Three takeaways from CMU's shutout of Robert Morris
Central Michigan didn't leave anything up for interpretation in its season opening win over Robert Morris.
Facing a depleted Colonials clan, the Chippewas hung 45 points on the scoreboard and pitched a shutout. The offense totaled 515 yards and the defense allowed just 109. Winning on third downs was a point of emphasis heading into this season for the coaching staff, and CMU did just that with seven offensive conversions while allowing just one.
"Our defense played great," said head coach Jim McElwain. "Did a really good job. On offense, there's some things we've got to clean up. Can't leave points on (the field) going in like we did."
Here are three takeaways from the Chippewas victory:
In a blowout victory, the Chippewas were able to get almost its entire roster on the field. Many greyshirt and true freshmen were able to make their debuts. Among those was a pair of highly spoken of players, quarterback Tyler Pape and running back De'Javion Stepney.
Pape played one series behind center in the fourth quarter, going 2-for-2 for 12 yards through the air. The drive stalled at the RMU 37 yard line, but McElwain praised Pape's ability to move the offense.
"Tyler came in and goes 2-for-2 and actually looked like he belonged," McElwain said.
Stepney, a true freshman from Macomb, led the team with 81 yards rushing on nine carries. He was one of six running backs to carry the ball. Along with fellow freshmen Marion Lukes and Myles Bailey, Stepney gives the Chippewa offense options behind starter Lew Nichols and versatile backup Darius Bracy.
"Stepney, that guy's pretty fast," McElwain said. "We got Myles in pretty early, we wanted to do that. Thought that was good."
Defensively, greyshirt freshman Kyle Moretti continued his solid start. After a five tackle performance in the season opener, he added four along with a forced fumble against the Colonials.
It wasn't just the youngsters who shined, however. Late in the first half, redshirt freshman Daniel Richardson entered at quarterback and promptly led a 86-yard scoring drive. In that series, the Miami, Florida native went 3-for-5 for 83 yards and a perfectly placed pass to Dallas Dixon for a touchdown.
Dixon, Sullivan continue solid starts
Formerly unknown, Dixon asserted himself as a starter with a solid showing in last year's six-game slate. The Northern Michigan transfer played well in the season opener against Missouri and continued that play with his performance against the Colonials.
On the day, Dixon posted game-high totals in receptions (5), receiving yards (73) and touchdowns (2). It was the first multi-touchdown game of his career.
"I've got the mindset of yeah, have fun, celebrate it for now," Dixon said. "But we've got to move forward and prepare for our next opponent. Try not to dwell on the little things that come with it. I just go out there and do what I'm supposed to do to the best of my ability."
Sullivan, meanwhile, scored in his second straight game. The Muskegon native hauled in a 24-yard touchdown pass from starting quarterback Jacob Sirmon, who was 12-for-16 for 110 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions.
Hunter Buczkowski caught his second career touchdown on a three-yard pass from Sirmon, while Remi Simmons, Ke'Andre Collins and Jake Tafelski each had their first receptions as Chippewas.
Knowing you're better than your opponent is one thing -- proving it is entirely different, and that's exactly what the Chippewas did. A big portion of that responsibility falls on the defense, which was exceptional.
"Winning a college football game is not an easy thing," said senior safety Gage Kreski. "And I think the defense did a great job with the goose egg for sure. It's easier said than done and the defense really came out and was on point."
RMU totaled just three first downs and 109 total yards. The Colonials, led by graduate senior quarterback George Martin, put up just 13 yards through the air.
Defensive end Amir Siddiq led the team with five total tackles, including 1.5 tackles for loss. Thomas Incoom, a Valdosta State transfer, had a tackle for loss in his second straight game.