Week 8 Football Notes

Updated 10/17/2000
Northern Illinois travels to Kalamazoo, Mich., to face the Western Michigan Broncos in a key MAC showdown Saturday afternoon. The MAC divisional races heat up with 10 of the league's 13 teams involved in conference play this weekend.

MAC East Division Update:
Despite the losses by Akron and Marshall to cross-divisional opponents, there was no change in the top of the East standings last week. Akron, 3-0 in the division, was throttled by Northern Illinois, 52-35, while Marshall, 1-0 in the East, was dealt a 42-0 setback by Toledo. Marshall begins the first of five consecutive games against East opponents this week by hosting Kent State. Akron hosts Connecticut in its final non-conference action of the 2000 season. The Zips and Thundering Herd meet Oct. 28 in Akron in a game that will have major impact on the championship. Ohio and Miami were both victorious last week to improve to 2-1 and stay in the title chase. The RedHawks are idle this week while the Bobcats host West member Central Michigan. Bowling Green (Eastern Michigan) and Buffalo (Ball State) also host West opponents.

MAC West Division Update:
A showdown in Kalamazoo between the only teams undefeated in West Division play, Western Michigan and Northern Illinois, takes place Saturday afternoon. Both teams are 1-0. NIU routed Akron, 52-35, last week while WMU was idle following its Oct. 5 win at Marshall. Toledo stands at 2-1 in the division and finishes its out of conference slate with a game at Navy. The Rockets, at 6-1, have the best overall record among MAC teams. Ball State, winners of two in a row for the first time since 1997, plays at Buffalo, Central Michigan looks to snap its four-game losing streak as it travels to Ohio, and Eastern Michigan is out to end a six-game losing streak with a contest at BGSU.

Hammock Creates Havoc:
Sophomore running back Thomas Hammock tied a MAC record with five touchdown runs in Northern Illinois' 52-35 win at Akron. Hammock scored on runs of nine and five yards in the second quarter to give NIU a 24-13 lead. Late in the third quarter, he added scoring jaunts from one and 15 yards for a commanding 42-28 lead. Hammock's final touchdown came from 34 yards with 7:25 left in the fourth quarter for the final 17-point margin. Hammock became the fifth back in league history and first since Central Michigan's Brian Pruitt versus Toledo in 1994 to rush for five touchdowns in a single game.

Smith Continues To Lead The Nation:
Despite no interceptions in the last two weeks, Akron defensive back Dwight Smith continues to led the nation in interceptions with eight. The MAC record for interceptions in a season is 12 by Eastern Michigan's Bob Navarro in 1989.

Neal Nears Record:
Western Michigan wide receiver Steve Neal has his eyes on the league's all-time record for receptions and receiving yards. Neal is 26 receptions and 266 yards shy of the MAC career standard of 229 receptions and 3,513 yards set by Kent State's Eugene Baker from 1995-98. Neal's most recent outing resulted in three receptions for 41 yards in WMU's 30-10 win at Marshall on Oct. 5.

Pinkel Moves Up:
Toledo's 42-0 win against Marshall on Oct. 14 was the 50th league win for Rocket head coach Gary Pinkel, giving him sole possession of third place all-time. Pinkel had been tied with Doyt Perry (1955-64) and Denny Stolz (1977-85), both from Bowling Green, for third place all-time in MAC history. Pinkel's 69 overall wins as a MAC head coach are fourth all-time, behind Herb Deromedi (107, CMU, 1978-93), Bill Hess (108, Ohio, 1958-77) and Doyt Perry (77, BGSU, 1955-64).

Cardinal Frosh Continues Success:
Ball State redshirt freshman quarterback Talmadge Hill led the Cardinals to their second consecutive win since ending a 21-game losing streak two weeks ago. Hill, 2-0 as a starter, has completed 29-of-47 passes for 283 yards and two touchdowns in back-to-back wins over Miami and Eastern Michigan. Hill has also picked up 81 rushing yards in the two games. BSU last won as many as two games in a row in 1997.

Blackney Ties Walker:
Bowling Green head coach Gary Blackney, who earlier in the year announced his resignation effective the end of the 2000 season, earned his 59th career win in the Falcons' 18-11 triumph at Kent State on Sept. 30. The win ties Blackney with former Miami coach Randy Walker for ninth place all-time in league history for overall wins. It was also Blackney's 46th MAC win, tying him again with Walker for eighth place.

Sanford Sets Sails:
Western Michigan's Robert Sanford became the first MAC player to rush for over 200 yards in a game this season and he did it on national television. Sanford's 203 yards and three touchdowns on 26 carries ignited the Broncos' 30-10 win at Marshall on Oct.. 5 before an ESPN audience. Sanford enjoys the confines of Marshall Stadium as last year he set a MAC Championship game record with 163 rushing yards versus the Thundering Herd.

Rock(et) Solid Defense: Toledo's defense recorded its third shutout of the season in its 42-0 win over Marshall. The Rockets lead the MAC in total defense (267.3 yards allowed per game), rushing defense (63.3) and scoring defense (9.6), ranking seventh, second and first, respectively, in those categories.

MAC Teams Idle This Week/Next Game on Oct. 28
Miami RedHawks (4-3) at Cincinnati, 1:00
Toledo Rockets (6-1) at Navy, noon

This Week's Games - Saturday, October 21

Ball State Cardinals (2-4) at Buffalo Bulls (1-5), 1:00
UB Stadium (31,000/grass) Buffalo, N.Y.
The Coaches: BSU-Bill Lynch (Butler 1977) 23-39/sixth season; UB-Craig Cirbus (Buffalo 1980) 18-43/sixth season.
The Series: BSU leads 2-0.
This will be the first meeting in 30 years between the two schools, the last coming in 1970 in Buffalo's final year before dropping football ... Ball State is coming off a 33-14 win over Eastern Michigan, the Cardinals' second win in a row after 21 consecutive losses ... the Bulls were idle last week and have not played since a 42-20 loss at Ohio on Oct. 7 ... in their two wins, the Cardinals have held opponents to a total of 106 rushing yards (EMU 41, Miami 65) ... on the other side, BSU has averaged 205 rushing yards the past two games, this after an average of 90.5 yards per game the first four games of the season ... BSU is averaging only 128 rushing yards per game, but had 70-plus yard outings from two players versus the Eagles - Marcus Merriweather had 75 yards on 12 carries and Anthony Jones 72 on 30 attempts ... UB's passing game is ranked a respectable sixth in the league, averaging 213 yards per game, but the Bulls' rushing game has lost a league-high 12 fumbles ... QB Joe Freedy is seventh in the MAC in passing efficiency and has completed 56.2% (122-of-217) of his passes for 1,281 yards, nine touchdown and eight interceptions ... Andre Ford is among the MAC leaders in all-purpose yards, ranking ninth with 111.8 per game.

Northern Illinois Huskies (4-2) at Western Michigan Broncos (5-1), 1:00
Waldo Stadium (30,200/prerscription athletic turf) Kalamazoo, Mich.
The Coaches: NIU-Joe Novak (Miami 1967) 12-38/fifth season; WMU-Gary Darnell (Oklahoma State 1970) 27-13/fourth season.
The Series: WMU leads 19-6. Television: ESPN Plus (live); FSN Chicago (delayed at 3:30)
The Broncos have won the last five in a row and the last three played in Kalamazoo ... the winner of this game will have a 2-0 West Division record and remain as the lone undefeated team in West Division play ... this game features two of the three players in the league averaging 100-plus rushing yards in WMU's Robert Sanford (112.3) and NIU's Thomas Hammock (104.7) ... WMU is No. 2 in the MAC in total defense (295.8 ypg allowed) and NIU is No. 3 (339.5) ... the Broncos will not have played a game in 16 days, their last action a 30-10 win at Marshall on Oct. 5 ... NIU is coming off a 52-35 win at Akron ... the Huskies' 52 points marked the most ever for a Joe Novak coached team at NIU and was fueled in part by a school-record 40:34 in time of possession ... Thomas Hammock tied a MAC record with five rushing touchdowns and recorded 174 yards on 32 attempts ... Hammock's outburst vaulted him to a tie for third place nationally in scoring at 12 points per game ... NIU also features WR Justin McCareins, the league's leader in all-purpose yards (149.0 ypg) and receiving yards per game (98.5) ... the Broncos' offense is led by the league's second rated passing efficiency leader in Jeff Welsh (128.1, 106-180, 1,327 yards, 7 tds, 5 int.) ... Welsh's No. 1 target is WR Steve Neal (35 rec., 497 yds., 2 tds), who is trying to become the MAC career leader in receptions and receiving yards (needs 26 rec. and 266 yards).

Central Michigan Chippewas (1-5) at Ohio Bobcats (4-3), 2:00
Peden Stadium (27,605/grass) Athens, Ohio
The Coaches: CMU-Mike DeBord (Manchester 1978) 1-5/first season; Ohio-Jim Grobe (Virginia 1975) 29-32-1/sixth year.
The Series: CMU leads 17-2-2.
The Chippewas have won the last three in a row versus the Bobcats ... since 1981, the Chippewas are 13-0-1 against Ohio, with the teams battling to a tie in 1991 (17-17) ... the series began in 1972, then resumed from 1975 through 1994 ... this is the first meeting since CMU's 22-10 triumph six years ago ... the Chippewas are seeking to snap a four-game losing streak since beating Akron, 17-7, on Sept. 9 in Mount Pleasant ... Ohio has won its last two games by a combined score of 86-27 ... earlier this year the Bobcats beat Minnesota, a team which defeated No. 6 ranked Ohio State last week ... although the Bobcats do not have a rusher listed in the top 10 in the MAC, they lead the league and rank sixth nationally with 290.3 yards per game ... Ohio also tops the MAC charts in net punting (38.7), passing efficiency (145.4) and is less than one yard behind league leader Marshall in total offense (410.4) ... in last week's game, a 44-7 win at Kent State, Ohio had a 23-0 halftime lead ... QB Dontrell Jackson was a perfect 7-for-7 passing in the first half and finished 9-for-11 for 136 yards and a touchdown for the game ... Ohio has the nation's best touchdown pass percentage at 9.89 with nine TDs in 91 attempts ... CMU backup QB Derrick Vickers came into the Chippewas' last game against Kent State on Oct. 7 for an injured Pete Shepherd with his team trailing 14-0 before tying the game with scoring passes of 21 yards to Steve Messam and 83 yards to Kenan Lawhorne ... Vickers later hooked up for his third scoring pass from 17 yards to Eric Salani before the Chippewas dropped a 24-21 double overtime game to the Golden Flashes.

Kent State Golden Flashes (1-6) at Marshall Thundering Herd (2-4), 3:30
Marshall Stadium (40,000/artifical turf) Huntington, W.Va.
The Coaches: KSU-Dean Pees (Bowling Green 1971) 3-26/third year; Marshall-Bob Pruett (Marshall 1965) 52-8/fifth year.
The Series: KSU leads 18-12.
Both teams are coming off losses, KSU with a 44-7 defeat at the hands of Ohio and Marshall a 42-0 loss to Toledo ... for the Herd, it was their first time shutout since a 1989, 14-0, loss at UT-Chattanooga, a span of 151 games ... the Golden Flashes managed only 41 passing yards and 182 yards of total offense in the loss to the Bobcats ... TB Chante Murphy rushed for 71 yards and ranks fifth among all MAC ground gainers with 76.4 yards per game ... despite completing 56% (89-of-159) of his passes, KSU QB Zach Williams has only three touchdown passes compared to seven interceptions ... KSU's defense has recovered nine fumbles, the third highest number among MAC teams ... Marshall's potent offense was shut down at Toledo, but the Herd still leads the league in total offense (411.0) and passing yards per game (288.3) ... Marshall produced just 42 rushing yards at UT and has not had a back gain more than 80 yards in a single game this season ... QB Byron Leftwich is averaging a MAC high 250.7 passing yards per game but was held to 177 yards by the Rockets, who boast the league's top defense ... Marshall's Nate Poole needs seven receptions to move from sixth to third all-time in MAC history ... Poole is averaging six receptions per game, third best in the league ... Marshall has not had as many as five losses in a season since going 6-5 in 1990 ... a win by KSU would equal its total from last year and would be the Flashes first win over the Herd since 1978 ... Marshall has won the last four in the series ... KSU's last win in Huntington came in 1974 at Fairfield Stadium ... at Marshall Stadium, the Herd has won the only meeting, 42-7 in 1998.

Eastern Michigan Eagles (1-6) at Bowling Green Falcons (1-6), 7:00
Doyt L. Perry Stadium (30,599/grass) Bowling Green, Ohio
The Coaches: EMU-Jeff Woodruff (Kent State 1979) 1-6/first season; BGSU-Gary Blackney (Connecticut 1967) 59-47-2/10th year.
The Series: BGSU leads 17-10-1.
EMU has dropped six in a row since a season-opening 32-25 win over Connecticut ... the Falcons are on a two-game losing streak since an 18-11 triumph over Kent State on Sept. 23 ... EMU's Kenny Christian caught six passes for 107 yards at Ball State and currently ranks second nationally with 8.0 receptions per game ... Christian could join former MAC receivers Eugene Baker of Kent State (9.4 in 1997) and Dave Petzke of Northern Illinois (8.3 in 1978) as national leaders in receiving ... with 18-of-36 completions for 258 yards at Ball State, EMU's Walter Church now holds almost every major passing record at the school ... Church's career numbers read 725-of-1,269 (57.1%) with 8,305 yards and 40 touchdowns ... on the MAC career list, Church is fourth in pass attempts and completions and fifth in passing yards ... Church's passing game will challenge the BGSU defense, which ranks 13th in the league in passing defense, but second in rushing defense ... Falcons QB Andy Sham has hit his stride the last three games with a 54.4 completion percentage, including a season-high 216 yards last week at Miami ... the BGSU defense touts the MAC's sack leader in DL Brandon Hicks (8 sacks) ... with starting senior center Eric Curl back in the lineup after missing four games due to injury, the Falcons have increased their rushing average from 58 yards to 147 yards per game ... Curl's return has helped John Gibson rush for 149 yards versus Akron and Josh Harris pick up 103 yards at Miami ... true freshman Janssen Patton ranks among MAC leaders with three interceptions but has not played in the NCAA required 75% of the Falcons games to be recognized among the leaders ... this will be the teams first meeting since 1994, a 30-13 BGSU victory ... the series began in 1919 in the third game ever played in BGSU history, a 10-0 EMU victory.

Connecticut Huskies (2-4) at Akron Zips (4-3), 7:00
Rubber Bowl (35,202/astroturf) Akron, Ohio
The Coaches: Randy Edsall (Syracuse 1980) 6-11/second season; Akron-Lee Owens (Bluffton College 1977) 23-39/sixth year
The Series: first meeting.
The Zips step out of conference for the final time this year ... a win by Akron would give the Zips two non-conference wins over I-A programs for the second year in a row and they would be the only MAC team to accomplish that feat ... UA beat Temple and Navy last year and have a victory against Central Florida this season ... the Huskies are in their first year of I-A and have a 2-4 mark, including a win over MAC member Buffalo (24-21) and a loss to Eastern Michigan (32-25) ... UConn also plays at Ball State on Nov. 18 ... the Zips are coming off a 52-35 loss to Northern Illinois, a defeat that snapped the team's four-game winning streak ... QB Butchie Washington passed for a career-high 324 yards versus the Huskies, completing 12-of-28 passes and three touchdowns ... Washington's scoring strikes went to Lavel Bailey from 80 yards, Jake Schifino from 78 yards and Brandon Payne from 15 yards ... the performance boosted Washington's pass efficiency rating to a MAC leading 134.5 based on his 93-of-183 completions (50.8%), 1,597 yards, 10 TDs and seven interceptions ... the big numbers boosted Bailey (92.6) to second and Schifino to seventh (71.0) in the MAC in receiving yards per game, and the duo is averaging, respectively, 21.6 and 19.9 yards per reception ... Dwight Smith's eight interceptions lead the league and the nation despite the fact he has not had a pick the last two games ... Payne's 79.1 yards per game rushing average is fourth in the MAC ... UConn's wins this year include the 24-21 triumph over Buffalo and a 37-7 decision against Cornell ... in addition to their loss at Eastern Michigan, the Huskies have dropped games to Northeastern (35-27), Louisville (41-22) and Boston College (55-3) ... they will join full competition for football in the Big East in 2005.

MAC Record Watch (Career) current players bolded

Receiving Yards
1.) 3,513 - Eugene Baker (Kent State) 1995-98
2.) 3,248 - Steve Neal (Western Michigan) 1997-2000
3.) 3,053 - Reggie Allen (Central Michigan) 1995-98
4.) 2,866 - Bryan Schorman (Central Michigan) 1995-98
5.) 2,679 - Steve Hunter (Bowling Green) 1982-85
6.) 2,507 - Mark Szlachclc (Bowling Green) 1982-85
7.) 2,491- Ron Heard (Bowling Green) 1986-89
8.) 2,414 - Justin McCareins (Northern Illinois) 1997-2000
9.) 2,355 - Nate Poole (Marshall) 1997-2000
10.) 2,268 - Jeff Groth (Bowling Green) 1975-78

Receptions
1.) 229 - Eugene Baker (Kent State) 1995-98
2.) 203 - Steve Neal (Western Michigan) 1997-2000
3.) 184 - Reggie Allen (Central Michigan) 1995-98
4.) 183 - Bryan Schorman (Central Michigan) 1995-98
5.) 182 - Mark Szlachclc (Bowling Green) 1982-85
6.) 178 - Nate Poole (Marshall) 1997-2000
7.) 176 - Steve Hunter (Bowling Green) 1982-85
8.) 171 - Don Fair (Toledo) 1969-71
9.) 169 - Justin McCareins (Northern Illinois) 1997-2000
10. 148 - Reggie Thornton (Bowling Green) 1986-89

Touchdown Passes
1.) 100 - Chad Pennington (Marshall) 1997-99
2.) 87 - Tim Lester (Western Michigan) 1996-99
3.) 63 - Brian McClure (Bowling Green) 1982-85
4.) 57 - Jose Davis (Kent State) 1997-99
5.) 53 - Charlie Batch (Eastern Michigan) 1994-97
6.) 52 - Ryan Huzjak (Toledo) 1993-96
7.) 49 - Brad Tayles (Western Michigan ) 1989-92
8.) 46 - Ryan Henry (Bowling Green) 1992-95
t-9.) 45 - Mike Bath (Miami) 1997-2000
t-9.) 45 - Jay McDanagh (Western Michigan) 1993-95

Passing Yards
1.) 11,299 - Tim Lester (Western Michigan) 1996-99
2.) 10,688 - Chad Pennington (Marshall) 1997-99
3.) 10,280 - Brian McClure (Bowling Green) 1982-85
4.) 8,717 - Brad Tayles (Western Michigan) 1989-92
5.) 8,305 - Walter Church (Eastern Michigan) 1996-2000
6.) 7,592 - Charlie Batch (Eastern Michigan) 1994-97
7.) 7,267 - Gene Swick (Toledo) 1973-75
8.) 6,682 - Rich Dackin (Bowling Green) 1986-89
9.) 6,722 - Jose Davis (Kent State) 1997-99
10.) 6,672 - Ryan Huzjak (Toledo) 1993-96

Pass Attempts
1.) 1,507 - Tim Lester (Western Michigan) 1996-99
2.) 1,427 - Brian McClure (Bowling Green) 1982-85
3.) 1,370 - Brad Tayles (Western Michigan) 1989-92
4.) 1,269 - Walter Church (Eastern Michigan) 1996-2000
5.) 1,265 - Chad Pennington (Marshall) 1997-99
6.) 1,073 - Rich Dackin (Bowling Green) 1986-89

Pass Completions
1.) 900 - Brian McClure (Bowling Green) 1982-85
2.) 875 - Tim Lester (Western Michigan) 1996-99
3.) 822 - Chad Pennington (Marshall) 1997-99
4.) 725 - Walter Church (Eastern Michigan) 1996-2000
5.) 663 - Brad Tayles (Western Michigan) 1986-89
6.) 591 - Rich Dackin (Bowling Green), 1986-89
7.) 580 - Mike Neu (Ball State), 1990-93
8.) 579 - Charlie Batch (Eastern Michigan) 1994-97)

Touchdown Receptions
1.) 35 - Eugene Baker, Kent State (1995-98)
2.) 27 - Ronnie Redd, Bowling Green (1991-94)
3.) 26 - Steve Neal, Western Michigan (1997-2000)
4.) 25 - Randy Moss, Marshall (1997)
5.) 24 - Brian Oliver, Ball State (1991-94)
6.) 23 - Justin McCareins, Northern Illinois (1997-2000)
7.) 22 - Jim Swierczek (Marshall) 1951-53

Coaching Victories
Wins Coach/School/Year
1.) 110 Herb Deromedi/Central Michigan/1978-93
2.) 108 Bill Hess/Ohio /1958-77
3.) 77 Doyt Perry/Bowling Green/1955-64
4.) 69 Gary Pinkel/Toledo/1991-2000
5.) 66 Trevor Rees/Kent State University/1951-63
6.) 64 Bill Mallory/Miami/1969-73/NIU/1980-83
7.) 62 Al Molde/Western Michigan/1987-96
8.) 60 Paul Schudel/Ball State/1985-94
t-9.) 59 Gary Blackney/Bowling Green/1991-2000
t-9.) 59 Randy Walker/Miami/1990-98

MAC Top Ten Performances This Year

Rushing Yards
1.) 203, Robert Sanford, WMU at Marshall
2.) 188, Brandon Payne, Akron vs. Miami
3.) 187, Anthony Jones, BSU at Miami
5.) 164, Robbie Mixon, CMU vs. Akron
6.) 159, Robert Sanford, WMU vs. Indiana State
7.) 156, Chester Taylor, Toledo vs. Eastern Illinois
8.) 152, Chester Taylor, Toledo vs. Central Michigan
t-9.) 149, John Gibson, Bowling Green vs. Akron
t-9.) 149, Steve Little, Miami vs. BGSU

Passing Yards
1.) 378, Byron Leftwich, Marshall vs. Buffalo
2.) 364, Walter Church at Temple
3.) 358, Mike Bath, Miami at Vanderbilt
4.) 332, Jeff Welsh, WMU vs. Ohio
5.) 276, Mike Bath, Miami vs. Kent State
6.) 262, Joe Freedy, Buffalo at Ohio
7.) 261, Derrick Vickers, CMU vs. Kent State
8.) 259, Joe Freedy, Buffalo vs. Connecticut
9.) 258, Butchie Washington, Akron at Ohio
10.) 258, Walter Church, EMU at Ball State

Receiving Yards
1.) 198, Kenny Christian, EMU at Temple
2.) 189, Justin McCareins, NIU at Auburn
3.) 156, Lavel Bailey, Akron vs. NIU
3.) 150, Justin McCareins, NIU at Ball State
4.) 143, Lanier Washington, Marshall vs. Buffalo
5.) 138, Jurron Kelly, Kent State vs. Bowling Green
t-6.) 134, Ty Buxton, Miami at Vanderbilt
t-6.) 134, Sly Johnson, Miami at Vanderbilt
8.) 131, Lavel Bailey, Akron vs. Central Florida
9.) 130, Ty Buxton, Miami vs. Ball State
10.) 123, Jake Schifino, Akron vs. Miami

The Best of Both Worlds
(double 100-yard performances in a single game)
Mike Bath, Miami at Ohio State (236 passing yards, 105 rushing yards)
Robbie Mixon, Central Michigan vs. Akron (164 rushing yards, 101 receiving yards)