Mount Pleasant — Nick Beamish has been a durable, reliable player in Central Michigan’s high-octane passing attack.
A 6-foot-3, 310-pound senior, Beamish is a two-time all-Mid-American Conference first-team center making his 51st consecutive start — second in school history — when Central Michigan takes on Minnesota in the Quick Lane Bowl at Ford Field on Monday.
“What I take a lot of pride in is making the guys around me better, making the other offensive linemen better and smarter in the game, and I feel I do that well,” Beamish said. “It was huge for me to be first-team all-MAC because I believe everybody tries to do their best and reach for all-MAC and that translates into team success as well.”
That success has translated to the team as a whole, especially the offense.
Central Michigan owns the nation’s No. 16 passing attack behind junior quarterback Cooper Rush, who set a season school record with 3,703 yards.
“We know if we give him time good things will happen,” Beamish said of the offensive line. “He’s amazingly smart and he does a great job of spreading the ball around.”
Beamish also has high praise — and admiration — for his coach, John Bonamego.
The first-year coach battled through cancer before the season.
“You don’t want to think you need to have extra motivation to play college football, but when you have a guy like that going through what he did, just the professionalism and the positivity that he brought,” Beamish said. “He never let us see him at a weak moment. That whole experience I think really showed this team what we had with him as a coach — a fighter, a pure fighter.”
And then, Bonamego guided the Chippewas to a share of the MAC West Division title.
“I have tons of respect for him,” Beamish said. “What he’s come in and done and what kind of atmosphere he brought with him is something we all really respect and appreciate. And just the way he comes in and his attitude. He’s so very consistent. He doesn’t get too high or too low. He always has his eyes on the goal.”
And part of Bonamego’s goal was making his players believe they could compete with the big boys.
Central Michigan held a third-quarter lead against Oklahoma State and trailed Michigan State by a touchdown in the fourth quarter before losing each game.
Its biggest victory was perhaps in Bonamego’s conference debut when Central Michigan upset Northern Illinois, 29-19.
“We try not to listen to things, but before the season they (media) had us finishing like next to last (fifth in six-team West),” Beamish said of the Chippewas, who have won five of their last six games. “It was definitely good to win a few big games.”
Quick Lane Bowl
Minnesota vs. Central Michigan
Kickoff: 5 p.m. Monday, Ford Field, Detroit
Records: Minnesota 5-7, Central Michigan 7-5
Line: Minnesota by 6
Series: Minnesota leads 1-0