Football aims to blast Rockets, end seven-game losing streak in series


Coach John Bonamego talks to reporters after football practice on Oct. 11 at the Indoor Athletic Center. 

Malik Fountain visually remembers last year’s game against Toledo. 

The Central Michigan junior linebacker remembers the 31 points and 404 total yards the Rockets put on them in the 31-17 defeat on Oct. 22. 

Fountain said the CMU defense has moved on and is ready for a new test this week. 

“Every opponent is faceless to us,” Fountain said. “We just have to go out, play our game and stop what they do.”

The Chippewas (3-3, 1-1 Mid-American Conference) host the Rockets (4-1, 1-0) at 3:30 p.m. Saturday at Kelly/Shorts Stadium for the annual homecoming game. It will be televised on ESPN3. 

CMU comes in after a 26-23 upset victory at Ohio last Saturday. The Chippewas ended their three-game losing streak and threw themselves back in the West Division race as CMU trails first place Western Michigan (4-2, 2-0) by only one game. 

The Chippewas have won three straight games on homecoming and are 2-0 on the day under head coach John Bonamego. 

To build on that succes, CMU will have to do something it hasn’t done since 2009 — defeat Toledo. 

CMU’s defense will have the advantage of not having to cover the Rockets’ top wide receiver, Cody Thompson. The senior — who caught four touchdowns in last year’s game — injured his leg against Eastern Michigan last week and will not play. 

Bonamego said Thompson’s injury just means his defense will have to prepare for a more balanced attack. 

“They are very talented on both sides of the ball,” he said. “They lose their top wide receiver, but they still have three or four really good football players.”

Led by quarterback Logan Woodside, Toledo comes in with the No. 1 total offense in the MAC (50.1 yards per game). 

Through five games, Woodside leads the conference with 1,635 passing yards and 11 touchdowns. 

Fountain said disguising blitzes and coverages will be the key to slowing down Woodside and the Toledo offense. 

“He’s one of the best quarterbacks in the MAC,” he said. “We just have to prepare for everything he’s going to bring to us.”

On the other side of the ball, CMU’s offense looked re-energized against the Bobcats with the return of senior tight end Tyler Conklin and wide receiver Corey Willis. 

Conklin had a career day with 10 catches for 136 receiving yards and two touchdowns after returning from a leg injury.

Bonamego said that while homecoming is a special time with alumni returning to Mount Pleasant, he wants his team’s focus solely on the football game. 

“The focus is on the execution and what we need to do to win the football game, less than it being homecoming," he said.