McDonald: How the Chippewas will go 6-6 this season, game-by-game
Sept. 1 at Kentucky Wildcats
UK 31, CMU 7
This one will be a rough opening to the season for the Chippewas offense. Going against an SEC secondary to open the season for the inexperienced Tony Poljan on the road has a recipe for disaster. Multiple turnovers doom CMU and Wildcats rushing leader Benny Snell will wear down the defense with a few scores.
Sept. 8 vs. Kansas Jayhawks
CMU 35, Kansas 10
Last season the Chippewas really came together as an offense in a 45-27 blowout win of Kansas. This year, history repeats itself. Poljan throws for a couple touchdowns and Jonathan Ward has his first of many breakout games on the ground this year.
Sept. 15 at Northern Illinois
NIU 31, CMU 14
Again, another road test is too much for the Chippewas to handle. The Huskies have a good defensive front returning and will shut down CMU’s rushing game. NIU QB Marcus Childress is a playmaker with a good running game, they could very well be the eventual MAC West Champions.
Sept. 22 vs. Maine Black Bears
CMU 31, UMaine 20
Maine lost FCS rushing leader Josh Mack and offensive coordinator Liam Coen to other schools this past spring. Those things alone allow the Chippewa defense to hold them off enough for CMU to score against a weak Black Bear defense.
Sept. 29 at Michigan State
MSU 45, CMU 13
The Chippewas have a strong linebacking core led by Malik Fountain and Alex Briones, but this game they will be pushed back. MSU senior tailback L.J. Scott and junior quarterback Brian Lewerke can both use their feet well with Lewerke’s arm also not doing CMU any favors.
Oct. 6 vs. Buffalo
Buffalo 21, CMU 14
The Bulls 6-foot-7 mobile quarterback Tyree Jackson will be a lot to keep up with for the Chippewas defense. Last season the Bulls ran all over CMU in a stormy game. With team-leading tackler Khalil Hodge (154 tackles) returning to stuff the run, last year will prove to not be a fluke.
Oct. 13 vs. Ball State
CMU 38, BSU 10
By this time of the season CMU’s offense should be finding more of a rhythm and will run over a struggling Cardinals football program. This could be the Chippewas biggest point differential ending with a victory all year.
Oct. 20 vs. Western Michigan
WMU 28, CMU 17
Last season John Bonamego had his signature win of the year and arguably his career against the Broncos. This time, Broncos head coach Tim Lester will earn his first win in the rivalry. Quarterback Jon Wassink missed the last game and was a clear factor in the Chippewas 21 unanswered points comeback.
Oct. 27 at Akron
CMU 24, Akron 10
The Chippewas get a huge road victory to keep hope alive for a bowl game. The Zips allowed 28 points per game last season and CMU will score points on a defense that looks relatively the same. Ward has his best MAC game with three scores and carries CMU.
Nov. 3 at EMU
CMU 35, EMU 31
The Chippewas continue to stay consistent on the road and earn a hard fought win. CMU had to escape last season with an interception to capture a win at Kelly/Shorts Stadium. This year, the defense will stay strong with junior Sean Bunting and the secondary creating turnovers against Iowa transfer Tyler Wiegers.
Nov. 10 vs. Bowling Green
CMU 20, BGSU 14
The Falcons who have been in rebuild mode will still struggle this season and the Chippewas will take advantage. BGSU quarterback Jarret Doege will struggle against Mitch Stanitzek and CMU’s pass rush. Brandon Childress wins the game on a fourth quarter score.
Nov. 23 at Toledo
Toledo 28, CMU 13
This one is where the team’s luck will run out on the road after winning back-to-back road games. Regardless of losing MAC Player of the Year Logan Woodside at quarterback, the Rockets have plenty back to earn a convincing win.