Another week down, and another week of fantastic football for the Mid-American Conference! This week saw three matchups that will likely have major implications at the end-of-season MAC tournament! As of this week, there is no longer an undefeated team, nor a winless team within the MAC. As always, if you were unable to tune in, let me fill you in on the chaos that you missed!
Bowling Green (2-1) Vs. Kent State (1-2)
The opening kickoff in this game was an indicator of how the entire night would go for these two teams. Wide receiver Gunny McGuire took the opening kick off 65 yards down the field putting the ball into Leisa Pink’s hands in Kent State territory on the opening drive. Just two plays later, following a 31-yard pass to Malik Saint bringing them to the two-yard line, running back Fred Thomas punched it in for the first touchdown of the game in just 23 seconds of play. The Falcons would go on to dominate on both offense and defense putting up 38 points and getting four turnovers in the first half alone. The Falcons’ momentum carried into the second half, and the icing on the cake was an 11-yard touchdown pass to the explosive Gunny McGuire.
On the Flashs’ first drive, they looked to move downfield right away. Quarterback Tobias Johnson started with a dangerous pass into tight coverage, followed up by a Rambo rush for negative yards, and then a screenplay that was read like a book by a dominant Falcons front four. What followed was many unsuccessful drives, and turnovers. The Flashs’ first points of the game came with under a minute and a half left in the 2nd quarter when Johnson threw a 30-yard fly route up the middle and receiver Devonte Hayes laid out to secure the 6. Nearing the end of the third, the Flashes put together another successful drive finishing with Aldous Simpson punching it in from the 1 for the second touchdown of the game. The final touchdown came late with five minutes left in the fourth quarter from a 3-yard rush by Rambo.
Both of these opening drives indicated how the game would go for their respective teams. Quarterback Leisa Pink led her Falcons to the first mercy rule win in MAC history while racking up 400 total yards of offense and 7 total touchdowns herself alone. Kent Stated showed flashes of fight throughout this game, but the Falcons and their new playbook were just too much to handle.
Final: Falcons 74, Golden Flashes 21
Toledo (1-2) Vs. Northern Illinois (0-3)
The Rockets received the opening kick-off, and halfback RaQ Rhodes led the team on a strong opening drive finding themselves on the board first with a field goal. The Huskies first drive stalled out, but following a strong defensive stand came back and Olliff spread the ball out taking his team right down the field before punching it in for six on a five-yard keeper. Another strong defensive stand made the Rockets turn the ball over on downs. The Huskies got another shot only for Olliff to pitch the ball into an open backfield with nobody in sight giving it right back to Toledo on a fumble, and the Rockets took advantage of getting another field goal making it a one-point game. Nearing the half, the Huskies found themselves with a 21-6 lead over the Rockets, but McKade Alber connected with wide receiver Ellis Budde at the two-minute mark to bring it back to a one-score game.
The opening drive of the second half saw Toledo march right down the field with Alber finding Budde again on a 13-yard touchdown pass tying it up at 21. The Huskies yet again answered back on their first drive of the half when Terry Olliff connected to Justice Hall for a 72-yard touchdown. The following drive Toledo added three, and Alber connected with Budde for yet another touchdown at the start of the fourth to take a late lead. Alber and the Rockets extended their lead the following drive bringing them up 38-28 with just over 5 minutes left in play. The Huskies came out desperate to not lose their fourth straight game and put their faith in Terry Olliff who came out slinging it finding the end zone on a 43-yard touchdown pass to Justice Hall. Once again it was a one-score game, and it fell to the Huskies’ defense to make a stop here and get them the ball back with a chance to win it. After forcing a quick three and out, Olliff put on his helmet and came out ready to work. He stepped back onto the field and marched straight down and cashed in his fifth touchdown pass of the game leading his Huskies to their first win on the season.
Final: Huskies 42, Rockets 38
Ohio (2-1) Vs. Eastern Michigan (2-1)
In what many expected to be a must-watch game, the Eagles and Bobcats did not disappoint. Getting the ball first, the Eagles looked to quarterback Ludwig Friedman to continue his domination after a record-setting performance. The Bobcats however were clicking on all cylinders. On the first drive of the game Ohio quarterback, Del Toro led his team straight down the field and into the end zone taking an early lead. The remainder of the first quarter was scoreless. The Eagles’ defense stood strong when Brady Boutwell picked off Del Toro in the end zone but could only take it out 2 yards. Following two failed runs, Friedman had no choice but to drop back and was instantly met by Dustin Davenport on the corner blitz bringing him down for an Ohio safety. Despite a nice drive taking them deep into the end zone, the second interception of the game, both by free safety Maverick LeBlanc allowed Ohio to take the ball back and head down the field and score again extending their lead to 16-0. Another failed drive saw Bobcats once again get the ball. Quarterback Del Toro once again picked apart the Eagles’ secondary and drove downfield to find themselves up 23-0. The Bobcats’ defense seemed to have all of the answers, containing Friedman up until the final drive of the half when Friedman was able to find Oliver on a 25-yard touchdown pass following a 77-yard kick return by Oliver setting them up nicely. Heading into half it was 26-6 with the Bobcats on top.
The Eagles came out hungry and searching for vengeance in the second half starting out forcing a three and out, however, yet again found themselves unable to get a drive going. Halfway through the third Del Toro managed to use his legs and drive through the Eagles’ front four and reach across the goal line to extend the lead to 33-6. Now, I know what you’re thinking. This game is over, why keep reading? Here’s why: Ludwig Friedman had had enough. He put on his helmet and gave his team a pep talk, and they came out showing signs of life for the first time all game. He found his rhythm and drove his team down the field and connected to receiver Freddy Chen on a slant route for his second touchdown of the game. The Eagles defense found a spark also locking down the pass for the first time all game and blowing up both Toro and Lionheart in the backfield. Ludwig continued his quest for a comeback by driving down and throwing two more touchdown passes to senior Jafari Davis Jr. and Brandon Oliver bringing it back to a one-score game.
The Eagles’ defense held tall the entire fourth quarter not allowing any points, but the tides had turned (thanks to a missed field goal from the Ohio kicker). For the first time all game, Ludwig Friedman had the chance to put his team on top. With just a minute and a half left in the game, he dropped the pack and launched a ball deep, and connected with Brandon Oliver for his third receiving touchdown of the game and going up 34-33. The Bobcats got the ball back with a minute and a half left and drove down the field, but didn’t get as close as they liked and didn’t feel comfortable risking the field goal. As the clock expired, Del Toro dropped back but was forced to dump it off underneath to his tight end for just a two-yard gain. The Eagles came out on top after overcoming a 27-point deficit.
Final: Eagles 34, Bobcats 33
Performances of the Week
Brandon Oliver – EMU
5 receptions, 136 receiving yards, 3 TD (43 yard game winning TD reception)
Terry Olliff – NIU
17-30, 296 passing yards, 14 rushing yards, 6 total TD
Leisa Pink – BGSU
26-40, 370 passing yards, 29 rushing yards, 7 total TD
Next Week in the MAC
We find ourselves coming upon the final regular season games of the MAC this week. The Eagles find themselves traveling to Huskie Stadium to face the Huskies. The Bobcats take the bus 3 hours north to Kent to take on the Golden Flashes. The Falcons find themselves heading into Toledo for a battle with the Rockets. With a cinderella tie for first place between the Bobcats, Eagles, and Falcons, the final seeding for the MAC will be determined by point differentials if all three teams find themselves with a win on the road this week. With the final week of MAC approaching and after seeing the games this week, who do you think wins the MAC? As always, feel free to discuss in league chat and tune in to YouTube this week for some can’t-miss MACtion!