By: Brandon Vieyra (@beatitdownb)
We now find ourselves heading into Week Four of MACtion, and I think it’s officially safe to say that the long-awaited return of the MAC has more than been delivered. In these first three weeks, we’ve seen breakout players, new rivalries brewing, and a first glimpse into what will likely be the future coaches. In case you missed it, let’s run through what happened in Week Three of the Mid-American Conference games.
Northern Illinois (0-2) vs. Kent State (0-2)
Here we witnessed a battle between the two winless teams in the division, both hungry for their first win. Last week, we saw Northern Illinois bounce back from a 55-21 loss and fall just short of the #1 ranked Falcons 37-31. This week, we saw the Huskies fall just short for the second week in a row.
The Huskies started hot finding the end zone in the opening quarter and playing very well defensively. The offense kept up the drive by finding the end-zone yet again in the second quarter, but couldn’t contain the Golden Flashes who put up 13 second-quarter points to bring it to a one-point game heading into the half. A tough battle in the third quarter saw the Huskies find the end-zone for their third touchdown of the game. The Flashes put two between the crossbars to keep the difference at one. Coming into the final quarter, the Huskies collapsed on offense only managing to put up three, and the Flashes took advantage. Kent State scored 11 points to pull out their first win of the season. Another heartbreaking loss for the Huskies.
Final: Kent St 30, NIU 24
Bowling Green (2-0) vs. Ohio (2-0)
Here, we had a showdown between the two undefeated teams left in the MAC. Both teams came in hungry knowing that only one will remain, and the winner will find themself atop the MAC. Bowling Green was the school ranked #1 from the start of the season, and the favorite to win the conference. They’ve started the season hot with an impressive 45-42 win over Eastern Michigan after mounting an impressive 25-point comeback. They followed that up with a 37-31 win over the Huskies. Ohio on the other hand started ranked as the last team in the league at #6. The Bobcats took that personally and started the season dropping 55 points on the Huskies’ defense, and then taking down the Rockets at home 23-16.
In what many thought to be the game of the week, the Falcons and Bobcats did not disappoint. Both teams displayed a strong defensive presence, and some explosive offensive performances as well. A quiet first quarter saw the Bobcats start strong with a 6 to 0 lead. Both the Falcons and Bobcats got the rock moving dropping 17 points each, for a combined 34 points in the second quarter. A strong defensive performance in the third quarter held the Falcons to just a field goal, while the Bobcats found the end-zone yet again. In the final quarter, the Bobcats’ defense held strong despite the offense not scoring any points in the final quarter. Ohio sneaks out with a major win.
Final: Ohio 30, Bowling Green 27
Eastern Michigan (1-1) vs. Toledo (1-1)
Lastly, a battle between the two .500 teams. Coming into this game, both the Rockets and Eagles have mounted an impressive win but suffered a heartbreaking one-score loss. Both teams came in with a lot to prove, and both teams looked to prove that their one loss doesn’t define their team. When the MAC leading rusher RaQ Rhodes hit the road to face off against the MAC leading passer Ludwig Friedman, tensions were high and both teams clashed.
The Eagles started hot causing a fumble on the first drive of the game and that was foreshadowing how the game would play out. The Eagles started hot with a pair of touchdowns, holding the Rockets to just a field goal. The momentum from the Eastern Michigan offense carried into the second, and Ludwig led the team to the end zone another four times in the second quarter. Impressively, Friedman threw 5 TDs to 5 different receivers in the first half of the game. The Rockets came out rolling on offense in the second half putting up ten points, but the defense couldn’t make the plays needed to get them back into the game as the Eagles dropped 24 points in the third quarter. Both teams kept their offenses hot in the fourth finding the end zone twice. At the end of the day, the Rockets showed a lot of passion and fight but were no match for an Eagles team that has put up 40+ points every game this season.
Both teams had record-breaking days for their respective schools! Both Toledo WRs Nolan Ellis and Trey Meekins III are now #1 and #2 in most single-game receiving yards in school history. Eastern Michigan QB Ludwig Friedman set the single-game record for most passing touchdowns (8), WRs Jaxson Bugg and Brandon Oliver are now both tied at #1 for most single-game receiving touchdowns (3), and WR Freddy Chen tied the single-game receptions record (15) and fell 4 yards short (206 yards) of breaking the single-game receiving yards record (209).
Final: Eastern Michigan 80, Toledo 34
MAC Players of the Week
Ludwig Friedman, QB, EMU
46-64, 596 yards, 9 TDs, 1 Int, 8 carries, 53 yards
Aldous Sampson, HB, Kent State
18 carries, 162 yards, 2 TDs, 7 rec, 48 yards
Isabella DeJesus, MLB, Ohio
12 tck, 1 TFL, 1 INT
Dustin Roller, HB, NIU
29 carries, 120 yards, 1 TD, 3 rec, 38 yards
Next Week in the MAC
The quest for #1 continues next week on YouTube! The Bobcats hit the road and head to Ypsilanti to face the Eagles, the Rockets head to Huskie Stadium, and the Falcons head to Dix Stadium in Kent to take on the Golden Flashes! Which games do you look forward to most? Who do you think wins next week? Feel free to discuss in league chat as always, and we’ll be back next week to cover all the MACtion you may have missed!