Around the MAC: Conference enjoys big weekend
The Mid-American Conference had a weekend to be proud of in football with Toledo’s 16-12 upset win of No. 18 Arkansas of the Southeastern Conference and Bowling Green’s 48-27 victory over Maryland of the Big Ten.
And, don’t forget Eastern Michigan getting its first FBS non-conference road win — 48-29 at Wyoming — in 27 years or a year after the Eagles last won the MAC championship.
It was a great day Saturday for MAC teams, just ask Central Michigan head football coach John Bonamego who led the Chippewas to a 31-10 victory over Monmouth at Kelly/Shorts Stadium.
Ohio also earned a big victory, 21-10 over Marshall, a team that handed Ohio a 30-point loss a year ago while going 13-1 and winning the Conference USA championship.
Matt Johnson of Bowling Green threw for 491 yards and six touchdowns in the win over Maryland and now leads the nation with 915 yards passing.
Western Michigan junior receiver Daniel Braverman leads the nation with 26 receptions, grabbing 13 Saturday in a one-sided 43-17 loss at Georgia Southern.
Roback outstanding in EMU win
Brogan Roback came to Eastern Michigan as a highly-touted four-star quarterback a few years ago.
Well, Roback lived up to all the hype Saturday, helping the Eagles score 38 straight points after Wyoming took a 7-0 lead, including a pair of TD passes during the impressive stretch.
Roback, a 6-foot-3, 205-pound redshirt sophomore, started the season as a backup, but was called upon to run the offense following the season-opening injury to Reggie Bell.
Roback was 17-of-24 for 340 yards and three touchdowns without an interception.
“We’re really, really proud of him,” second-year EMU coach Chris Creighton said of Roback, a pro-style quarterback. “He’s not as fast or explosive as Reggie, but he’s very good with his feet and he obviously has a big arm. One of the things we challenged him with is just taking what people give him and improving his completion percentage and he was above 70 percent this past week so he knocked it out of the park.”
So, who will be starting this Saturday in the MAC opener against Ball State at Rynearson Stadium?
“Reggie is injured and won’t be available this week so Brogan will be starting,” said Creighton, who added Bell’s broken jaw could sideline him for several weeks. “Reggie lasted three quarters before he got injured and Brogan was down on the ground for a couple of seconds and made my heart flutter there in the first quarter (against Wyoming). There’s cases all over the country where you’d better have more than one (quarterback) to be good.”
Creighton has reason to be optimistic. A number of his recruits came up with strong efforts, especially red-shirt freshman running back Shaq Vann (129 yards rushing, two touchdowns ) and freshman receiver Eddie Daugherty (three receptions, 105 yards, touchdown).
“Eddie has been impressive since Day 1,” Creighton said. “You have to be able to learn quickly to be able to play as a freshman and Eddie has a high football IQ and he’s very comfortable out there so he’s really been a part of our plan since camp.
“His junior and senior years in high school he caught 161 balls so he’s very comfortable with running routes and catching the football and we sure are excited about him.”
The Eagles would be 2-0 if not for their failure to close out their opener, a 38-34 loss at home to Old Dominion when they turned the ball over three times.
Creighton knows the Eagles will have to take care of the ball against Ball State (1-1) — a 56-23 loser Saturday at Texas A&M — to open the MAC schedule successfully. They lost three fumbles to fall behind 35-3 early in the second half of an eventual 45-30 loss last season to Ball State in Muncie.
Cass Tech’s Rogers hero in Toledo victory
Toledo coach Matt Campbell had high praise for former Detroit Cass Tech standout defensive player DeJuan Rogers heading into the season.
Well, Rogers showed why Campbell was so confident in his ability, coming through with 11 tackles from his safety spot in the 16-12 upset win over Arkansas while also breaking up a pass and getting an interception.
“He was phenomenal on Saturday,” Campbell said of Rogers, a 6-1, 185-pound junior who played on consecutive state championship teams at Cass Tech in 2011 and 2012. “DeJuan is a young man who freshman year, played a lot of special teams for us and some situational football. Last year, he started every game and we really moved him around, played our nickel back and then started at safety the last couple of games, really found his home towards the end of the year and in the bowl game.
“He’s really taken pride in what his work ethic looks like and I thought it really showed up on maybe one of the biggest stages he’s played in so far. He was phenomenal, tackled extremely well, had a huge interception obviously that probably was one of the game changers in the football game in the end zone. He’s playing at a really high level and I think his best football is still to come.”
Rogers intercepted a Brandon Allen pass in the end zone to stop an Arkansas scoring threat on a third and 6 play at the Toledo 7 early in the third quarter with the Rockets leading, 9-7. Toledo used the momentum swing to go on an 80-yard drive to open up a 16-7 cushion.
Next up for Toledo is a home game Saturday night against an Iowa State (1-1) team from the Big 12.
Rush leads CMU to win
Junior quarterback Cooper Rush completed 25-of-36 for 328 yards and three touchdowns in the win over Monmouth to help the Chippewas even their record at 1-1 while earning Bonamego his first win as CMU’s head coach.
“It was great to get a win at home and that first one is obviously very special and I’m glad it came at Kelly/Shorts,” Bonamego said. “We played a great first half.”
The Chippewas did play a great first half, jumping out to a 31-3 halftime lead, including 24 second-quarter points.
Rush played well in CMU’s season-opening 24-13 loss to Oklahoma State at Kelly/Shorts Stadium. Now, the Chippewas have another shot at getting a win over a Power 5 Conference opponent when they play Saturday at Syracuse (2-0).
Broncos need a win
It’s tough to say a team is in a must-win situation this early in the season, but that’s the scenario for Western Michigan.
The Broncos looked good in a 37-24 loss to No. 5 Michigan State to start the season, but followed that up with a pathetic showing Saturday at Georgia Southern, failing to slow down the option attack in a one-sided loss.
Now, the Broncos are in need of getting a win in Saturday night’s home game against a 1-1 Murray State team which lost to MAC champion Northern Illinois, 57-26.
A loss to Murray State and things could get ugly in a hurry for P.J. Fleck and the Broncos, especially with a nationally televised (3:30 p.m.) game coming up at No. 1 Ohio State Sept. 26.
The Broncos defeated a 3-9 Murray State team, 45-14 in Kalamazoo last season.