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October 11, 2013

Staff Predictions: CMU-Ohio

Corey Dull, Staff Writer

The Chippewas head to Athens, Ohio this weekend to take on the Ohio Bobcats in their homecoming game. CMU is coming off a 21-9 victory on the road at Miami (Ohio). Saylor Lavallii had a career high 151 rushing yards and two touchdowns. Ohio senior quarterback Tyler Tettleton is a machine. This season, he has 1,029 passing yards, with eight touchdowns and only three interceptions. His passer rating is 148.7. CMU will need to play well against an elite MAC quarterback in order to win, which they did not do against Toledo's Terrance Owens. And in my opinion, Tettleton is better than Owens. Playing on the road in front of a homecoming crowd is probably going to be a little too much for an offense that is still finding its way with freshman Cooper Rush at the helm.

Prediction: Ohio 31, Central Michigan 17

Jeff Horodeczny, Staff Writer

The Chippewas head to Ohio to face the 4-1 Bobcats this weekend. CMU is starting a tough three-game stretch against Ohio, NIU and Ball State, who have combined for just two losses. CMU did pick up their first win of MAC play last weekend, defeating Miami (Ohio), 21-9. The Chippewa defense came to play, only allowing 123 rushing yards and holding Miami to just five successful third down conversions. However, this weekend they face a much tougher test in the Ohio offense, which is led by senior quarterback Tyler Tettleton.

Tettleton has thrown for over 2,500 yards in his first two seasons as starting quarterback and has already thrown eight touchdowns to just three interceptions this season. The young Cooper Rush will be tested this week and may be forced to throw the ball a lot, as Ohio has one of the best rush defenses in the conference. Look for the Ohio defense to blitz early and often, trying to force Cooper into turnovers. It will be interesting to see how long Cooper stays in the game if he starts to struggle. The passing yards have gone down steadily since his first game against New Hampshire. I believe going on the road against a top team in the MAC and coming out with a win is unlikely because of the quarterback play and solid defense that the Bobcats bring to the table.

Prediction: Ohio 41, Central Michigan 21

Steve Livingston, Publisher

Central Michigan is an 18.5-point underdog heading into Athens, Ohio on Saturday. They're going up against a perennial MAC favorite and even before the season, when there was a lot more positive vibes around the program, this was a game that most prognosticators chalked up as a CMU loss. This is a solid Ohio football team that has already beaten a good Marshall team and a pesky North Texas team that knocked off Ball State. Offensively, the Chippewas are going to have their hands full. The Bobcats have All-MAC talent in almost every positions group, including the son of Mickey Tettleton, Tyler Tettleton, at quarterback. It's going to take one heck of a defensive performance for CMU to slow down this offense. In fact, it would take arguably the best defensive effort of the Dan Enos tenure to control the Bobcat offense. Offensively, CMU could move the ball. The Ohio rush defense has been inconsistent and I think they can be run on. I also am not super impressed with their secondary, outside of Travis Carrie. CMU has the advantage when it comes to their skill players going up against the Ohio back seven. The problem is that redshirt freshman quarterback is still getting his feet wet as a college starter. Ohio is good at putting pressure on the quarterback and CMU has struggled to protect the quarterback. If CMU can find a way to keep Rush upright and the kid can showcase that big arm, while not turning the ball over, the Chippewas can move the ball and make this game competitive. That might be too tall of a task at this point. Combining that with what the CMU defense has to deal with could turn into an ugly day for the Chippewas. If the offense struggles and turns the ball over, and the defense can't force some Ohio mistakes, it's going to be a long afternoon in Athens.

Prediction: Ohio 35, Central Michigan 17

Tyler Parsons, Publisher

If CMU wants to turn their season around, there is a terrific opportunity this afternoon to do just that.

Historically the Chippewas have had Ohio's number, but if football has taught us anything it's that recent history is more relevant. In that case, the last time these two teams met was in 2011, and Ohio piled up over 300 yards rushing in a decisive victory.

In this most recent chapter, Ohio is coming in as hot as can be, having won four straight and looking like the savvy veteran team many predicted. CMU on the other hand is coming off a tough fought victory, but has at least four starters out with injuries and the only thing they have been consistent at is being inconsistent. I really think this game comes down to Cooper Rush's play at QB (See: Limit Turnovers) and whether CMU can hold up on run defense. Unfortunately, I don't see that happening. The Chippewas are missing some key components, and they haven't defeated a team with a winning record on the road since 2009.

CMU always plays hard in these types of game, but Ohio is just too veteran of a team and will have their home field advantage.

Prediction: Ohio 41, Central Michigan 20

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