I haven't seen a lick of last night's game, not even the game-winning play. If anyone has a link to it, I'd appreciate it.
That said, here are my grades.
Quarterback -- I haven't been Chris Jacquemain's biggest fan. You can't complain too much about his performance last night, though. His stats were Dan LeFevour-ish (389 yards, four TDs), but the inexperience is still evident with his three turnovers. The way he played, it's a lot more palatable to keep the redshirt on Matt Rodgers' back. Grade: A-
Running back -- The Zips might have an elite rusher in Bryan Williams. The only downside is that the Zips didn't get him with a full four years of eligibility. How amazing will this backfield be next season when Andrew Johnson joins him next season? You're talking about A TON of speed. Williams gained a total of 140 yards last night, receiving and rushing combined. Grade: A
Wide receiver -- A heavenly choir sung when Alphonso Owen caught the 44-yard pass late in the fourth quarter. Hallelujah! A guy not named Jabari Arthur made a play!!! Hopefully that catch gave Owen confidence and opened Jacquemain's eyes to the other receivers. Oh yeah, and Arthur caught 15 passes for 223 yards and three touchdowns. Sorry Brian Robiskie, Arthur is the best wide receiver in Ohio. Grade: A+
Tight end -- Another ho-hum game with one reception to Merce Poindexter. Give them some credit for blocking on Williams' rushing to the outside. Grade: C
Offensive line -- The Broncos have a pretty bad defense, but the Zips still prevented sacks and allowed the running backs to scamper freely. As Joe Dunn pointed out on the radio, these guys are young, too. Grade: B+
Kicker -- Igor Iveljic showed off his leg strength by booting a 51-yard field goal through the uprights. Although he missed a mid-range attempt, he drilled all four extra points. Once he won the competition over Matt Domonkos, he really settled down. A good long-ball kicker is an incredible asset against MAC teams. Grade: B+
Punter -- John Stec's season of inconsistency took an upswing. He drilled two punts for a total of 98 yards. Hopefully Stec will settle down like Iveljic. Grade: B+
Defensive line -- Not watching this game on TV, it's hard to say whether the line held its own. The Zips did a fine job in holding Mark Bonds to 3.2 yards per carry, but Brandon West averaged 5.9. Here's an important stat: Akron's linemen only made one tackle for loss all game. That was Almondo Sewell, who made eight tackles. Grade: C
Linebacker -- Steve French belabored the missed tackles. Still, Brion Stokes had two sacks and Wayne Cobham made 14 tackles out of the rover position. Grade: C-
Secondary -- WMU has an outstanding receiver-tight end combination in Jamarco Simmons and Branden Ledbetter. No one could keep up with Simmons -- another NFL talent. He caught 10 passes for 172 yards and two touchdowns. Quarterback Tim Hiller played a terrific game from the sounds of it. When you have to defend against a turbo-accurate quarterback and stud receiver, it's all about damage control. Regardless, the Broncos had their way with Akron's secondary. Grade: D-
Coaching -- J.D. Brookhart is making a great case for MAC Coach of the Year. His players do not give up. Considering he's coaching at a school that typically does not attract recruits who are super-talented and disciplined, that's a real feat. He took over special teams, and special teams has won two games for Akron this year (KSU, too). Joe Moorhead deserves credit for opening the playbook a little. Using Dennis Kennedy as a receiver out of the backfield looks to be a great niche for him. I also commend them for discontinuing the relief quarterback strategy in the second quarter. Give your passer confidence to take some chances and don't hang a possible substitution over his head. I'm saying this as someone who actually thinks Carlton Jackson is the better player. Just don't juggle the two.
Media clips from today:
Kalamazoo Gazette: WMU's band played "Amazing Grace" after the game, as if it were a funeral. Hilarious. The story also says Bill Cubit entered the postgame press conference and sat in silence for five minutes. It's fair to say he was a bit dejected. Naw. He was just p-o'ed.
Kalamazoo Gazette blog: Graham Couch admits the Zips are better than he thought. The MAC's new format, however, makes the loss somewhat inconsequential. Looking at the rules, crossover games are the third tiebreaker. It takes a lot to get to that point. Graham adds that Jabari Arthur and Bryan Williams are as good as they get in the MAC.
Battle Creek Enquirer: The Broncos are confident they can bounce back.
Associated Press: General game story.
GoZips.com: A more detailed breakdown.
My thoughts about the MAC...
WTF? Is there one certainty in the conference on which we can rely? Can't we say Dan LeFevour's Chippewas are untouchable or Nate Davis' Cardinals are the team to beat? Why don't we have the sky-is-blue assumption that Buffalo and Temple can't beat anyone but themselves?
Here are three things I know are true:
1) Kent State is the most poorly coached team in the nation. They have as much talent as anyone in the MAC, but Doug Martin has the football IQ of the Greater Akron Gardening Club. 2) There are some really friggin' good passers in this conference. You are watching the beginning of a second wave to reach the NFL. Davis and LeFevour are givens, but watch out for Buffalo's Drew Willy, WMU's Hiller and Bowling Green's Tyler Sheehan if they can cut down on interceptions. 3) The parity is as high as ever. On any given Saturday, a conference favorite can fall to the former cellar dwellers (ask Ohio). It all comes down to momentum and effort. And that all comes down to luck and coaching. Barring a catastrophic breakdown, Central Michigan owns the MAC West with a 3-0 division record. These are the same Chippewas that got blown out by a D-IAA team. Weird. The MAC East, on the other hand, is going to be really wild.
Here are my power rankings...
1) Bowling Green 2) Central Michigan 3) Ball State 4) Akron 5) Miami 6) Western Michigan 7) Kent State 8 ) Buffalo 9) Toledo 10) Eastern Michigan 11) Ohio 12) Northern Illinois 13) Temple
- 2013 (110)
- 2012 (199)
- 2011 (225)
- 2010 (266)
- 2009 (380)
- 2008 (327)
- 2007 (561)
- 2006 (605)
- 2005 (89)