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Sophomore Kobe Lewis racks up 183 yards in debut as feature back


Central Michigan running back Kobe Lewis runs past a diving Akron defender Sept. 14 at Kelly/Shorts Stadium.

In his debut as the feature back at Central Michigan, sophomore Kobe Lewis delivered with an impressive performance in the Chippewas’ 45-24 home victory over the Akron Zips at Kelly/Shorts Stadium on September 14.

The 5-foot-11, 194-pound running back piled up 146 yards and three touchdowns on the ground while also contributing three receptions for 37 yards.

Lewis is usually the second option at running back for the Chippewas, right behind senior Jonathan Ward.

But with Ward out indefinitely to a lingering shoulder injury, Lewis has been elevated into the starting role. 

With 27 rush attempts on the afternoon, Lewis took the bulk of the carries for the Chippewas and helped establish a balanced attack against the Zips. 

For junior quarterback David Moore, who also made his first start as a Chippewa in the game, Lewis’ productivity was a blessing because it forced the Akron defense to respect both the rushing and the passing attack.

“It took all the pressure off me,” Moore said. 

Moore and Lewis led the way on an offensive effort that amassed a total of 533 yards, which dwarfed the Zips’ 329 total yards.

“I thought our guys took it to 'em,” McElwain said. “I think we imposed our will at times, which is something that really good teams learn to do.” 

Lewis did his fair share of imposing his will. On a good number of his 27 carries, Lewis would absorb the contact of the initial defender and either bounce off it or plow straight through, fighting for extra yards.

An arm tackle was not enough to bring down Lewis, who moved efficiently in space and rarely gave Akron a chance to size him up and make a mechanically sound tackle.

And even when they did get the opportunity to square up on the back, Lewis had an answer.

On one run down the sideline, a defender came in hard at Lewis with his shoulder pad in an attempt to make solid contact and wrap up for a nice form tackle, Lewis deftly vaulted over the surprised Zip and kept his balance to gain a few more yards.

Coming into the season, McElwain recognized the amount of talent he inherited at the running back position, and now has come the time for the rest of the Mid-American Conference to notice as well.

“I felt we had a really good running back room, and it’s starting to prove out a little bit,” McElwain said.       

With the win, CMU improved to 2-1 on the season and recorded its first MAC win since November 24, 2017. 

Led by Lewis in the rushing department, the Chippewas hope to ride their momentum into Miami Gardens, where they play the Miami Hurricanes in a 4 p.m. contest at Hard Rock Stadium on September 21.