CMU football rallies late, but falls short in season-opener

Miami freshman Daniel Richardson looses a pass to Detroit freshman Lew Nichols III, right, against NIU, Saturday, Oct. 23.

Glimmers of hope shined through at times as Central Michigan football aimed to accomplish the same feat it managed six years ago: shock Stillwater and the rest of the college football world. 

Ultimately, CMU fell short against Oklahoma State on Thursday, losing 44-58 in the season-opener. However, quarterback Daniel Richardson led a valiant comeback effort despite being down by 36 at the start of the second half.

“I thought (Daniel Richardson) really did a good job at taking what the defense gives him,” said head coach Jim McElwain.

Richardson ended the day with new career highs in yards and completions, while matching his career-high for touchdown passes. He finished the day 36-for-49 with 424 passing yards and four touchdowns, his only blemish being an interception in the third quarter. 

After the game, McElwain didn’t appear concerned about the turnover.

“Even on the interception, we had a busted route on the other side,” McElwain said. (Otherwise), the guy wouldn’t have been there. (Richardson) was going to the proper spot.”

The Cowboys opened the second half with two quick scores, and CMU found itself facing its largest deficit of the night. Even down 36 points, Richardson said giving up was not on the table.

“Basically, I said (to the team) that it was not over yet,” Richardson said. “I mean, at the end of the day man, (there) was time on that clock. You got 30 more minutes left and we got to go out with a fight.”

Following Richardson's lead, the Chippewas managed to rattle off 29 points in the second half, while only allowing a single touchdown from the Cowboys’ offense. Unfortunately, the six touchdowns Oklahoma State recorded in the first half were too much to overcome.

“You know, it’s frustrating that we didn’t play a little bit better earlier,” McElwain said. 

Five Chippewas had at least five receptions, but Ball State transfer Jalen McGaughy led the pack. In his first game with CMU, the sophomore receiver was targeted 11 times, ending the day with six catches for 126 yards and two touchdowns.

“He’s a really good football player, as is Carlos (Carriere),” McElwain said. “I thought a lot of receivers stepped up pretty decent for us. You know, it was good to see Dallas (Dixon) kind of get back going again. It’s a total team game, and (Richardson) did a good job getting the ball where those guys had a chance to catch it.”

The Chippewa offense racked up 544 total yards, outgaining Oklahoma State’s, who ended with 521 total yards.

CMU returns to action on Saturday, Sept. 10, at 1 p.m. against South Alabama, on the newly-named Kramer/Deromedi Field in Kelly/Shorts Stadium.