MOUNT PLEASANT-- The Central Michigan Chippewas are on the road to Michigan State Friday in their season opener. Both teams are coming off of disappointing seasons: CMU 4-8, MSU 5-7.
Both teams are in the process of a pretty major overhaul of offensive talent after losing playmakers to both the NFL and the transfer portal.
But that doesn’t mean that the two programs weren’t busy filling those gaps. Michigan State nabbed 18 transfers in the portal, and CMU grabbed key pieces, like now-former Big 10 wide receiver out of Wisconsin, Stephan Bracey.
“I got a lot of confidence in this offense, and I feel like we’re going to do big things this year,” Bracey said.
Both programs are in the midst of a two-way quarterback competition, a competition both programs have been tight-lipped about.
“We’ll see who runs out first on Friday night,” Michigan State head coach Mel Tucker said in his Monday press conference. Michigan State has not released a starting quarterback at the time of this article. As for CMU, their depth chart reads Bert Emanuel Jr. or Jase Bauer, leaving us to believe that they will also let spectators find out who their starter is on Friday night.
However, CMU head coach Jim McElwain did confirm that fans are likely to see both Baur and Emanuel Jr. take snaps on Friday.
“They’re guys that came in with an expectation to play and they’re going to get the opportunity to play, we’ll see how they do,” he said.
Bracey is excited to see how both young QBs excel in the coming weeks.
“I’m seeing a lot of potential, you know they can both run, get out of the pocket, put it on a dime. I really like both of those guys, honestly. They’re my brothers. They have a lot of success ahead of them; I hope I’m a part of it,” he said.
While the Chippewas are excited to see what their offense can do this season, they’ve had to reflect on the past season, as they had one of the worst turnover margins in the country.
“That’s something we’ve been preaching,” Bracey said. “Rule number one is to take care of the football.”
The other thing the CMU program preaches– is physicality. As head coach McElwain has said time and time again, the most successful CMU teams are the ones that are physical up front. Mel Tucker is aware of what a physical team under coach McElwain could mean, as they crossed paths when coaching in the SEC. McElwain was coaching at Florida, and Tucker at both Alabama and Georgia.
“They have good pressure packages on first, second and third down. They can whip guys one on one, that’s what they’ve shown on tape,” Tucker said.
The history between these two teams goes back to 1991. The current record on the all-time series is 8-3 Michigan State. The last time the Chippewas went home with a win against the Spartans was 2009. They’ll look to snap their current four-game losing streak to MSU Friday at Spartan Stadium. Kickoff is set for 7pm.