COLUMN: Football report card week seven
There was plenty of hype leading up to the Central Michigan football team’s first home game since Sept 8.
But even a night game on national television with the debut of the new gold uniforms wasn't enough to produce positive results in the Navy Midshipmen’s first–ever trip to Kelly/Shorts Stadium. In the end, the only result was a 31-13 defeat and CMU's third-straight loss.
Passing Offense: (D) The Chippewas gained just 151 yards through the air after averaging 241 yards per game in its previous five.
Senior quarterback Ryan Radcliff was benched in the fourth quarter after throwing for 139 yards and a touchdown. He had just eight yards passing in the first quarter. Radcliff and sophomore wide receiver Titus Davis did provide the CMU's only touchdown; a 29-yard pass with 56 seconds to go in the first half.
Rushing Offense: (C-) The Chippewas gained just 70 yards rushing compared to Navy’s 238. Junior running back Zurlon Tipton gained 58 yards on just 11 carries, averaging five yards per carry.
Freshman running back Saylor Lavallii was impressive, gaining 34 yards on five carries, including one when he hurdled a Navy defender. The play landed him a spot on SportsCenter’s Top 10.
Passing Defense: (E) Coming into Friday’s game, Navy had just one passing touchdown. Against CMU, it had three, all on similar seam routes down the middle of the field.
After the game, head coach Dan Enos said true freshman Kavon Frazier was caught peeking in the backfield a couple times, but he will learn from the experience.
In terms of yardage, the Chippewas only gave up 134 yards, but the breakdowns in the defensive secondary that led to touchdowns are worthy of this grade.
Rushing Defense: (C) Coming into the game, the Midshipmen had the nation’s 15th best rushing offense.
Navy runs a triple–option offense, which can be very difficult to stop. Navy had 238 yards rushing, but the Chippewas did a nice job limiting big plays in the run game.
Out of the seven players to record a carry for Navy, sophomore fullback Noah Copeland had the best game, gaining 70 yards on 15 carries.
Special Teams: (B) The special teams were a bright spot for CMU after being a weakness for the most part in its previous five games. Lavallii had a 69-yard kick return, which set up the first CMU score of the game: a 29-yard field goal by senior David Harman. Harman also made a 22-yard field goal in the third quarter.
The Chippewas made a change at punter, replacing junior Richie Hogan with senior Curtis Huge. Huge preformed well, averaging 44.2 yards per punt with a long of 58 yards. He also had two punts inside the 20–yard line.
Overall: (D) Many people, including myself, felt that CMU had a very good chance to win this game.
This matchup with Navy was a big opportunity for the Chippewas to show they are a much better team than the 3-9 teams of the past two years.
Instead, we saw more of the same. The Chippewas displayed shaky quarterback play and a defense that allowed too many big plays. As usual, the student section was practically empty by the end of the third quarter, and if performances like this continue, it’s hard to blame them.