Football guarantees bowl game, prepares for finale with Northern Illinois

Students cheer following a touchdown during the football game against Eastern Michigan University on Nov. 8 at Kelly/Shorts Stadium.

With a 42-23 win over Kent State on Nov. 14, the Central Michigan football team earned its seventh win to guarantee itself a postseason bowl game appearance.

However, with Toledo’s (9-2, 6-1 Mid-American Conference) 66-37 victory over Bowling Green, CMU’s (7-4, 5-2) hopes of playing for the MAC West Division have been crushed.

The Chippewas will try to spoil Northern Illinois’ (8-3, 6-1) hopes of winning the MAC West Division when they meet at noon Friday, Nov. 24, at Kelly/Shorts Stadium.

CMU head coach John Bonamego said his team has “stood together” during the team’s four-game winning streak and it’s because of the players preparation.

“They’ve held themselves accountable for everything.” Bonamego said. “You need that. You need players to reinforce the message and stay focused.”

Graduate transfer quarterback Shane Morris said the offense “is beginning to click” during the win streak and they are making a lot of plays.

“We’re completing a lot of passes, scoring a lot of touchdowns and the running game is going,” Morris said. “Everything is just starting to click. When that happens some special things can happen.”

Senior defensive end Joe Ostman said the defense hasn’t stopped teams as well as they’d like too, but the turnovers have made the biggest difference.

“Those guys in the secondary have made plays all season long,” Ostman said. “When we are able to get tackles in the backfield and force fumbles, it just makes us more dangerous as a unit.”

With the win against Kent State, the Chippewas are 4-0 on the road in the MAC since for the first time since 2009. Overall, CMU is 5-2 on the road this season which ties a program record for the most road wins in a season.

CMU’s four-game winning streak is the most since 2012 and the most in the regular season since 2009.

Bonamego has earned two bowl game bids in two seasons for the Chippewas. In 2015, CMU fell to Minnesota in the Quick Lane Bowl, 21-14. Last season, he took his team to the Miami Beach Bowl, which the Chippewas lost to Tulsa, 55-10.

Here’s a few of the bowl games CMU is projected to make after Week 12, according to Sporting News and SB Nation.

Dec. 22, 2017, 
Famous Idaho Potato Bowl, Boise, Idaho (4 p.m., ESPN)

CMU vs. Fresno State 

MAC vs. Mountain West

Sporting News

Dec. 22, 2017, Bahamas Bowl, Nassau, Bahamas (12:30 p.m., ESPN)

CMU vs. North Texas

MAC vs. Conference USA

ESPN's staff writer David Hale

Dec. 26, 2017, 
Quick Lane Bowl, Detroit (5:15 p.m., ESPN)

CMU vs. Utah State

ACC/Notre Dame vs. Big Ten

SB Nation, College Football News