Behind Enemy Lines: Central Michigan


first_imgYesterday we did a Q&A with a Central Michigan beat writer to try and get to know the squad a little bit better. Today we’re going to do a deep dive on players to watch and some fun facts you may not have known about the Chips.Players to Watch• Wearing No. 10 is Cooper Rush, an all-conference selection and 4 year starter. Athlon recently did a ranking of all college quarterbacks and Rush came in at No. 25, ahead of the likes of West Virginia’s Skyler Howard and a familiar face, Illinois’ Wes Lunt. Rush is a big strong QB that Gundy thinks will be playing on Sundays next year.• 6’3” target Jesse Kroll returns for his 6th year with some hype after catching 61 balls and racking up 866 yards in the air. A state champion long jumper broke some Jayhawk hearts with this circus catch in 2014 and the Biletnikoff watchlist receiver will likely be a good challenge for Ashton Lampkin early in the season.• The run game will be led by No. 25 junior Devin Spalding who was lost to injury last year but depth just took a hit when sophomore back Romello Ross was lost for the season to a knee injury in fall camp. No. 11 Jahray Hays appears to be the short yardage back, the Jeremy Smith to Spalding’s Joseph Randle.• Defensively, the case can be made that the Chips have the best in the conference with eight returning starters for a unit that allowed 22 points per game (3rd in MAC) and 336 yards per game, good for 2nd in the league. Losing team leader and current Dallas Cowboy safety Kavon Frazier will be tough but still have senior safety Tony Annese who isn’t afraid to put a helmet on somebody.• The other impact players to watch are up front, where CMU returns seven of their eight defensive lineman from the two-deep. Senior End Joe Ostman was picked 3rd team all conference and looks to combine with team captains Jabari Dean and 300-pound nose tackle Kelby Latta to man the run defense.Fun Facts• Two of the most dominant NFL players played on the same Chippewa team in 2007: Texans Defensive End JJ Watt and Pittsburgh Steelers WR Antonio Brown. Current Tennessee Volunteer head coach Butch Jones coached them, leading the Chips to a 20-3 MAC record but unfortunately positioning Watt as a tight end leading Watt to transfer out.Speaking of the NFL, the Cowboys will be fortunate that the heir apparent to Marshawn “Beast Mode” Lynch, running back Thomas Rawls of the Seattle Seahawks won’t be running for the Chips any longer. Check out the hit he laid on this 49ers defensive back this past season.The One that Got Away: Suiting up against the Cowboys will be a player that the Cowboys offered for the 2015 recruiting class: QB Tony Poljan. Remember the name, Poljan will have a good chance at winning the starting job when the Chips return to Stillwater for the 2018 season opener.• Playoff Aspirations: We know at least one playoff committee member will be watching Saturday’s game closely as former CMU head coach (and all-time winningest MAC coach) Herb Deromedi moved onto the College Football Playoff Committee this year. While the average Cowboy fan expects 8.5 wins (according to the OKC Dave’s survey) it couldn’t hurt to put a good foot forward and impress a voter just starting his term.QB Cooper Rush behind a veteran offensive line with a couple of good weapons should make for some exciting football and while CMU doesn’t bring a Power 5 team, the Cowboys were down by a field goal in the 3rd quarter of last year’s meeting in Mount Pleasant. It should be a good challenge for the Cowboys leading into the finale next week against the Pitt Panthers.If you’re looking for the comments section, it has moved to our forum, The Chamber. You can go there to comment and holler about these articles, specifically in these threads. You can register for a free account right here and will need one to comment.If you’re wondering why we decided to do this, we wrote about that here. Thank you and cheers!last_img

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