Central Michigan had to put one streak to end earlier this season when they lost to Temple in overtime for their first MAC loss in over a year. Now, a second streak will be put to the test as the Chippewas are looking to keep their two year victory streak against the Big Ten alive when they visit Northwestern on Saturday at 11am.
KEY NORTHWESTERN PLAYERS (OFFENSE)
QB Dan Persa
-Persa has been about as good as you can get this season, completing 62-76 passes for 769 yards and 6 touchdowns with zero interceptions. He has a posted a ridiculous 81.6% completion rate and an equally ridiculous passer rating of 192.63. He is also the Wildcats second leading rusher with 129 yards on 33 carriers and 2 touchdowns.
RB Arby Fields
-Wildcats leading rusher with 144 yards and 4 touchdowns on 49 carries. Boasts just a 2.9 yard per carry average.
WR Jeremy Ebert
-Caught 12 passes for 248 yards and 2 touchdowns. Averaging over 20 yards per catch.
-A cross between a fullback, tight end and wide receiver, which Northwestern has dubbed the "superback". Top redzone threat and has caught 13 passes for 130 yards and 3 touchdowns.
KEY NORTHWESTERN PLAYERS (DEFENSE)
- At 6-foot-4 and 230 pounds, Davie is big and athletic. He leads the team in tackles (20) and interceptions (3).
-Big and physical at 6-foot-4 and over 200 pounds, Peters will see a lot of time in the box on Saturday. Recorded 18 tackles and 2 TFL through three games.
DE Vince Browne
-6-foot-5 and 265 pounds and leads the Wildcats in sacks (3) and TFL (5). Also has 4 quarterback hurries to his name and it's a fair assessment to say his name will be called on Saturday.
DT Jack DiNardo
-Complete defensive tackle who has tallied 10 tackles, 3 TFL and .5 sacks.
CENTRAL MICHIGAN & NORTHWESTERN: BY THE NUMBERS
Points Per Game
Points Per Game Allowed
* Northwestern has out scored opponents 27-3 in the 1st quarter.
* Northwestern allows 123.3 yards per game rushing and 234 YPG passing. Wildcats have allowed only one passing touchdown all year.
* CMU has allowed 250 YPG passing and 79.7 YPG rushing.
* Northwestern defense has forced 9 turnovers in three games.
Northwestern OL vs. Central Michigan DL
-CMU can not give Persa time to sit back and dink and dunk them down the field, but they also have to be careful when they blitz. Northwestern features a young, but very talented offensive line and they have given up just 6 sacks this season. CMU has notched 7 sacks on defense.
HOW IT SHAKES OUT
Both teams will probably struggle to run the ball, so it will probably come down to the passing game and which quarterback can exploit his opponents defense. Persa presents a unique challenge for CMU as a dual threat and there is no way the Chippewas can win if he's completing 80% of his passes. On the flip side, Ryan Radcliff will once again be presented with the opportunity to raise his game and lead CMU to a victory, as he came up just short against a talented Temple defense.
And in a unique twist, the 2010 Northwestern offense looks a lot like the 2009 CMU offense that featured Dan LeFevour, Antonio Brown etc. They like to spread the ball around, get it in the hands of their playmakers and generally use the short passing game as a facet of the rushing game. Expect the CMU defense to be prepared.
That said, Northwestern is a talented ball club, and they probably have more offensive firepower to attack the CMU defense than the Chippewas do likewise. Expect a close game with a few trick plays as offenses stall, and the Wildcats to emerge at home.
Central Michigan: 24