The Central Michigan Chippewas (5-5, 4-2) will travel to take on Kent State Golden Flashes (3-7, 2-4) in a Mid-American Conference matchup Wednesday night. Central Michigan has won seven of the last ten meetings between the programs; Kent State took a 24-21 home win as a 2.5 point favorite on November 4, 2011 in the most recent matchup.
Central Michigan had won three straight before falling 28-23 at home to Toledo last Tuesday night. Kent State was blanked 27-0 on the road by Ohio last Tuesday for their third straight defeat. Kickoff from Dix Stadium in Kent, Ohio is scheduled for 8:00 pm ET and will be televised on ESPNU. Central Michigan is currently a 10.5 point favorite in this contest.
Central Michigan was down 14-0 after one quarter and despite a spirited effort, they were unable to come back to get the win. The Chippewas were down 21-0 early in the second quarter and closed to within 21-17 but couldn’t get over the hump. Central Michigan was outgained 485-408 and gave up 23 first downs while picking up 21 in the game. The Chippewas committed the lone turnover in the contest but did manage to win the time of possession battle by a 32:07 to 27:53 margin.
The Chippewas are a terrific passing team as they are 19th in the nation in passing offense (301.5 yards) while they are just 126th in rushing with an average of 92.3 yards per game on the ground. Central Michigan scores 26 points per game, which is 73rd in the nation; the Chippewas currently are tied for 34th by allowing 22.3 points per contest. Cooper Rush continues to be the driving force behind the offensive attack for the Chippewas as he’s hit 264 of 387 passes for 2,975 yards with 22 touchdowns and nine picks. The run game has been stifled for the most part as the Chippewas average just 2.9 yards per attempt on their 313 rushing attempts. Jahray Hayes is currently leading the team with 72 carries for 257 yards and two scores while Devon Spalding (52 carries, 182 yards, TD) and Martez Walker (85 carries, 248 yards, 2 TD) are in the mix as well; none have done much to seize the job. Jesse Kroll is the team’s leading receiver with 50 receptions for 696 yards and four scores; Anthony Rice (46 receptions, 515 yards, 4 TD), Ben McCord (32 catches, 459 yards, 4 TD) and Mark Chapman (37 grabs, 498 yards, TD) are good options as well. Brian Eavey has hit all 28 extra points and 14 of 19 field goal attempts with a long of 48 yards.
Kent State failed to do much of anything offensively as they were shut down by an Ohio team that had dropped three straight games entering that contest. The Golden Flashes were outgained 447-191, gave up 22 first downs while picking up only 8 and allowed Ohio to control the time of possession battle 36:14 to 23:46 in the contest. Kent State committed a pair of turnovers while failing to force a takeaway in the game. Ohio scored seven points on turnovers in the game while Kent State never really mounted much of a threat.
The Golden Flashes have had offensive issues this season as they are 121st in the nation in passing offense (143.4 yards) and currently stand 102nd in rushing offense with an average of 140.3 yards per game. Kent State averages 14.3 points per game, which leaves them tied for 119th in the nation in scoring offense and they are 65th in the nation in scoring defense by allowing 26.6 points per contest. It’s unknown who will start at quarterback here as coach Paul Haynes has run two different quarterbacks this season; Colin Reardon (71 of 154, 791 yards, 6 TD, 4 INT) was the starter most of the first half of the year while George Bollas (82 of 139, 643 yards, 2 TD, 6 INT, 221 rushing yards, TD) is the other likely candidate. Bollas got the start in each of the last four games and the redshirt freshman may have the inside track on the job. Trayion Durham is the team’s leading rusher with 109 carries for 372 yards and two scores while Raekwon James (70 carries, 221 yards) and Nick Holley (34 carries, 133 yards) are next in line. Six players have double digit receptions on the year: James leads the team with 26 receptions for 225 yards while Kris White has 17 catches for 197 yards and P.J. Simmons contributes 16 grabs for 111 yards; Ernest Calhoun has chipped in 15 receptions for 178 yards plus three scores while Antwan Dixon has contributed 24 grabs for 325 yards and a score. Shane Hynes has hit all 11 extra points and seven of 10 field goal attempts this season.
Central Michigan is 7-0 ATS in their last seven after a straight up loss, 5-0-1 ATS in their last six on Wednesday, 9-2 ATS in their last 11 overall, 13-3 ATS in their last 16 on the road and 4-1 ATS in their last five after an ATS loss. Kent State is 1-4 ATS in their last five after a straight up loss, 1-4 ATS in their last five after an ATS loss, 1-5 ATS in their last six conference games, 1-6 ATS in their last seven overall, 1-6 ATS in their last seven on fieldturf and 0-4 ATS in their last four at home.
The Chippewas have been very good ATS this season and they have excellent offensive weapons to work with that can make life difficult for the best defenses in the nation. Kent State has struggled all year when it comes to moving the ball and putting points on the board. Central Michigan should win this one by a couple touchdowns and climb back over the .500 mark on the year.