Western Michigan is 4-0 and loaded with stars, led by receiver Corey Davis, quarterback Zach Terrell, who has completed nearly 70 percent of his passes, and kick returner Darius Phillips, who is a threat to score every time he touches the ball.
Still, running back Jamauri Bogan could be the team MVP heading into WMU's rivalry game Saturday night at Central Michigan.
Bogan is the nation’s best at moving the chains, No. 1 in the country with 30 carries leading to first downs.
Bogan unseated MAC Offensive Player of the Year Jarvion Franklin as the Broncos’ No. 1 running back last year, rushing for 1,051 yards and 16 TDs, including 215 yards and four TDs in a Bahamas Bowl win.
Bogan, a 5-foot-7, 185-pound sophomore, has used his strength to get first downs in short yardage situation or his speed to break away for long runs.
“The offensive line is a really close cohesive group and they work well together and it’s not only those five, but our tight end Donnie Ernsberger, who does an excellent job to make sure that we fill up that entire box,” said Bogan. “We understood coming into the season that we had a lot of talent and high expectations, so with that comes pressure, and we worked really hard and prepared for that type of pressure.”
Bogan rushed for 103 yards and a TD in the season-opening 22-21 win over Northwestern, then 189 yards and two TDs in a 34-10 rout of Illinois to complete the sweep of Big Ten opponents.
In the win over Northwestern, nine of Bogan’s 22 carries led to first downs, including three times on fourth and short to help the Broncos hold on to the ball for more than 39 minutes. In fact, he had four big fourth-down plays with the final one leading to a 1-yard TD with 5:38 left for the difference.
In the win over Illinois, Bogan broke loose for a 40-yard run and also scored on a 36-yarder.
When asked to comment on his ability to move the chains, Bogan said: “I’m a product of great people around me where I have elite coaches, an elite offensive line, a special quarterback and a special wide receiver, and they allow things to open up so that when I do get the ball I’m able to make a few things happen."
The Broncos will enter the rivalry game with a six-game winning streak and Bogan has five consecutive 100-yard rushing games.
“He’s an incredible worker, very smart and makes others around him better,” said WMU fourth-year coach P.J. Fleck of Bogan, who was a three-star recruit out of New Jersey. “He has great vision and is able to break tackles. He’s extremely dynamic, very hungry and he’s an incredible leader.”
CMU loses Kroll
Jessie Kroll gave CMU fans a lasting memory by hauling in Cooper Rush’s Hail Mary pass on the final play of the Oklahoma State game earlier this month, then flipping the ball to Corey Willis for the winning TD in the 30-27 upset win over the then-No. 22 Cowboys.
Kroll’s senior season came to an end last week when he suffered a knee injury in the 49-35 loss at Virginia.
Kroll had seven receptions for 98 yards in the win over Oklahoma State and had 13 receptions for 214 yards and a TD for the season.
Coach John Bonamego said the receiver position is a strength for the Chippewas with Willis and Mark Chapman joined by redshirt freshman Brandon Childress. Chapman had two TD receptions in a Week 3 win over UNLV, a game in which Childress hauled in a 42-yard TD toss from Rush.
Expect Rush to also target standout tight end Tyler Conklin (16 receptions, 248 yards, two TDs) in the upcoming weeks with the loss of Kroll.
Grissom commits to EMU
Eastern Michigan Chris Creighton picked up another big win earlier this month with River Rouge quarterback Jairus Grissom announcing he was making a commitment to play for the Eagles.
Grissom, a three-star quarterback who transferred from Dearborn Heights Robichaud, has led River Rouge to a No. 9 ranking in The Detroit News Super 20. He picked Eastern Michigan over No. 6 Houston, Purdue, Rutgers, Syracuse, Wake Forest, Western Michigan, Toledo, Central Michigan and North Carolina State.
"A lot of people that offered him wanted him as an athlete or to play at another position and Eastern Michigan offered him with the opportunity to play quarterback and he wants to prove he can play quarterback at the next level," said River Rouge coach Corey Parker of Grissom.