Things I'm thinking after the road teams posted a 4-2 record in league games Saturday. It sets up a month of “Super Tuesdays” for the MAC in November as Toledo plays at Northern Illinois to decide the West Division Nov. 9; Ohio is at Temple Nov. 16 and the Owls play at Miami Nov. 23 ...
Northern Illinois 28, (at) Western Michigan 21: The Broncos gave NIU a bit of a scare, driving down to the shadow of the goal three times but coming up just short. And while WMU signal-caller Alex Carder may have had the glitzier stats – he completed 31-of-53 passes for 360 yards and 3 TDs – the Huskies’ Chandler Harnish connected on 18-of-30 for 214 yards and 2 TDs while running for 33 yards and another score to lead his team to its sixth straight win. But there seem to be some chinks in Northern’s armor, especially the pass defense.
(at) Temple 30, Akron 0: The Owls again were dominant on defense, posting their second consecutive shutout by allowing the Zips to cross midfield only once while scoring three second-half touchdowns to pull away. Akron’s offense managed just 154 yards of total offense, including just 20 rushing yards, as the Zips lost for the ninth time in a row. I wonder if Temple’s struggles on offense were the result of good play by the Zips or the struggles of the Owls? If you’re rooting for Temple, you’d better hope it’s not the latter.
Miami 21, (at) Buffalo 9: Well, I’m just about ready to believe that Miami is a good team. Certainly the combination of sophomore QB Zac Dysert (21-of-36, 231 yards, 2 TDs) to freshman Nick Harwell (8 catches, 97 yards, 2 TDs) seems to be for real. Meanwhile the Bulls problems on offense continued, but those problems centered on ineffective line play more than freshman quarterback woes. UB’s defense needs to step up if the Bulls wish to win again.
(at) Kent State 33, Ball State 14: The Golden Flashes have arguably the best defense in the MAC after forcing four Cardinal turnovers and limiting BSU to just 272 yards of total offense, including just 72 yards rushing. Give KSU coach Doug Martin credit for working to save his job; might Ball State coach Stan Parrish be losing his? When asked after the game if the recent poor play by the defense was causing it to lose confidence, Parrish said to the Muncie Star-Press, “You’d like me to say yes. No comment. Next … We can have a graveyard party if you’d like, but let’s talk about the game.”
By the way, mad props to KSU alumnus Josh Cribbs, who had his uniform retired at the game. The All-Pro from the Cleveland Browns presented the university with a check for $100,000 -- the amount of his college scholarship. How's that for classy?
(at) Ohio 38, Louisiana-Lafayette 31: The Bobcats needed 28 second-half points to post this come-from-behind victory in a contest that was much closer than expected against the 2-6 Ragin’ Cajuns. Ohio QB Boo Jackson threw for three touchdowns but also had four interceptions; the Bobcat defense finished with six sacks and limited UL-L to just 73 net yards rushing.