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How did EMU’s opponents do in week 9?

October 31, 2011
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EMU’s opponents went 5-5 this week. Toledo and Northern Illinois were semi-off; technically they had byes but they’ll be facing off tomorrow night (yes, Tuesday). Two games paired up EMU opponents (Central Michigan at Akron and Ball State at Western Michigan), and of course, EMU was off.

Team W L Total % Conf W L Conf % Last Next Sag
Howard 4 5 44% MEAC 3 3 50% Lost 31-0 vs South Carolina State At Hampton 39.00
Alabama State 6 2 75% SWAC 6 1 86% Lost 20-19 vs Alabama A&M At Arkansas-Pine Bluff 43.32
Michigan 7 1 88% Big Ten 3 1 75% Won 36-14 vs Purdue At Iowa 84.41
Penn State 8 1 89% Big Ten 5 0 100% Won 10-7 vs Illinois Bye (vs Nebraska) 82.34
Akron 1 7 13% MAC 0 4 0% Lost 23-22 vs Central Michigan At Miami 47.01
Toledo 5 3 63% MAC 4 0 100% Bye (won 49-28 vs Miami) Vs Northern Illinois 77.70
Central Michigan 3 6 33% MAC 2 3 40% Won 23-22 at Akron At Kent State 57.47
Western Michigan 5 4 56% MAC 3 2 60% Won 45-35 vs Ball State Bye (at Toledo) 68.23
Ball State 5 4 56% MAC 3 2 60% Lost 45-35 at Western Michigan At EMU 62.02
Buffalo 2 7 22% MAC 1 4 20% Lost 41-13 at Miami Bye (at EMU 55.92
Kent State 2 6 25% MAC 1 3 25% Won 27-15 vs Bowling Green Vs Central Michigan 55.59
Northern Illinois 5 3 63% MAC 3 1 75% Bye (won 31-30 at Buffalo) At Toledo 67.72
Total 53 49 52%   34 24 59%      
Past 39 29 57%   26 14 65%      
Upcoming 14 20 41%   8 10 44%      

Considering that they came into the game with the same overall and conference records, Howard was embarassed at home by South Carolina State. The Bison are still generally in the mid-MEAC pack, but instead of being at the front of the pack, they’re at the back. Their last two games are both winnable — and winning them both would give the Bison a winning season — but this Saturday’s game at Hampton will be tough.

Alabama State lost to Alabama A&M on a blocked PAT 5 minutes into the fourth quarter. The loss leaves the Hornets with a 1/2-game lead in the SWAC East Division, because they’ve played one game more than the Bulldogs. If both teams win out, they’ll tie and based on this game A&M will win the tiebreaker. So Alabama State needs to win out (two very winnable games) and have A&M lose at least one (any one) of their three remaining games.

Michigan steamrolled Purdue, running up a 36-7 lead before the Boilermakers scored in the last minute to make the final score a slightly-more-respectable 36-14. Denard Robinson had a not-terrible passing day (9 of 14 for 170 yards and an interception) and the Wolverines found someone other than him to run the ball, giving it to Fitzgerald Toussaint 20 times (170 yards, 2 touchdowns). Michigan is now ranked #13 in both the AP and Coaches polls and #15 in the BCS rankings. To win their division, the Wolverines need to win out and have Michigan State lose another game (due to the head-to-head tiebreaker). However, Michigan has a tough schedule ahead of them, with their remaining games at Iowa, at Illinois, against Nebraska, and against Ohio State. By comparison the Spartans have come through the worst of their schedule and now play Minnesota, at Iowa, Indiana, and at Northwestern.

On the other side of the B1G, Penn State snuck past Illinois, and now heads into their bye week with a 2 1/2 game lead in their division and only three games left to play. Their three games are against Nebraska, at Ohio State, and at Wisconsin, but nevertheless it looks like the Nittany Lions will probably be the inaugural Leaders Division champions. (Black Shoe Diaries: Penn State 10, Illinois 7: Everybody Chugs Moxie)

The losing continues at Akron. Every week, I say to myself, “Self, this week will be the week that Akron gets things turned around and wins a game”, and every week I’m wrong. After falling behind 20-0 early in the third quarter against Central Michigan, the Zips mounted a furious comeback. Unfortunately that comeback was marred by a couple of bad decisions by head coach Rob Ianello that ultimate cost Akron the game. With 5 minutes remaining in the third quarter, Akron scored their first touchdown on a 38-yard run by Jawon Chisholm. At this point there was really no reason to do anything but kick the PAT — the Zips were down two scores either way — but for whatever reason, Ianello had the team go for two…which they failed. The teams traded field goals, and Akron was still down 14 until, in the last six minutes, they put together two big drives. After the first touchdown, with three minutes remaining, they took the PAT, which left them down 23-16. Akron’s defense forced a three-and-out, and Akron began to drive again, culminating in a touchdown as time expired. Down one after the touchdown, at home, having just put together two successful drives totalling 180 yards while holding the opponent to three-and-out twice in a row, conventional wisdom says to kick the PAT and go to overtime. Ianello is anything but conventional, however, and he chose to go for the win…and wound up with the loss. Don’t get me wrong, I like the agressive call to go for the win rather than playing for overtime — conventional wisdom be damned! — but there was no need — no reason — to go for two on that first touchdown, and if they had just kicked the extra point there, an extra point on the final touchdown would have won the game. I also think that, given the earlier choices and outcomes, they should have run for the two-point conversion rather than thrown, but Akron is certainly a pass-first team. So Central Michigan is one game shy of .500, and the losing continues at Akron.

Just down the road from the Zips, their rival, Kent State, did finally find a way to win, beating Bowling Green 27-15, though almost all of the scoring came in the fourth quarter and the game was closer that the score would suggest — the Golden Zips scored on a Bowling Green fumble with 20 seconds left in the game. But they won, which is something, and they scored points, which is something else. This game pulled their FBS scoring average for the season up 2.8 points.

Speaking of weak offenses (it sure seems like there are a lot of those in the MAC lately), the Buffalo-Miami game started off hot, with the first five possessions ending in touchdowns. After that, however, the Bulls couldn’t keep their end of the deal, failing to score for the rest of the game, and turning what had looked like a shootout into a 41-13 blowout instead. At 3-5 overall and 2-2 in the MAC, the RedHawks are tied for second-place in the East Division, and games remaining at Temple and at Ohio, they control their own destiny.

Finally, EMU’s last opponent played their next opponent, and the result looks promising for the Eagles. After two weak showings, Western Michigan bounced back offensively and dumped 45 points on Ball State. Like the Buffalo-Miami game, both offenses were unstoppable for a quarter — in this case the Broncos and Cardinals combined for 49 second-quarter points, and in the end the Broncos had just a little bit more.

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