Football becomes bowl eligible with win against Eastern Michigan


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Sophomore running back Jonathan Ward signals during the game vs Western Michigan on Nov. 1 at Waldo Stadium. 

Central Michigan football needs one more win. 

CMU will look to attain one more victory to propel itself to bowl eligibility with three games remaining. If the Chippewas win, it would be their fourth consecutive year participating in a bowl game.

The Chippewas (5-4, 3-2 Mid-American Conference) host Eastern Michigan (3-6, 1-4 MAC) at 8 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 8 in Kelly/Shorts Stadium. The game will be aired on ESPNU.

“It shows the maturity of your football team to see how you respond after a victory like (WMU),” head coach John Bonamego said.

Bowl eligibility is also up for grabs for the Chippewas this week against EMU. Last season, the Eagles defeated CMU 26-21 in Rynearson Stadium in Ypsilanti.

CMU football also has an opportunity to win another trophy if they defeat Eastern Michigan — the Michigan MAC trophy.

The Michigan MAC trophy, which originated in 2005, is currently held by Western Michigan and is given to the Michigan MAC team with the best in-state record. 

If CMU tops EMU, the trophy would be awarded to the Chippewas, which would be the only 2-0 team. However, if each team has a 1-1 in-state record, the trophy will stay with Western Michigan for another year. CMU last held the Michigan MAC trophy in 2013.

EMU started the season 2-0 before going on a six-game losing streak. The Eagles got their first MAC win against Ball State Nov. 2.

"(EMU) is a very good opponent,” Bonamego said. “They are a team that is much better than its record will indicate.”

Senior quarterback Brogan Roback leads the Eagles’ offense. EMU ranks seventh in scoring offense and eighth in total offense.

In nine games this season, Roback has tallied 202 completions for 14 touchdowns and eight interceptions. He averages 260.1 passing yards per game — good for second in the MAC. Roback’s favored receiver, senior Sergio Bailey II, has caught 46 passes for 763 yards and six touchdowns.

Following the EMU game, the Chippewas travel to Kent State and finish the regular season against Northern Illinois at Kelly/Shorts Stadium.

CMU scored three touchdowns in the fourth quarter to top WMU, 35-28. Senior wide receiver Corey Willis caught a 77-yard touchdown with two minutes left to take the lead for the Chippewas — their first lead of the game.

Graduate transfer quarterback Shane Morris won his only game against WMU and helped give the CMU seniors a win against the Broncos before graduation. CMU had lost the last three meetings with rival WMU.

“It was huge to send the seniors out with a win over Western,” said senior defensive back Josh Cox. “These last four games are critical to our season. To beat a team like Western that might be able to catapult us in the right direction to finish.”

After the game, a photo of Bonamego went viral on Twitter. In the photo, Bonamego was seen sleeping next to the Victory Cannon trophy. 

“That was Paulette (Bonamego) being a jokester,” Bonamego said. “I pretty much passed out in the bed and woke up to (her) maniacal laughter.”

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