Tuesday Night Football
Tuesday Night Football
Tuesday's College Football TV Capsule
Opening Line: Central Michigan by 3.
Series Record: Western Michigan leads 43-33-2
Last Meeting: 2006, Central Michigan 31-7
Last Meeting: 2006, Central Michigan 31-7
Central Michigan is averaging 46.5 points per game in Mid-American Conference games, and have outscored their conference opponents by 18.7 points per game. ... Central Michigan is 13-2 in their last 15 conference games. ... The home team is 15-2 in this series dating back to 1990. ... Western Michigan has not lost to Central Michigan at home since 1993.
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Game Preview for Central Mich vs Western Mich
FACTS amp; STATS: Site: Waldo Stadium (30,200) -- Kalamazoo, Michigan. Television: ESPN2. Home Record: CMU 3-1, WMU 1-3. Away Record: CMU 2-3, WMU 2-3. Neutral Record: CMU 0-0, WMU 0-0. Conference Record: CMU 4-0, WMU 2-3. Series Record: Western Michigan leads, 43-32-2.
GAME NOTES: In what is being labeled as "Tuesday Night Tussle", the Western Michigan Broncos will host the Central Michigan Chippewas in the 78th edition of this in-state rivalry. The Chippewas have been red-hot, winning four of their last five games, including a 41-32 victory over Kent State back on October 27th. With a victory on Tuesday, the Chippewas will move to 5-0 in league action and will have sole possession of the top spot in the West Division. Central Michigan will host Eastern Michigan next weekend and then will close out its season on the road against Akron. As for the Broncos, they struggled in the month of October, posting a mere 1-3 mark during the month. The team has dropped two straight matchups, including an embarrassing 19-2 loss two Saturdays ago to Eastern Michigan. Western Michigan has been atrocious at Waldo Stadium this season, posting a terrible 1-3 ledger. The Broncos hold a solid, 43-32-2 edge in the all-time series against CMU. However, the Chippewas have won two of the last three meetings, including a 31-7 decision this past season.
The Chippewas are possibly the most potent offensive unit in the MAC, as the team has abused the opposition on the ground, and through the air. The Chippewas are averaging a solid 163.7 ypg on the ground this year, while also producing an impressive 266.4 ypg via the pass. Quarterback Dan LeFevour is leading the rushing attack with 546 yards and eight scores, but Justin Hoskins has been the top back, rumbling for 441 yards and seven touchdowns. As for LeFevour, he has also done a tremendous job with his arm as well, completing 67.1 percent of his throws for 2,312 yards and 18 scores against seven INTs. Antonio Brown and Bryan Anderson have been the top two targets for the QB, as the two wideouts have combined for 122 receptions for 1,246 yards and 10 touchdowns. In the recent win over KSU, the Chippewas tallied a whopping 580 total yards. LeFevour threw for 359 yards and three touchdowns. He added 75 rushing yards in the win, but it was Hoskins who did the most damage, rushing for 151 yards and two scores. On the receiving end of the majority of LeFevour's passes was Anderson, who hauled in 10 balls for 142 yards and three TDs.
Unfortunately the CMU defensive unit has been dreadful throughout the season, as the Chippewas are being abused for 485.0 total ypg. The unit is being gashed for 184.9 ypg on the ground, while also being torched for 300.1 ypg via the pass. In the recent win over Kent State, the Chippewas put forth a commendable effort, especially against the run, holding the Golden Flashes to just 136 yards on 40 carries (3.4 ypc). The defense was unable to force a turnover in the contest, but did collect five sacks in the victory. In nine games this season, the defense has forced 21 takeaways, but pressuring the quarterback has been a big issue, as the team has recorded just 15 sacks. The Chippewas have also struggled inside their own 20-yard line, allowing opponents to convert on 84 percent of there red zone chances.
As for the Broncos, they are more of a one-dimensional offensive unit, as the team relies heavily on the passing game. WMU heads into this matchup averaging 250.8 ypg through the air, while collecting 130.4 ypg rushing, on just 3.3 ypc. Quarterback Tim Hiller has completed 63.3 percent of his throws this season for 2,067 yards, but the signal-caller has only 14 touchdowns against 13 interceptions. Jamarko Simmons has been the main target for Hiller, as the wideout is leading the team with 75 receptions, 865 yards and six touchdowns. At times, the running back duo of Brandon West and Mark Bonds has proven to be devastating. Overall, the two backs have combined for 1,216 yards and nine touchdowns. In a recent 19-2 loss to Eastern Michigan, the Broncos had possibly their worst performance of the season, racking up a meager 199 total yards. Hiller was atrocious in the loss, throwing for just 117 yards and two interceptions. The ground game was even worse, as the team tallied just 53 yards on 23 carries (2.3 ypc).
On the defensive side of the football, the Broncos have been dismantled by the ground game, allowing opponents to churn out a whopping 199.8 rushing ypg. Overall, the unit is being abused for 429.3 total ypg, and that has led to 32.3 ppg. In the recent loss to EMU, the defense continued to struggle against the run, allowing the Eagles to rumble for an eye-popping 255 yards on 52 carries. Overall the defense was torched for 392 total yards and also allowed the Eagles to rack up 21 first downs. The defense did force six turnovers in the win, and also collected three sacks, but has struggled in both areas on the year, forcing just 18 turnovers, while collecting 15 sacks. Another problem spot for Western Michigan has come on third downs, as the team is allowing the opposition to convert 44 percent of the time.
Neither team has played well defensively, but the Chippewas have a tremendous edge on offense and should post a victory at Waldo Stadium for the first time since 1993.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Central Michigan 42, Western Michigan 31
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What bettors need to know: Central Michigan at Western Michigan
Central Michigan Chippewas at Western Michigan Broncos
Title on the line
There’s much more than pride on the line for the Chippewas when they face Western Michigan this week. A win over their rivals would clinch their second straight MAC West title, earning them a spot in the Dec. 1 championship game.
Central Michigan now sits on top of the standings with a 4-0 conference record, while Western is 2-3 in MAC play. The Broncos are out of contention, but Chippewas coach Butch Jones is taking nothing for granted.
"I've watched all their games and they're as talented a team that we will face," he told the Midland Daily News. "Obviously, they're a very good football team. It will take our best effort to win."
CMU will be hoping its high-power offense can lift it to victory on Tuesday. Quarterback Dan LeFevour leads the MAC in total offense with 2,858 yards. He's thrown for 2,312 yards, rushed for 546 yards and has 26 total touchdowns.
LeFevour is linking up well with receivers Antonio Brown and Bryan Anderson, who have a combined 1,246 yards and 11 TDs for the season.
Last season, the Chippewas recorded a 31-7 victory over the Broncos behind a 163-yard effort from LeFevour – but Jones knows that a road trip to Kalamazoo presents a different challenge.
"Anytime you can go out and win on the road in college football is huge, but playing down there is difficult,” he said. “To win a championship, you have to win on the road and we're starting to do that."
Intense rivalry takes time to learn
It may be one of the lesser-known rivalries in college football, but it’s no less intense than some of the big-name ones. Western Michigan coach Bill Cubit says it takes time for his players to fully understand the significance of games against Central Michigan When it sucks them in, there’s no going back.
“It takes two years, once you go to both places,'' he told the Kalamazoo Gazette ahead of Tuesday’s meeting with the Chippewas. “Once you do that, you get that full understanding of how it is.''
Broncos senior center Robbie Krutilla said he didn’t understand the rivalry’s significance at first. That changed.
“As the years go on, you start realizing how just fired up you are when you come out of that tunnel and how they approach the game, too,” he said.
Krutilla added that once the rivalry is understood, “Everybody hates those guys.”
Cubit, who’s been involved as a coach in the Florida-Florida State and Missouri-Kansas rivalries, says that Tuesday’s contest will be “just as intense.”
“To me, people take it personal, which is what happens in rivalries. The whole fever pitch, you can just feel it. It's different than any game we'll play this year.”
Western Michigan has not dropped a home game against the Chippewas since 1993.
Turnovers a big fumble for WMU
Western Michigan was officially knocked out of the MAC West title race with a 19-2 loss at Eastern Michigan – a game that sums up its entire season. Two Broncos quarterbacks threw for a combined three picks, while the rest of the offense gave up three fumbles.
But the turnover problems are not limited to that game. The Broncos have thrown 15 interceptions and lost 12 fumbles through nine contests. Last season, WMU led the MAC with a plus-12 turnover margin. Now it is bottom at minus-9.
“We have four factors that we always count in to how you win offensively,'' Cubit told the Kalamazoo Gazette. “No. 1, you've got to have explosive plays. No. 2, your run sets, on first and second down you've got to be pretty good, and then the last two are turnover margin and red-zone offense.
“If you want to point to two things that have really been our downfall, they're the two things.''
The Broncos have employed an interesting training technique in an effort to stop the fumbles for Tuesday’s game. Their running backs carry the football everywhere in practice. During warm-ups, jogging between drills, even just standing there listening to the coaches – they have to be carrying a football.
“That's what Coach Tabes (running backs coach Chris Tabor) has got them doing all the time,'' Cubit said. “They'll think 'Shoot, if I've got to do this all of the time, I might as well hold on to the ball.’”
Head to head
The Chippewas and the Broncos have split the last four games, but Western Michigan has covered in four of the last five meetings. Despite the fact that both teams boast strong offenses, four of the last five meetings have gone under the total.
Central Michigan has covered in four of its last five games overall, while Western has won against the spread just once in its last eight contests.