Football

CMU beats EMU to become bowl eligible

Senior defensive back Avery Cunningham, top, and Scottville senior and drum major Julie Cleveau sing the CMU fight song after the Chippewas’ 42-10 victory over EMU on Friday at Kelly Shorts Stadium. (Samantha Madar/Staff Photographer)

Senior defensive back Avery Cunningham, top, and Scottville senior and drum major Julie Cleveau sing the CMU fight song after the Chippewas’ 42-10 victory over EMU on Friday at Kelly Shorts Stadium. (Samantha Madar/Staff Photographer)

Running back Zurlon Tipton was a force to be reckoned with Friday at Kelly/Shorts Stadium, tallying 216 rushing yards against Eastern Michigan.

Central Michigan was the beneficiary, winning 42-10 over the Eagles to clinch the Michigan MAC Trophy and become bowl eligible.

“(Tipton) hung in there pretty good, made some good cuts, had his pads down, got short yardage runs, got goal line runs and obviously had the explosive runs,” said head coach Dan Enos. “He’s a difference maker. When he’s healthy, he can put a team on his back.”

The Chippewas finish the regular season with a 5-3 record in the Mid-American Conference, and, for the second straight year, they have a 6-6 overall record, making them bowl eligible.

“I see people in the grocery store say, ‘Win your last three and you’re bowl eligible,’” Enos said. “Sounds a lot easier than it is to actually go on the road to Western (Michigan) and have two rivalry games. It’s very difficult, and I’m proud of our guys.”

CMU was never challenged by EMU in the game that had an attendance of 5,214, since it jumped out to a 21-0 lead with 12:02 left in the second quarter. It was thanks to Tipton – who was responsible for all three touchdowns, including an 86 yard run in which he had to plow over a defender – that CMU was able to come out on top.

The Eagles showed life during the latter half of the second quarter, though, narrowing the deficit to 11 with a touchdown and field goal.

The Chippewas responded quickly to open up the second half with two touchdowns in the first six minutes, extending their lead to 35-10.

Junior receiver Courtney Williams navigated his way down the sideline on a kick return and took it into the end zone on the first play of the third quarter.

“We knew they were going to make a run,” Enos said. “They did. We challenged our guys at halftime to continue to play, and I thought Courtney’s kick return was huge to get us back.”

It was the first CMU touchdown on a kick return since Antonio Brown did it in the 2010 GMAC Bowl.

Tipton followed up by rushing for his fourth touchdown of the game on a 44-yard run with 9:36 left in the third quarter.

The defense took over from there.

On the following drive, defensive back Kevin King forced a fumble after the Eagles had moved the ball 48 yards and defensive end Joe Ostman recovered the ball.

Safety Avery Cunningham scored the last touchdown of the game on an interception that he took from CMU’s 25 to the end zone in the fourth quarter.

“(It’s the) last game and you don’t know if you’re going to get into a bowl game or not. You just want to go out there and leave everything on the field,” Tipton said. “Obviously, we had success. Feels good to get the last one at home.”

Contact Jeff Papworth: jeffpapworth@ymail.com. Follow him on Twitter @JeffPapworth.

14 Comments

  1. The Chips got a major break tonight when San Jose State upset Fresno State. This means Northern Illinois may be going to a BCS bowl. If so it means there may be room for one more MAC team in the bowl picture.

  2. Attendance: 5,400. Talk about Black Friday. Let’s tally it up: widespread losses to a horrible NC State and UNLV team,
    a crushing loss to a mid-pack Big Ten team, drubbed by NIU, Toledo, Ball State, with wins over 1-10 teams WMU, EMU, U Mass, Ohio (worst season in the Mike Solich era), New Hampshire (FCS 500 team) and winless Miami. Bowl eligible?

  3. Yeah…..!! Another cheer for mediocrity. Wonder if Enos received a bonus for finishing .500? Alumni who’s done rooting proudly for his institution. I can bear no more unless there’s change.

  4. As of Friday evening there were 74 teams eligible for 70 bowl spots. Given the fact that CMU beat one FBS team with a winning record, I don’t think any bowl committees are looking toward Mt. Pleasant to fill any spots.

  5. Oooooaaaah Chippewa says:

    Difficult to beat three teams with a collective 3 wins’ one of which was winless?!?! That is your definition of difficult?!?!?!!!!! This season is no success, without expectation levels far below what this university, it’s alumni, and the players deserve. Beat two teams in the last two years that finished with a winning record? This is nothing to celebrate, unless you are comfortable with finishing in 4th place in the MAC West ahead of only one or two win teams. If our coaches and athletic department heads are pleased, they’re doing us all a disservice.

  6. Florence Schneider says:

    bc3b –

    It also means SJSU becomes bowl eligible.

    Fire Dan Enos.

  7. Charles W. Murphy says:

    BOWL ELIGIBLE BABY! FIRE UP CHIPS! WAY TO GO!

    A winning program done the right way. No need for the MP police department needing favors from Butch Jones or Brian Kelly to hide evidence, delay statements or look the other way in order to win championships.

    The truth hurts. Deal with it. We got a winner in Dan Enos.

    • how the mighty have fallen. Now 6-6 is considered a winner. 3 wins vs fbs teams with a winning record in 4 yrs. Forgive me if I hold my applause.

    • Wow! You actually said something positive??!!!! I am shocked!

      It’s great that CMU is bowl eligible and hopefully we go to a bowl game.

      However, define “winning program.”

      19-30 overall record over the last 4 years.
      13-19 conference record over the last 4 years.
      2-2 versus WMU over the last 4 years.
      0 MAC Championship appearances over the last 4 years.
      0 MAC Championships over the last 4 years.
      1-0 Bowl Record over the last 4 years.

      You’re right the truth definitely hurts! Quit being a faker and deal with the fact that Enos has killed CMU over the last 4 years!

      • As much as it pains me to see WMU win, I can deal with the 2-2 record against Western. After all it is a rivalry and those series tend to flip-flop often.

        However I completely agree with you about the overall and conference records. The MAC is not a strong conference top to bottom, so winning 5 games (4 against terrible teams) is not enough to be considered a good program in my book.

        The thing that was so great about the 2006-2009 teams was they competed with more talented teams and actually won a few games they shouldn’t have on paper. The same can’t be said about the past four years.

      • Enos has gotten by over the past 4 years. I remember hearing boosters asking how much would it cost to buy his contract out after losing to Western last year. The only thing that saved him was the win in Detroit. I see them heading back to “The D” again this year because CMU students and Alum will buy tickets and no one else really wants to go to the Pizza Pizza bowl!

  8. 5K? That will be Dave Heeke’s legacy!

  9. With an new quarterback and running back injured against U of M, I am surprised they did this well! I am happy for the team. Pretty much a new team playing this year..lets face it..things could be alot worse. I am hoping the Lil ceasars bowl!!

  10. Julie Claveau says:

    Fire Up Chips!

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