COLUMN: Football report card week two
The Central Michigan football team’s home game against then No. 11 Michigan State Sept. 8 was potentially the most-anticipated event in the history of the program.
That anticipation quickly turned into disappointment by halftime when the Spartans led 24-0 in rout to their 41-7 win.
Let’s take a closer look at the Chippewa performance.
Passing Offense: (C) Senior quarterback Ryan Radcliff was very inaccurate against the Spartans. He finished just 17 for 38, missing open receivers on numerous occasions. Radcliff also threw two interceptions in the game.
Rushing Offense: (B) CMU rushed for 72 yards against a Spartan defense that finished top-10 in the country last year – a far cry from the 324 yards gained against Southeast Missouri State Aug. 30. But when the Chippewas ran the ball, they were actually pretty effective. Junior running back Zurlon Tipton averaged 5.6 yards per carry but only had 11 rushes, because the Chippewas were forced to throw after falling behind by a large deficit in the first half.
Passing Defense: (C) MSU junior quarterback Andrew Maxwell and the Spartan receiving core looked much better against the Chippewas than in week one. Maxwell completed 20 of his 31 passes for 275 yards and two touchdowns. Junior receiver Bennie Fowler caught eight passes for 99 yards and a touchdown. Ten different Spartans caught a pass against CMU, which at times left receivers wide open. Sophomore cornerback Jason Wilson did account for the only score of the game for CMU when he intercepted MSU backup quarterback Connor Cook’s pass and returned it 55 yards for a touchdown.
Rushing Defense: (B) The Chippewas held Le’Veon Bell to 71 yards on 18 carries, though he did get into the end zone twice. Senior running back Larry Caper added 66 yards on nine carries. MSU threw the ball a lot against CMU, probably to get Maxwell and his receivers going, so the run game wasn’t as featured.
Overall: (C) CMU went up against a superior team in MSU – a top-10 program. The Chippewas are still trying to be relevant in their own conference, though they did have a chance to make plays early in the game and failed to capitalize. Eventually, the Spartans took over, which led to the lopsided final score. The blowout shouldn’t be much of a surprise to most.
The Chippewas (1-1) will travel to Iowa City Saturday to take on a 2-1 Hawkeyes team at Kinnick Stadium. Kickoff is scheduled for noon.