‘Our quarterback situation for the future is pretty darn good’: CMU rotates quarterbacks in NIU victory


Ankeny, Iowa freshman Jase Bauer takes over the quarterback position late in the game against Bucknell and punches in a rushing touchdown, Saturday, Sept. 17, at Kelly/Shorts stadium.

Leading up to Central Michigan football’s trip to DeKalb, Illinois, questions of a potential change at quarterback began echoing in from the fanbase. 

Would the Chippewas give the nod to sophomore Daniel Richardson? Or would head coach Jim McElwain turn to redshirt freshman Jase Bauer to lead CMU down the stretch?

Richardson got the start in the Chippewas 35-22 win over Northern Illinois on Wednesday. However, McElwain deployed a rotational strategy to help keep the offense moving, giving snaps to Bauer and freshman Bert Emanuel, Jr.

"I just think all of them give us a little something, and they deserved the play," McElwain said. "And I thought, for the most part, they played pretty well. And I think that's gonna bode well for us as we finish these last three games.”

Rotating in-and-out multiple times per drive, the quarterback trio led CMU into halftime with a 21-point advantage.

"The quarterback thing, I think got them a little bit off balance,” McElwain said. "And what I didn't notice is they didn't quite blitz as much as maybe they had, I think trying to figure some of that out, you know, which I think was a bonus for us.”

Richardson’s response

After beginning the season as the sure-fire starting quarterback, Richardson’s role has come under fire as the Chippewas battle through Mid-American Conference play.

Although he split time with Bauer and Emanuel, Richardson supported the decision to switch things up.

"Awesome gameplan, you know, they weren't expecting it," Richardson said. "Coach said we got to mix it up a little bit. We were all fine with it, we were all behind each other, and we all support each other. Getting the win, that was the most important thing and we got that." 

While Richardson passed for 150 yards and two touchdowns, the CMU offensive line kept him untouched throughout the game.

"I didn't get touched all day today," Richardson said. "I had zero sacks. I mean, that's a plus right there.”

In addition to being kept upright, Richardson benefited from sophomore running back Lew Nichols III’s return from injury.

That's my dog, my homeboy," Richardson said. “That's my guy right there. Just him getting back on the field, you know, (he's) awesome to have out there… (Nichols) running the ball brings another aspect, the defense got to watch out for him as well.”

While Nichols was a welcome addition to the Chippewas, they lost junior tight end, Joel Wilson, to injury in the first quarter of Wednesday’s game.

“I just talked to him, I said, ‘Man, God got you at the end of the day,’” Richardson said. “And you know, we're gonna play for you, man. We're gonna get this win and we're behind you."

Bauer shows his speed

With Richardson controlling the passing attack, Bauer displayed his versatility as he led CMU with 109 rushing yards and two touchdowns. 

After his second-consecutive game eclipsing 100 rushing yards, Bauer said his trust is high in the offensive unit.

"(Jamezz Kimbrough), he commands the whole offense up there," Bauer said. "So, you know, just running behind those guys, I got the biggest trust in the world with our O line, our tight ends, and running backs. I couldn't trust those guys more and they make my job easier. The holes are big and I just try to hit them for them.”

CMU returns to Kelly/Shorts Stadium to take on Buffalo on Wednesday, Nov. 9 at 7 p.m.