MOUNT PLEASANT– After going 2-2 in nonconference play, the Central Michigan Chippewas are ready to open Mid-American Conference play at home Saturday against the 2-2 Eastern Michigan Eagles.
“Playing for that Michigan MAC trophy, with the three teams (Eastern Michigan, Central Michigan, and Western Michigan) it’s definitely always a competitive match. They’re well coached, they bring toughness,” Central linebacker Kyle Moretti said.
The Michigan MAC Trophy is awarded to the Mid-American Conference university that has the best head-to-head record in each season of each sport. Currently, Eastern holds the trophy. Western leads with the most titles claimed with 7, followed by CMU with 6, and EMU with 5.
“You can tell, going into this week’s game and into MACtion that the team is definitely excited about. What’s coming up for Saturday,” CMU defensive backs coach Michael Zordich said.
As they head into their first conference game of the season, the Chippewas feel it was their tough nonconference games that will give them an edge over their MAC opponents.
“[The nonconference games] definitely showed where we’re at as a program and what we needed to work on what we’re good at. And I think we kind of found ourselves. So it was definitely a good experience. And we’re all thankful for that. And we’re just ready to get started with conference play,” Moretti said.
The Chippewas are coming off of a huge win against South Alabama. They took home the win on the road 34-30, despite being 16 point underdogs heading into the matchup. Quarterback Bert Emanuel Jr. started the game against the Jags, going 3-and-out on the first two drives before the Chippewas made the call to substitute Jase Bauer in under center.
Bauer had an exceptional game, turning things around with four rushed touchdowns and throwing for another.
Bauer’s main target throughout the contest was junior wide receiver Jesse Prewitt III. He had a career-high day, with 10 catches totaling 142 yards, including a 70-yard touchdown.
The offensive momentum led to Jase Bauer being named the MAC West offensive player of the week.
“Shoot, I’m proud of him. I’m happy that I was able to help him receive that honor. You know, I just can’t wait to see what more he has to bring to the table because he definitely has more,” Prewitt said.
And though Bauer has now put together back-to-back convincing performances, the Chippewas STILL have not decided on a QB1– and they like it that way.
“I think there’s a two-headed monster and two really good quarterbacks that are able to play and they complement each other. So I think it’s exciting,” Zordich said. “And as a coach, getting prepared for that, that’s a pain in the rear. You’ve got two different styles of quarterbacks. One, one more nifty on his feet, the other more of the old west coast offense kind of guy that just thinks and gets the ball where it’s got to go. So it’s an interesting pair, and certainly one I would not want to prepare for.”
Kick off for the Chippewas and Eagles 101st meeting is set for 1:30 p.m. at Kelly/Shorts Stadium. The game can be watched live on ESPN+.