MAC Notes for Week 4

Updated 9/18/2000
MAC Divisional Play Begins: Eight MAC teams enter divisional play this week, including West Division preseason 1-2 picks Toledo and Western Michigan. Western Michigan is the defending West Division champion, Toledo won the crown in 1997 and 1998. In the East, Akron travels to Ohio and Kent State goes to Miami for afternoon games while Bowling Green is at Buffalo for an evening contest.

Out of the League: Four league teams battle non-conference foes this Saturday. Central Michigan hosts Boise State in a 1:00 game, Northern Illinois takes on No. 20 ranked Auburn in a 4:00 contest, while two 6:00 kickoffs feature Marshall at North Carolina and Eastern Michigan at Temple. Ball State is idle before returning to action on the 30th by hosting Northern Illinois.

Another Bronco Record: Western Michigan continued its assault on the MAC attendance record book. The Broncos set the league record for the third time in the last two years with a MAC record crowd of 36,361 in its 2000 home opener, a 56-0 conquest of Indiana State. The previous record for Waldo Stadium was 36,102 last year versus Central Michigan.

Triple Plays: Akron defensive back Dwight Smith had three interceptions and a blocked field goal in the Zips 35-24 win over Central Florida. Smiths two first-quarter picks led to Zip touchdowns, and his fourth-quarter block came late to hold Akrons lead at 11 points.

Neal Nears Record: Western Michigan wide receiver Steve Neal has his eyes on the leagues all-time record for receptions and receiving yards. Neal is 45 receptions and 494 yards shy of the MAC career standard of 229 receptions and 3,513 yards set by Kent States Eugene Baker from 1995-98. Neals most recent outing resulted in five receptions for 110 yards and a touchdown in WMUs 56-0 victory over Indiana State.

3,000 Yard Club: Western Michigan wide receiver Steve Neal became just the third receiver in MAC history to reach the 3,000-yard barrier with 110 yards versus Indiana State. Neals career total stands at 3,019 yards with eight regular-season games remaining.

Streak Update: Marshalls loss at Michigan State Sept. 9 snapped the nations longest current winning streak at 18. Toledo, with six wins in a row, now has the longest current winning streak in the MAC.

Top Two: The nations two leaders in interceptions both reside in the MAC. Northern Illinois Demerist Whitfield leads the nation with three interceptions in two games for a 1.50 average. Behind Whitfield in the two slot is Akrons Dwight Smith, who has four picks in three games for a 1.33 average. Marshalls Doug Hodges is tied for third with two interceptions in as many games for a 1.0 average.

This Weeks Games
Boise State Broncos (2-1) at Central Michigan Chippewas (1-2), 1:00
Kelly/Shorts Stadium (30,199/artificial turf ) Mount Pleasant, Mich.

The Coaches: BSU-Dirk Koetter (Idaho State 1981) 18-9/third year; CMU-Mike DeBord (Manchester 1978) 1-2/first year. Series: CMU leads 3-0 Television: KCBI-TV Boise The Chippewas return home, where they have won two in a row, following a 31-10 setback at Wyoming ... Boise State comes into the game on the heels of a 38-31 loss at Arkansas, a game in which the Broncos trailed 24-0 but rallied to tie at 31-31 ... CMU led at Wyoming 3-0 in the second period when the Cowboys Nate Scott ran 95-yards for a touchdown, the longest run allowed in CMU history ... on the plus side, QB Pete Shepherd had his 13th career 200-yard plus passing game with 240 yards on 18-of-31 completions ... true freshman Terrence Jackson had his first career reception on a 73-yard pass play ... these teams last met in 1997 in Mount Pleasant, a 44-26 CMU win, and also the Chippewas last non-conference home win versus a D-I opponent ... this is CMUs last non-conference game before seven consecutive MAC contests.

Akron Zips (1-2) at Ohio Bobcats (2-1), 2:00
Peden Stadium (27,605/grass) Athens, Ohio

The Coaches: Akron-Lee Owens (Bluffton College 1977) 20-38/sixth year; Ohio-Jim Grobe (Virginia 1975) 28-30-1/sixth year. Series: Ohio leads 9-6-1 Both teams are coming off home wins -- Ohio 52-14 over Tennessee Tech and Akron 35-24 against Central Florida ... Akron captured last years meeting 41-28 as the Zips bolted to a 28-0 halftime lead and led 41-7 early in the fourth quarter ... Brandon Payne ran for 93 yards and three touchdowns in the Zips 1999 victory ... Payne carried for 138 yards last week versus UCF ... prior to last years win by Akron, the Bobcats had won the previous four meetings ... Ohio is 4-0-1 in MAC openers under Grobe and went 4-0 in home MAC games last year ... Ohio has won its last seven home league contests ... Akrons only win in Athens came in 1992, 13-0 ... Akrons Butchie Washington is 61 yards shy of 5,000 career passing yards ... UAs Lavel Bailey is 56 receiving yards away from 2,000 for his career ... Ohio QB Dontrell Jackson is coming off a career-best 157 passing yards (10-of-13) and two touchdowns, and he added 50 rushing yards on seven attempts versus the Eagles ... Jackson engineered two 90-plus yard drives and directed the Bobcats offense to a school-record 38 first downs ... seven different players scored touchdowns in the 52-14 win.

Kent State Golden Flashes (0-3) at Miami RedHawks (2-1), 2:00
Yager Stadium (30,012/natural grass) Oxford, Ohio

The Coaches: KSU-Dean Pees (Bowling Green 1971) 2-23/third year; Miami-Terry Hoeppner (Franklin College 1969) 9-5/second year. Series: Miami leads 38-9 Miami opens its home season after three consecutive road games (Vanderbilt, Eastern Michigan, Ohio State) ... the RedHawks fell at No. 15 Ohio State last week while the Golden Flashes dropped a 26-20 decision to I-AA power Youngstown State ... Miami has won 11 consecutive games in this series ... KSUs most recent win came in Oxford in 1988, 17-11 ... Miami QB Mike Bath led the team in rushing (105 yds., 11 att.) and passing (236 yds., 21-of-36) versus the Buckeyes ... Bath has 4,935 passing yards and 42 touchdowns, two shy of the school mark of 44 held by Sam Ricketts (1994-97) ... Miamis top three receivers, dubbed AirHawk Flight 34, have combined for 43 catches for 689 yards and four touchdowns in three games - Eddie Tillitz (jersey No. 4) and Ty Buxton (No. 5) have 15 receptions each while Sly Johnson (No. 3) has 13 ... KSUs defense held Youngstown State to just 208 yards of total offense and had 12 stops behind the line of scrimmage ... LB James Harrison led the way with three tackles for a loss for minus six yards versus YSU and had two fumble recoveries in the Flashes previous game at Purdue ... Flashes QB Zach Williams ranks second in the MAC in pass percentage completion (62.2%, 56-of-90) while Miamis Bath leads the league in passing yards per game (275.3) and TD passes (6).

Northern Illinois Huskies (1-1) at Auburn Tigers (3-0), 4:00
Jordan-Hare Stadium (85,214) Auburn, Ala.

The Coaches: NIU-Joe Novak (Miami 1967) 9-37/fifth season; Auburn-Tommy Tuberville (Southern Arkansas 1976) 8-6/second year at UA. The Series: first meeting The Huskies play four of their next five games on the road starting this week ... NIU had an open week last Saturday while the Tigers played before a home record crowd of 85,612 in a 34-17 win over LSU ... the Huskies last played on Sept. 9 when they beat Illinois State 52-0 ... versus SEC teams, NIU is 0-7 all-time (Arkansas 0-1; Florida 0-2; Ole Miss 0-1; Vanderbilt 0-3) ... sophomore Thomas Hammock ranks second in the MAC with 107 rushing yards per game ... NIUs Demerist Whitfield has three interceptions in two games, a 1.5 average that leads the nation ... Whitfield garnered MAC Defensive Player of the Week honors two weeks ago for his three interceptions (one for TD), blocked punt, caused fumble and four pass deflections versus Illinois State ... the Tigers are ranked No. 20 in the A.P. poll and No. 22 in the USA Today/ESPN Coaches poll.

Toledo Rockets (3-0) at Western Michigan Broncos (2-1), 6:00
Waldo Stadium (30,200/prescription athletic turf) Kalamazoo, Mich.

The Coaches: UT-Gary Pinkel (Kent State 1975) 66-36-3/10th year; WMU-Gary Darnell (Oklahoma State 1970) 24-13/third year. Series: UT leads 31-23. This West Division matchup features the only two teams to win the division in the three years of the current league structure ... WMU is the defending champion and Toledo won the title in 1997 and 1998 ... the Rockets have won the last two encounters by a combined 80-28 score, including last years 45-21 triumph at the Glass Bowl ... overall, the Rockets have a six-game hex on the Broncos and have won 11 of the last 12 in the series ... Toledo is the only undefeated MAC team remaining and has a six-game winning streak dating back to last year ... the Broncos are fresh off a 56-0 pasting of Indiana State, a game at which a MAC record crowd of 36,361 attended ... Robert Sanford paced the ground attack with 159 yards (24 att., 1 TD) while QB Jeff Welsh guided the passing game with 13-of-20 for 184 yards and three scores ... Toledo survived five turnovers for a 31-26 win over a stubborn Eastern Illinois team ... UTs Kevin Rollins returned an interception 33-yards for a score and PK Todd France booted five field goals, one shy of the school record ... Chester Taylor, who leads the MAC with 129.7 rushing yards per game, gained 156 yards on a career-high 32 attempts ... Taylor is attempting to become the sixth Rocket in league history to lead the MAC in rushing and the first since Wasean Tait in 1995 (MAC record 173.2 ypg/1,905 total) ... WMU has won eight of its last nine home games.

Eastern Michigan Eagles (1-2) at Temple Owls (2-1), 6:00
Veterans Stadium (66,592/artificial surface) Philadelphia, Pa.

The Coaches: EMU-Jeff Woodruff (Kent State 1979) 1-2/first season; TU-Bobby Wallace (Mississippi State 1976) 6-19/third year at TU. Series: TU leads 2-0. This is the Owls second consecutive MAC opponent as they defeated Bowling Green, 31-14, last week ... the Eagles will be on the road for the second straight week after falling victim to South Carolina 41-6 ... Temple has started a season 2-1 for the first time since 1994 and hasnt gone 3-1 since 1987 ... a win by the Eagles would give them their best start since a 3-1 beginning in 1995 ... the MAC is 0-6 versus the Big East thus far in 2000 ... EMUs Kenny Christian has the second most receptions in the league with 17 but does not have a touchdown ... the Eagles lost two linemen at South Carolina last week - starting tackle Craig Cipa (left knee, out for season) and guard Chuck Butkowski (left knee sprain, out idefinitely) ... QB Walt Church moved to within 233 yards of becoming the schools all-time leader in passing yards ... Church has 7,360 yards, the record is 7,592 held by Charlie Batch ... EMUs Nick Avondet is second in the MAC in punting at 45.0 ypk.

Marshall Thundering Herd (1-1) at North Carolina Tar Heels (2-1), 6:00
Kenan Memorial Stadium (60,000/natural grass) Chapel Hill, N.C.

The Coaches: Marshall-Bob Pruett (Marshall 1965) 51-5/fifth year; UNC-Carl Torbush (Carson-Newman 1974) 13-14/third season. The Series: First Meeting Television: ESPN Regional Marshall looks to bounce back following the end of its then national best 18-game winning streak in a 34-24 loss at Michigan State on Sept. 9 ... the Herd has not lost two games in a row since losing the last game of the 1994 season at Boise State and the first game of the 1995 campaign at N.C. State ... Marshall is 36-5 since rejoining I-A (1997) ... Marshall QB Byron Leftwich leads the MAC in passing efficiency at 137.8 (41-of-64, 437 yards, 5 TDs) ... WR Nate Poole ranks 10th all-time in MAC history with 154 receptions and 13th with 2,102 receiving yards ... Marshall is 2-5 all-time versus ACC opponents, including a 13-10 win last year at Clemson (Clemson 1-0, N.C. State 0-3, Wake Forest 1-2) ... UNC is 4-0 all-time versus MAC teams (BGSU 1-0, Ohio 3-0) ... the Tar Heels are coming off a 63-14 loss to No. 2 ranked Florida State.

Bowling Green Falcons (0-3) at Buffalo Bulls (0-3), 7:00
UB Stadium (31,000) Buffalo, N.Y.

The Coaches: BGSU-Gary Blackney (Connecticut 1967) 58-44-2/10th year; UB-Craig Cirbus (Buffalo 1980) 17-41/sixth year. Series: First Meeting One of these teams will get its first win of the 2000 season, the other will drop to 0-4 ... BG is coming off a 31-14 loss at Temple and will be playing its third road game of the season ... Buffalo opened its home season last week with a 24-21 loss to Connecticut ... Bulls QB Joe Freedy continues to pile up impressive numbers as versus the Huskies he established career numbers with a 26-of-39 performance for 259 yards and two touchdowns ... the Bulls defense saw the return of three starters last week who were lost during preseason drills - DB Craig Rohlfs, DE Jamie Guerra and LB Brandon Jordan ... Bowling Green WR David Bautista, with injuries to Aaron Alexander and Kurt Gerling, has emerged as the teams No. 1 receiver ... Bautista leads the MAC and ranks tied for third nationally with 7.0 receptions per game (21 in 3 contests) ... Alexander, who caught 35 passes last year, returned versus Temple and caught one ball for eight yards ... Gerling, with 87 receptions the last two years, is still sidelined .. the Falcons running game, which ranked fifth in the MAC Last season (150.5) is last thus far in 2000 with 39.7 yards per contest.