A lot of boiling optimism was brought to a low sizzle following the first week of the college football season, as several teams that were supposed to win did, but many faltered in what would have been a great first step to bowl eligibility and in some cases, relevancy.
Ball State, Buffalo, Central Michigan and Kent State all won against lesser teams by an average score of 33-5.
Northern Illinois, who most picked to win the Mac West in the preseason, was unable to stifle Iowa State's passing attack. The Cyclones out-gained Northern Illinois through the air to the tune of 265 yards to just 93 for Huskie Quarterback Demarcus Grady.
The most concerning score of the week may belong to Temple, who defeated Villanova 31-24 in a game they should have been able to handle much easier, considering they were almost unanimously picked to win the MAC East. The Owls came back in dramatic fashion, winning on a Brandon McManus field goal with nine seconds left. Sophomore running back and Heisman Trophy hopeful Bernard Pierce carried the ball 20 times, but gained only 79 yards. This wasn't the dominant ground attack Temple was hoping to display.
On Saturday, Miami raised a lot of eyebrows around the country as they hung with Florida for three quarters before losing 34-12. The RedHawks defense took advantage of five mishandled snaps by the Gators and a couple key defensive stands. Entering the fourth quarter, Florida had amazingly mustered just 41 yards of total offense before finding a rhythm and tacking on two late touchdowns. Miami deserves a lot of credit for making the fourth ranked team in the country sweat bullets for three hours.
In Bowling Green's bid to replace one of the better MAC passing offenses in recent history, the Falcons came up just short, losing 30-27 on a game-winning field goal with four seconds left. Willie Geter gained 103 yards on the ground and added a touchdown. BG quarterback Matt Schilz threw for 221 yards and one score.
A lot of sympathy goes out to the Eagles of Eastern Michigan, who lost to Army 31-24. Sophomore Alex Gillett led the Eagles in a fourth-quarter comeback, but Army found the endzone with just over 30 seconds left to take the lead. EMU battled back to the 32 yard line but failed to capitalize.
Western Michigan was defeated by Michigan State, while Ohio took care of Wofford 33-10.
Akron's home game against Syracuse, widely revered as one of the lesser teams in the FBS (granted they do play in the Big East, one of the six BCS conferences), was looked at as a great chance for the Zips to open the year 1-0. Rather, Akron was unable to make any headway through the air, amassing just 111 yards passing. The Zips had more penalty yards (82) than rushing (55), while Syracuse tallied 431 yards of total offense. Quarterback Patrick Nicely completed only 12 of 35 passes, while no Zips running back averaged more than 3.2 yards per carry. Linebacker Brian Wagner was a huge bright spot, however. Wagner recorded 12 tackles, picked off a pass and forced a fumble.
The Zips were also unable to draw much of a crowd considering it was the home opener against a BCS school, bringing in 15,969 people.
Mid-American Players Of The Week:
Offensive: Spencer Keith, QB, KSU--24-35, 275 yards, three touchdowns.
Defensive: Keith Morgan, DB, BG--11 tackles, one INT.
Special Teams: Brandon McManus, K, Temple--Nailed four FGs including a career-long 53-yard make in the second quarter and the game-winning 43-yard kick in the final minute.
Offensive: Dwayne Priest, RB, EMU--142 yards on 26 carries and two touchdowns.
Defensive: Nick Bellore, LB, CMU--11 tackles, 1 tackle-for-loss.
Special Teams: Ben Armer, P, WMU--Averaged 40.3 yards on eight punts, including a career long of 62 yards.
Team With the Best Week: Miami--Yes, they lost. They also competed with one of the best teams in the country for most of the game. No team in the MAC had a great week--MAC teams should be bringing down FCS schools, as most around the conference did. Basically, it was supposed to happen, and in most cases, it did.
Team With The Worst Week: Akron--What was expected to be a closely contended home game turned into a debacle.
Team With The Most To Gain Next Week: Temple--Temple's running game has to get going to set the tempo for the rest of the offense. Bernard Pierce is probably the most dangerous offensive player in the conference, and he needs to show it.
Hot Seat Game: Akron--The Zips play host to Gardner-Webb at home. After last week, this is a must-win.
Buffalo: 1-0 (0-0)
Kent State: 1-0 (0-0)
Temple: 1-0 (0-0)
Ohio: 1-0 (0-0)
Miami: 0-1 (0-0)
Akron: 0-1 (0-0)
Bowling Green: 0-1 (0-0)
Ball State: 1-0 (0-0)
Central Michigan: 1-0 (0-0)
Western Michigan: 0-1 (0-0)
Eastern Michigan: 0-1 (0-0)
Toledo: 0-1 (0-0)
Northern Illinois: 0-1 (0-0)
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