Offense collapses in 31-14 loss to Miami

Senior quarterback Shane Morris gets tackled by Miami Ohio players during the football game against the University of Miami Ohio on Sept. 23 in Kelly/Shorts Stadium.

After losing to Miami (Ohio) 31-14 in the Mid-American Conference opener on Saturday, the Central Michigan football team have now lost two-consecutive games by more than three scores. 

CMU holds a 2-2 overall record, its loss to Miami on Saturday marked the second-straight loss. Redshirt freshman Tony Poljan replaced starting senior quarterback Shane Morris once in the third and fourth quarters.

Miami quarterback Gus Ragland’s offense was firing in the first half. Miami scored 28 of its 31 total points in the first half of play. 

Ragland put away the Chippewas with three touchdowns, throwing 11-for-19 with 217 yards and rushing for 35 yards. After halftime, the RedHawks held the Chippewas scoreless. 

“I am bitterly disappointed in the loss,” head coach John Bonamego said. “We dug ourselves too big of a hole in the first half.”

Offensive Struggles

Morris has had 472 total passing yards, four interceptions and three touchdown passes in the last two games. In the first two games, Morris totaled 693 passing yards, with only one interception and six touchdowns. 

Morris is without two starting wide receivers in Mark Chapman and Corey Willis, but his numbers and production have slowed significantly in the last two weeks. 

Against Syracuse, Morris was replaced with less than ten minutes in the fourth quarter. On Saturday, Morris was taken out in the third quarter for one drive. He returned in the fourth quarter but was again replaced by Poljan. 

Though Bonamego pulled Morris from the game after interceptions on two different occasions, he said after the game that he was satisfied with the way Morris played. 

“Overall, I think Shane (Morris) played a pretty solid game,” Bonamego said. “We have to help him out and catch the balls that are catchable.”

CMU’s running game has faltered over the last two games as well. In the Miami game, Jonathan Ward and Kumehnnu Gwilly rushed for 65 total yards. Devon Spalding only had one carry for zero yards. 

On the Road

CMU (2-2) faces Boston College (1-3) next weekend in the Boston College Alumni Stadium. This is the start of a two-game road trip for the Chippewas. CMU’s next home game is against Toledo on homecoming at 3:30 p.m. Oct. 14 at Kelly/Shorts Stadium. 

“You just have to focus on the next opportunity,” Bonamego said. “I look for the body language of the players after they come of the field and I try to listen to the types of things they say to one another. 

“That team is hurting and they should be.”

Boston College was tied with No. 2 Clemson heading into the fourth quarter on Saturday. In week three, BCU lost to Notre Dame 49-20. The Atlantic Coast Conference team earned its only win against Northern Illinois in week one, 23-20.

The Eagles are led by freshman quarterback Anthony Brown from New Jersey. In his first four games, he has thrown 658 yards for five touchdowns and seven interceptions. BCU has three running backs in Jon Hilliman, AJ Dillon and Thadd Smith who have combined for 518 rushing yards this season.

CMU takes on Boston College at 1 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 30 in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts.