MAC Football Notes

Updated 11/8/1997
Miami running back Travis Prentice now holds the NCAA record for multiple-touchdown games.(AP PHOTO)

In the Polls: Marshall University continued to climb in the Top 25 national rankings. In this week's USA TODAY/ESPN Coaches' Poll, The Thundering Herd is listed #17 and in the Associated Press poll is also slotted at #17, the highest listing ever for the school. The Miami RedHawks received four points in the USA TODAY/ESPN Coaches' Poll. The highest finish ever by a MAC team was the #10 ranking in the final UPI and AP polls attained by the 1974 Miami team that produced an 10-0-1 record.

NCAA Record Watch: Miami's Travis Prentice became the all-time NCAA leader in multiple-touchdown games as his four TDs against Eastern Michigan on Sept. 18 gave him 22 such performances, bettering the old mark of 21 set by Ricky Williams of Texas. Prentice added two rushing TDs at Central Michigan on Sept. 25, boosting his career rushing touchdown total to 64, tied for second best all-time with former Indiana running back Anthony Thompson. Prentice is eyeing the all-time mark of 72, also held by Williams.

MAC Record Setter: Miami's Travis Prentice also became the league's career leader in rushing yards with his 116 against Eastern Michigan on Sept. 18, increasing his career numbers to 4,369. Since then, Prentice has upped that total to 4,445, which ranks 25th all-time on the NCAA rushing list. Prentice has seven regular-season games remaining and a possible MAC championship game to add to his total.

Pennington Sets Record: With four TD passes in Marshall's 63-3 victory over Liberty on Sept. 11, Chad Pennington increased his MAC career total to 67 scoring passes, breaking the tie he held at 63 with BG's Brian McClure. Pennington has since upped that total to 75. Western Michigan's Tim Lester is now second with 66 career TD strikes.

Setting Another Record: Marshall University has another record to add to its collection. The Thundering Herd program has won 105 games in the 1990s - more than any other football program has ever won in a decade. The Herd's mark of 105-25 is better than Alabama's 103-16-1 record in the 1970s. Marshall is 26-4 at the I-A level (1997-99) and 79-21 at the I-AA level (1990-96) during its run.

MAC On the Slant: Akron's Jon Eaton was not only named as an honorable mention All-America Farm Team member, but he's also been selected for a feature story on "The Slant" - a weekly college football magazine show produced by Host Communications and aired nationally on FOX Sports Net. Targeted to air the second week in October, Eaton will be profiled because of his remarkable comeback from a horrible ankle injury suffered in July 1997. Eaton required four surgeries and 32 days in the hospital.

WMU Attracts Record Crowd: Football is alive and very well in Kalamazoo, Michigan, home of the Western Michigan Broncos. For the second consecutive home opener, WMU established a MAC record for attendance with 35,874 against Youngstown State, bypassing the mark set last year at Waldo Stadium of 35,107 for the Northern Illinois game.

Buffalo Sets Attendance Mark: A stadium-record audience of 20, 835 welcomed the Buffalo Bulls to the MAC in its first game ever in the league Sept. 11 against Akron. The old standard was 20,760 set last year versus Lock Haven. UB Stadium was recently renovated to a capacity of 31,000.

Heisman Watch: 1998 MAC MVP running back Travis Prentice of Miami and two-time first team All-MAC quarterback Chad Pennington of Marshall are being touted as Heisman candidates, complete with impressive numbers and web sites. Prentice, a senior from Louisville, Ky., who rushed for 1,787 yards and 19 TDs last year, can be checked out at www.tdtravis.com, while Pennington, a senior from Knoxville, Tenn., who passed for 3,419 yards and 24 touchdowns, can be found at www.HerdQB.com. Prentice is also a candidate for the Doak Walker Award and Pennington for the Davey O'Brien Award.

Butkus Award List: Two Mid-American Conference linebackers are listed on the Butkus Award Watch list released by the Downtown Athletic Club of Orlando. First team All-MAC linebackers Dustin Cohen of Miami and Jason Lamar of Toledo were recognized as two of the 65 candidates for this year's award as the nation's best collegiate linebacker. Cohen, a senior from Cincinnati, Ohio, led the MAC in tackles last season with 146 and was named third team All-America by Football News. Lamar, a senior from Ypsilanti, Mich., was second on the Rockets' squad last year with 119 tackles and tied for the team lead with 12 tackles for a loss. The Butkus watch list will be trimmed to 10 semi-finalists on Oct. 21. Then three finalists will be announced via a national teleconference on Nov. 11. The winner will be announced Dec. 10 during the 15th Butkus Award Gala.

Thorpe Award: Marshall's Rogers Beckett is among those listed for the Jim Thorpe Award that goes to the nation's top-rated defensive back. Beckett, a senior from Apopka, Fla., is not only a three-year starter and a first-team All-MAC player, but he is the student body vice-president at Marshall for the 1999-2000 academic year.

Around the MAC: BG's Robert Redd became the first Falcon since 1982 to catch three touchdown passes in a game in last week's contest at Kent ... Akron went into the Eastern Michigan game averaging a MAC best 218 rushing yards per game but was shutdown by the Eagles and gained only 41 yards on the ground, thanks in part to seven sacks ... the Zips play at Ball State this week, and the Cardinals have lost 10 in a row, yet won their last seven Homecoming games ... Miami's win at Central Michigan snapped the Chips' six-game home winning streak ... EMU's 38 points against Akron are the Eagles' highest total in a game since a Nov. 8, 1997 outing against Northern Illinois ... Kent's 41-27 win against Bowling Green snapped the nation's longest losing streak at 16 games ... Kent had two interceptions in the end zone (Matt Rayl and Justin Baugham) ... Marshall's Chad Pennington has thrown at least three touchdown passes in each of the least three games ... WMU quarterback Tim Lester has established school records for completions (679) and passing yards (8,806) ... Ohio punter Dave Zastudil established a Bobcat all-time standard with a 56.5 yards per kick average in a single game with four punts for 226 yards against Buffalo.

National Attention ' After not having a regular-season MAC game on national television since 1987 (Eastern Michigan at Toledo), two league contests will be beamed nationwide in 1999. On Oct. 14, the Toledo at Marshall contest will be the ESPN national contest, and on Nov. 26 the Ohio at Marshall game will be featured by FOX Sports Net on a national basis.