and a clip better than 68 percent with just two interceptions.
One of Enos’ keys to winning the game?
“Turnovers,” he said. “We’ve got to come out plus-2 (in turnovers), I think that’s going to be huge.”
CMU hasn’t finished a game all season plus-2 in the turnover column.
Then there’s the OU defense, which ranks second in the MAC in points (20.8) and yards allowed (370) per game. They shut out Austin Peay two weeks ago and held Akron to just three points last week, limiting the Zips to 157 total yards.
Enos this week said he’s challenged the receiving corps to find openings on Saturday, anticipating man and quarters-coverage from the defense. That could result in the possibility of breaking a few passes deep, putting pressure on freshman quarterback Cooper Rush to remain mistake-free.
“Cooper’s going to have to do a good job, get back, play-action, set his feet and get the ball down the field,” Enos said.
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