MAC Football alumnus Plies (formerly Nod Washington) said it best about the BCS conferences: Bust it, baby. That’s exactly what the Mid-American conference managed to do in week four. Central Michigan, Western Michigan, Ball State, and Northern Illinois all managed victories over members of automatic-qualifying conferences. If all four schools continue to play at this level, expect a tight race for the MAC West. Rundown time, kids.
Player of the Week: Ohio QB Derrius Vick. Is there a quarterback controversy brewing in Athens? Umm…no. But Coach Frank Solich has to be pleased with the way the redshirt freshman performed in relief of an injured Tyler Tettleton. Vick spread the ball around to eight different receivers and tossed four touchdowns, as the Ohio offense didn’t miss a beat. Even though Vick’s performance came against an inferior FCS opponent in Norfolk State, it gave a glimpse into the future.
Goat of the Week: Bowling Green QB Matt Schilz. The quarterback position is a completely different story in northwest Ohio. In BGSU’s horrendous loss to Virginia Tech, the senior quarterback completed only 36 percent of his passes for 87 yards in an interception and was relieved in the third quarter by freshman Matt Johnson. Johnson did not fare much better (5-17, 46 yards); so don’t expect Schilz to be shelved any time soon. But at 1-3, Bowling Green doesn’t have time to spare if they want to turn their season around.
Surprise of the Week: Akron’s performance on the road at Tennessee. I’ll admit it, I’ve been tough on Terry Bowden’s boys. Maybe my posts have found their way onto the Akron bulletin board, because they have been playing inspired the past three weeks. The Zips actually led toward the end of the second quarter and only trailed by three heading into the fourth. Akron survived on the big play, such as an interception return by Avis Commack and a 70-yard run by Quentin Hines. If the Zips can turn a few Robert Stein field goals into touchdowns, and Dalton Williams can cut down on the interceptions, expect them to steal a few games in conference play.
Disappointment of the Week: Miami’s defense against UMass. The RedHawks were able to pull out an easy victory over Massachusetts, but the Minutemen were able to expose Miami’s weaknesses. The RedHawks D allowed 258 rushing yards, 188 of them to senior running back Michael Cox. UMass totaled nearly 500 yards of total offense, nearly doubling their best offensive performance this year. If not for three Mike Wegzyn interceptions, Massachusetts would have had an excellent chance to pull an upset. Miami will need to find a way to slow opposing offenses if they want to have a shot at a division title.
Game of the Week: Central Michigan’s win over Iowa. The Chippewas win was nothing short of magical. Down eight points with 2:18 remaining, Central drove 64 yards and scored on a Ryan Radcliff touchdown pass to Titus Davis. But after a failed two point conversion, it seemed Central would have to settle for a moral victory. That is, until Jesse Kroll recovered this improbable onside kick (by the way, since when does Bob and Tom call the Central Michigan games?). After a chip shot field goal, Central had won what could be the game of the year in the MAC.
Fashion Update: Bowling Green broke out their matted orange helmets against Virginia Tech, but the bigger story was the Hokie’s camo helmets and jerseys. Eastern Michigan looked sharp in matted gray helmets and gray pants, but that was about all they did against Michigan State.
Penalty of the Week: Two Norfolk State players were penalized for wearing the same uniform number on the field at the same time Saturday against Ohio.
What to Watch, Week 5: MAC favorite Ohio opens conference play in Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Massachusetts against UMass. QB Tyler Tettleton should be good to go after a week off…Ball State made me look really smart last week after an upset over South Florida. They travel to Kent State on Saturday…Central Michigan beat Iowa. Iowa beat Northern Illinois. Will the transitive property hold true? Central travels to DeKalb on Saturday…Western Michigan and Toledo, both coming off solid wins at home, square off under the lights in Kalamazoo.