The Marshall University Thundering Herd (10-0 overall, 7-0 MAC) won a showdown with Western Michigan (8-3, 6-1) Saturday afternoon in Kalamazoo, Mich., and beat the Broncos 31-17. The win for the #11 ranked Thundering Herd clinched a spot in the MAC championship game scheduled for Dec. 3 at 8 p.m. (ET) at Marshall Stadium in Huntington, W.Va. Marshall, the MAC East Division champion, will face another challenge from the Broncos, winner of the MAC West Division.
In Saturday's contest, Marshall received 339 passing yards from quarterback Chad Pennington. Pennington completed 27-of-40 passes with two of his completions going for touchdowns. Leading at the half 14-10 on two rushing touchdowns by Doug Chapman, Marshall went on a 17-0 scoring blitz to take control. Pennington hooked up on 19-yard scoring passes to Lanier Washington and James Williams in the third quarter. Chapman finished the game with 108 rushing yards on 29 carries.
Western Michigan's Tim Lester, who came into the game ranked fifth in the nation in passing efficiency, completed 24-of-43 passes for 193 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions. Robert Sanford scored for the Broncos on a four-yard run in the second quarter for WMU's only lead of the day at 10-7.
Ohio (5-5, 5-2) held MAC all-time rushing leader Travis Prentice to 69 yards on 25 carries in a 40-28 win over the Miami RedHawks (6-4, 5-2). Prentice's one-yard scoring run in the second quarter tied him with Ricky Williams for 72 career rushing touchdowns. Ohio's Chad Brinker rushed for 167 yards and touchdowns from one and 74 yards. The Bobcats Dontrell Jackson was effective with five completions in eight attempts for 112 yards. Miami's Mike Bath was successful on 17-of-35 passes for 248 yards and three touchdowns.
Akron (7-4, 5-3) came back from a 21-6 deficit to beat Kent (2-9, 2-6). James "Butchie" Washington scored the Zips winning points on a four-yard rollout with 38 seconds left. Kent had taken a 34-30 lead with 3:41 remaining when Jose Davis hooked up with Chante Murphy on a 27-yard pass. Davis completed 16-of-22 passes for 275 yards and two touchdowns. Akron freshman Brandon Payne rushed for 161 yards and two touchdowns.
Bowling Green (4-6, 3-5) sent Ball State (0-10, 0-7) to its 16th consecutive loss in a 35-14 game. The Falcons Matt Bunsey returned a blocked punt 24 yards for a score and Brandon Hicks scored on a 20-yard fumble return. Joe Alls paced the BG offense with 155 rushing yards on 25 attempts. BSU's Brian Conn completed 18-of-29 passes for 254 yards and one touchdown. Conn's scoring pass was from 31-yards and went to Adrian Reese.
Central Michigan (3-7, 2-5) snapped a three-game losing streak with a 29-26 triumph over Eastern Michigan (4-6, 4-3). CMU's Pete Shepherd passed for 217 yards and two touchdowns and also caught a touchdown pass. One of Shepherd's scoring passes went 80 yards to Jammarl O'Neal. EMU quarterback Walt Church completed 27-of-49 passes for 309 yards and a touchdown, however he was sacked four times and intercepted twice.
Toledo (5-5, 4-3) won its second game in a row in a 44-14 victory against Northern Illinois (4-6, 4-3). Toledo's Antwon McCray scored on runs of one and 44 yards for the Rockets. UT quarterback Tavares Bolden added an 18-yard TD run and also threw a 10-yard touchdown pass to Mel Long. William Andrews rushed for 103 for the Huskies and Chris Finlen contributed 135 passing yards, completing 17-of-29 passes for two touchdowns.
In non-conference action, Buffalo (0-10) fell at Virginia (6-4) 50-21.UB's Drew Haddad was on the receiving end for 141 of quarterback Joe Freedy's 193 passing yards. Josh Roth rushed for 144 yards for the Bulls, whose 21 points was their highest output of the year. Virginia's Thomas Jones rushed for 221 yards and quarterback Dan Ellis tossed a school record six touchdown passes.
Central Michigan at Ball State, 1:00
Bowling Green at Central Florida, 1:00
Buffalo at Miami, 1:00
Western Michigan at Toledo, 1:00/WWMT-TV
Eastern Michigan at Northern Illinois, 2:00
Ohio at Marshall, 11:30 a.m. - FOX Sports Net National
MAC Championship Game, 8 p.m./ESPN2
Western Michigan versus Marshall
Motor City Bowl, 1:30/ESPN
MAC Champion versus at-large selection