MOUNT PLEASANT—The Central Michigan Chippewas (5-5, 3-3) are on the road this week to the Ohio University (7-3,4-2) Bobcats. Both teams are currently second in their respective Mid-American Conference division.
The Chippewas are coming off of a tough 38-28 loss to in-state rival Western Michigan. The loss crushed any chance of the Chippewas taking the top spot in the West over Toledo and leaves them still hunting for their sixth win to make the team bowl eligible.
However, pulling out a win on the road this week could prove to be a challenge for the Chippewas. They’ve only been able to nab one road win all season, and it was in week four to South Alabama. The Chippewas came into that game three-score underdogs and believe they can still be that underdog team that wins on the road.
“No doubt, no flinch, no blink… we still got a lot to play for. Let’s go play for it,” CMU head coach Jim McElwain said of the belief he still has in his team.
Come Wednesday, the Chippewa team has the potential to not be as complete as McElwain would want. Stating his team has been bitten by the “injury bug.”
Starting running backs Marion Lukes and Myles Bailey are working through injuries, along with offensive lineman Keegan Smith, defensive backs Trey Jones and Donte Kent, and linebacker Kyle Moretti.
However, quarterback Bert Emanuel Jr. has shown progress in his injury with his throwing shoulder. “There’s a plan for him in this game,” his head coach said. The QB saw a few snaps last week against WMU.
If the injuries plus being on the road isn’t enough, the Bobcats are a mighty difficult team in themselves.
Led by 5th year senior and reigning MAC offensive player of the year, Kurtis Rourke, the Chippewas will have to learn to put a stop to their veteran offense, and stout defense.
“The pistol itself, it was something I remember putting in when I was at Alabama and calling the guys at Reno who invented it,” Coach McElwain said. “It’s unique because the guy’s in the hole, it isn’t an offset one side or the other. It forces you to balance up, and then they do a great job of the number count. They go in with a two-play sequence based on numbers. They’ll either let it ride, or they’ll flip it to the other side, that kind of thing. They know what they’re doing, and then to have the quarterback that has the experience in that system and just makes it that much better.”
Kickoff for Wednesday’s midweek MACtion in Athens is set for 7 pm. The game will be held on ESPNU.