Falcons East Division Champions With 24-7 Win Over Bulls

Updated 11/29/2013

MAC Football Scoreboard:  Friday, Nov. 29th

Bowling Green 24, Buffalo 7   Final

Akron 31, Toledo 29  Final

Ball State 55, Miami 14  Final

Central Michigan 42, Eastern Michigan 10   Final

Ohio 51, UMass 23   Final


Bowling Green 24, Buffalo 7   Final     Stats

Orchard Park, N.Y. – The Bowling Green defense held Buffalo to 15 yards rushing and the Falcons won the Mid-American Conference East Division with a dominant 24-7 victory over the Bulls Friday in Ralph Wilson Stadium. BGSU will play in the MAC Championship game against No. 14 Northern Illinois at Ford Field in Detroit Friday at 8 p.m.

As it has done all year, the best defense in the MAC shut down the Buffalo offense, holding the Bulls to 236 yards of offense. UB entered the game having won eight of its last nine games, but the Falcons kept the Bulls to just one second quarter touchdown, the team's lowest scoring output of the year. Most notably, running back Braden Oliver was smothered, rushing for just 46 yards, 123 below his average in conference play entering the game.
The first half was a low scoring affair and Buffalo took a 7-3 lead into the break as the two defenses, ranked first and second in the conference, made life difficult for the offenses.
On the first possession of the game, Buffalo was helped by a 15-yard facemask to move across midfield. But Ryland Ward ripped the ball away from a Bulls receiver on a flea-flicker attempt that could have been a 46-yard touchdown. Two plays later, Paul Swan and Paul Senn combined for a sack that halted the drive.
Bowling Green started the scoring with 4:52 left in the first quarter on a 40-yard Tyler Tate field goal that was set up by a 33-yard Travis Greene carry. Buffalo did put together a nine-play, 66-yard drive in the second quarter, capped by Oliver's two-yard rush, for a 7-3 halftime lead.
The Falcons got the ball to start the third quarter and drove into the Buffalo red zone after a 31-yard Shaun Joplin reception, but quarterback Matt Johnson was picked off one play later. Despite the interception, the Bowling Green offense was finding its rhythm.
After Buffalo was forced to punt on the ensuing possession, the Falcons took the lead for good. Alex Bayer caught a 48-yard pass over two defenders and Joplin made an acrobatic 23-yard touchdown reception in the corner of the end zone.
With a chance to respond, Buffalo picked up only five yards on its next drive and the Falcons took control of the game after a Bulls punt. Bowling Green started on its own 7-yard line and then got a false start that pushed the team back to the four. On the team's first play of the drive, Johnson faked a handoff to Greene and went right for 56 yards, the longest rush of the season for Bowling Green. On third-and-5, Johnson scrambled out of the pocket and found Tyler Beck for 13 yards and a first down to the 22. Greene went around left end for a 15-yard touchdown that put the Falcons ahead by two scores.
Bowling Green closed out the scoring in the fourth quarter and iced the game away with a 7-play, 81-yard drive. Joplin caught a bomb, stepped inside the defender and went 62 yards before being tackled at the Buffalo 7-yard line. Johnson finished the drive with a seven-yard quarterback keeper to make it 24-7 with 8:18 left.
For the game, Bowling Green rushed for 260 yards and passed for 230, outgaining Buffalo 490-236. The Bulls rushed for just 0.6 yards per carry. Buffalo entered the game leading the MAC in quarterback sacks but had just one for the game, while Bowling Green had a season-high five.
Greene carried the ball 30 times for 129 yards, moving into second place in BGSU history with 1,422 yards on the season. He is 22 yards from tying the BGSU single-season record held by Fred Durig in 1971.
Johnson was only 11-of-26 passing but was able to complete the long ball, finishing with 230 yards passing. Joplin caught six passes for a career-high 149 yards and a touchdown. Defensively, Aaron Foster and Brian Sutton led the way with six tackles and Ted Ouellet had 3.0 tackles for loss, including two sacks. Cam Truss had a 14-yard interception return and Greg Hohenstein recovered a fumble on a muffed punt.
ith the win, Bowling Green improves to 9-3 on the season and earns the MAC East title with a 7-1 conference record. The Falcons earn the division title for the first time since being co-champs in 2007 and will play in the MAC Championship for the first time since 2003. BGSU is now the only team in the conference to win both an East and West Division title.
It marks the first nine-win season for the Falcons since 2004, when the team won the GMAC Bowl. It is the first nine-win regular season since the Falcons went 11-3 in 2003, posting a 10-2 regular season mark (with a loss in the MAC Championship and a win in the Motor City Bowl).
The Falcons will face 12-0 Northern Illinois for the MAC title Friday night at 8 p.m. in a game televised on ESPN2. 


Akron 31, Toledo 29   Final     Stats

AKRON, Ohio – The Akron defense made several big plays in the fourth quarter as the Zips won their third-straight game, defeating the Toledo Rockets 31-29 on Friday at InfoCision Stadium – Summa Field, to finish the season with a Mid-American Conference record of .500 or better for the first time since 2005. Akron (5-7, 4-4 MAC) also closed out the year by winning four of its last five games and posted a 3-3 mark at home.

The defense came through with 59 seconds left in the game as Bryce Cheek broke up a two-point conversion attempt after Toledo (7-5, 5-3 MAC) scored on a 3-yard TD run by Mark Remy to pull to within 31-29. The Rockets were forced to go for two after Cody Grice blocked the point-after attempt on their previous scoring drive.
It was the last in a series of big plays for the UA defense, as Johnny Robinson intercepted a Terrance Owens pass in the end zone to thwart a potential game-tying drive early in the fourth quarter and keep the Zips ahead 24-17.
Special teams also played a big role late as Andrew Pratt made a key tackle on a fake punt with 6:41 left in the game, giving the Zips the ball at the Toledo 35. One play later, quarterback Kyle Pohl (18-of-29 passing, 259 yards, 3 TDs) found Tyrell Goodman on the end a 35-yard TD pass that pushed Akron's lead to 31-17.
Pratt also recovered the Rockets' onside-kick attempt after their final score to seal the win.
Toledo entered the game averaging more than 452 yards a game on offense, but the Akron defense stiffened for the middle portion of the game after allowing a touchdown on the Rockets' first drive of the day and conversions on just 4-of-13 third downs.
On offense, the Zips registered several long scoring drives, including a nine-play, 91-yard touchdown march late in the first half to take their first lead of the day. Pohl completed passes of 13, 26 and 27 yards on the drive and Jawon Chisholm ran untouched into the end zone from 2 yards out to give Akron a 17-10 lead at intermission.
The Zips took control with a touchdown drive on their second possession after the half. Head coach Terry Bowden elected to go for it on fourth down and Pohl validated that decision with a 5-yard scoring strike to senior tight end Jon Root, Root's first career touchdown.
For Akron, the win came after an ominous start.
The Rockets got on the scoreboard first, taking advantage of the short field afforded them by an Akron fumble, with a 9-yard TD pass from Owens to Dwight Macon to cap a five-play, 43-yard drive.
Akron responded quickly, executing a reverse on the ensuing kickoff return and setting up shop at their own 42.
From there, the Zips needed eight plays to reach the end zone on a 19-yard scoring play from Pohl to L.T. Smith. Pohl rolled right, waited for Smith to work his way open in the back of the end zone and fired a line drive to the junior receiver for the tying TD.
Toledo retook the lead early in the second quarter with a 30-yard field goal by Jeremiah Detmer, but the Zips once again had the answer, tying the game on a 22-yard field goal by Robert Stein that sparked a run of 17 unanswered points for Akron.
Jatavis Brown led UA with 15 tackles and Malachi Freeman added four tackles and three pass break-ups.


Ball State 55, Miami 14   Final     Stats     Postgame Notes

MUNCIE, Ind. -- Ball State celebrated its 2013 Senior Day with a 55-14 home victory over Miami University to earn its 10th win of the year in record-setting fashion.

"We are happy to get win number 10, finish the season strong, go undefeated at home and send our seniors out with a victory," Ball State head coach Pete Lembo says.  "It was a pretty good day."
For only the third time in the Cardinals' 89-year history of football, Ball State has tallied at least 10 victories in a season.  And in doing so, the Cardinals set numerous offensive records to improve to 10-2 overall and 7-1 in the Mid-American Conference.  Miami University fell to 0-12 on the year and 0-8 in MAC action.
With scores early and often, Ball State raced out to a 35-0 halftime advantage behind the arm of senior quarterback Keith Wenning, who completed 21-of-26 passes for 301 yards with five touchdowns in the first half alone.
Wenning threw a school record six touchdown passes and matched his career high with 445 passing yards to set the Ball State single-season record with 3,933 passing yards.  Wenning set the single-season school record with 34 touchdown passes, while reaching 91 for his career to move into fourth place in MAC history.  He ended the day completing 27-of-33 passes for 445 yards and six TDs.
For the first time in school history, the Cardinals managed to have three players tally at least 100 yards receiving in the same game – Jordan Williams (161), Willie Snead (133) and Jamill Smith (127).
Smith tallied his third receiving touchdown of the game with less than a minute to play in the first half to give the Cardinals a 35-0 lead.  Snead managed his lone touchdown grab on a 14-yard completion from Wenning in the first half, while Williams caught his first of two TDs in the first half and his second with 12:03 to play in the game on a 75-yard pass from Wenning.
“It was an interesting 16 days off and our guys did a great job of staying focused during that time,” Lembo says.  “There were times where we were a little bit sluggish, but overall it was solid and we stayed after it.  There were some guys we held out of this game because they were banged up. There were some guys that got banged up during the game but some backup guys were able to step in and do a very solid job for us.”
Snead ended the day with 11 catches for 133 yards and one touchdown, breaking the school record for single-season receiving yards with 1,429 yards. Smith managed seven catches for 127 yards and three scores, and Williams had five receptions for 161 yards and two TDs.
Defensively, the Cardinals were led by the career high 14 tackles by Ben Ingle.
Ball State entered the game seventh in the nation in turnovers gained and first in the country in fumbles recovered and added to both of those totals with one interception and two fumble recoveries. 
The defense ended the game with a season high 11 tackles for loss, including a career high three TFLs by Jonathan Newsome.  Jeffery Garrett matched his career high with two tackles for loss and logged his second career fumble recovery on a fumble forced by placekicker Scott Secor.  The Cardinals also tallied a season high six sacks, marking the most since the Cardinals had six sacks in 2010 at Central Michigan.
“We will enjoy this victory and try to be patient and await our fate,” Lembo says.  “It has been a good year and we will have another opportunity to win a bowl game.  The whole three years, everything has exceeded expectations with these guys. I would almost be short changing it if I just talked about this year because it all started three years ago. These guys have just been tremendous from day one.  One of the most satisfying things about Ball State is we have some really intelligent student-athletes. Those are the ones that are fun to coach.”


Central Michigan 42, Eastern Michigan 10   Final     Stats

MOUNT PLEASANT, MIch. – Central Michigan reached .500, gained bowl eligibility for the second consecutive year and reclaimed the Michigan MAC Trophy with a 42-10 win over in-state rival Eastern Michigan in a Black Friday showdown at Kelly/Shorts Stadium.

Central Michigan (6-6, 5-3 MAC) sent 20 graduating Chippewas out in style on Senior Day, including senior running back Zurlon Tipton, who finished the day with 216 rushing yards on 20 carries (10.8 avg.) and tied a career high with four touchdowns. Tipton scored three touchdowns in the first half, including a bruising, highlight reel career-long 86-yard jaunt. 
Tipton scored a pair of first quarter touchdowns to give the Chippewas a 14-0 lead before extending the lead to 21-0 on his third touchdown of the game. Facing a 3rd-and-21, Tipton took a draw up the middle and lowered his shoulder through three EMU defenders before racing down the sidelines for the score. 
Eastern Michigan (2-10, 1-7 MAC) scored 10 unanswered points in the final 5:33 of the first half, but junior Courtney Williams squandered any chance of a comeback by the visiting squad with the opening kickoff of the second half. 
Williams broke a pair of tackles and weaved his way through the coverage and down the sidelines for an 84-yard kick return, becoming the first CMU player since Antonio Brown on January 6, 2010 to return a kick for a touchdown. The touchdown was the first of his career by return and gave the Chippewas a 28-10 lead. 
The CMU defense then forced a quick punt out of the Eagles and the Chippewas immediately went back to work on the ground. Tipton scored his fourth touchdown of the game when he ran straight up the middle untouched from 44 yards out to put the Chippewas in front, 35-10. 
Senior safety Avery Cunningham put the finishing touches on the Senior Day romp when he stepped in front of a pass by EMU freshman quarterback Brogan Roback early in the fourth quarterback and returned it 75 yards for a score. 
The Chippewas finished the day with 295 rushing yards. Junior receiver Titus Davis had three carries for 43 yards and junior running back Anthony Garland carried the ball three times for 34 yards. 
Junior linebacker Justin Cherocci led the CMU defense with 11 tackles, while junior Kevin King matched a career high with 10 tackles. King also forced a fumble, sacking Roback late in the third quarter, which was recovered by freshman defensive end Joe Ostman. 
Should Central Michigan receive a postseason invitation, it would be the Chippewas’ eighth overall bowl appearance since gaining Division I status. CMU has previously appeared in the California Raisin Bowl (1990), the Las Vegas Bowl (1994), the Motor City Bowl (2006, 2007, 2008), the GMAC Bowl (2010) and the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl (2012), posting a 3-4 record.


Ohio 51, UMass 23   Final     Stats

ATHENS, Ohio - The Ohio University football team (7-5, 4-4 MAC) wrapped up the 2013 regular season with a 51-23 win over visiting Massachusetts (1-11, 1-7 MAC) Friday afternoon on Senior Day at Peden Stadium.

With the victory, Ohio finishes the regular season two games above the .500 mark, ensuring the program a winning record for a fifth-straight season.

Ohio’s senior class shined on both the offensive and defensive sides of the Ball in the Bobcats’ home finale. Cornerback Travis Carrie (Antioch, Calif.) returned a career-best two interceptions for touchdowns in the contest and made four tackles on the afternoon. It marked the first time since a Sept. 9, 2005, game against Pittsburgh (Dion Byrum) that an Ohio defensive player returned two picks for touchdowns in a game.

Offensively, senior running back Beau Blankenship (Norman, Okla.) rushed for a game high 124 yards and a touchdown, while Ryan Boykin added 27 yards and a score on six carries. Quarterback Tyler Tettleton (Norman, Okla.) threw for 243 yards and a pair of scores.

Redshirt senior wideout Donte Foster (Guthrie, Okla.) posted a team-high 89 yards on six catches to punctuate Ohio’s strong set of senior performances.

Ohio led the game from start to finish and dominated the game statistically. The Bobcats held a 461-290 advantage in total yards, including a 246-137 edge in the passing game. The Green & White also made 22 first downs in the game and held a 4-3 edge in the turnover battle.

The Bobcats put the ball in the end zone on their first drive of the game, as the Green & White manufactured a 2-play, 65-yard sequence that took just 35 seconds off the clock. The drive culminated with a 50-yard touchdown run by Blankenship, which marked the senior’s longest rush of the season.

After Ohio forced a UMass three-and-out on the first Minutemen possession, the Bobcats continued their hot start with another long march down the field. Tettleton found Foster for a 25-yard completion, then Blankenship raced for another sizable run of 15 yards to enter the UMass red zone. The drive ended with a 2-yard touchdown pass from Tettleton to redshirt junior wide receiver Chase Cochran (Council Bluffs, Iowa) to make it 14-0 Ohio with 10:45 to play in the first quarter.

Massachusetts answered with a drive of 49 yards late in the first half that stalled at the Ohio 25 yard line. After a 42-yard field goal attempt sailed through the uprights, the Minutemen pulled within 11 of the Bobcats at 14-3 with 4:41 to go in the opening quarter.

The Minutemen then forced a fumble by Tettleton on the Bobcats’ next drive and took over at the Ohio 49-yard line. UMass took advantage of the Ohio miscue, and moved down the field with an 8-play, 45-yard touchdown drive that pulled the Minutemen within four (14-10) with 12:32 remaining in the second half.

After another Ohio drive stalled and UMass moved the ball into Bobcat territory, Carrie made a crucial defensive play to quell the Massachusetts rally. On a third down and nine play from the Ohio 34, Carrie picked off a pass from UMass quarterback A.J. Doyle and returned it 66 yards for his second career touchdown. The play pushed Ohio back in front by 11 (21-10) with 7:08 to go in the half.

Ohio then executed another important defensive play on the ensuing kick-off, when freshman Sebastian Smith (Columbus, Ohio) recovered a fumble by Trey Dudley-Giles at the UMass 18-yard line. Ohio capitalized on the turnover and extended its lead to 18 (28-10) after a six-yard touchdown run from Boykin with 6:29 to go in the half.

After a late field goal drive that included a 30-yard run from Blankenship, Ohio entered the half ahead, 31-10. The good kick from Josiah Yazdani (Albany, Ohio) made the freshman a perfect 10-for-10 on the year this season. The Bobcats outgained the Minutemen 293-160 in the half, including a 165-81 edge in passing yards.

UMass posted the first score of the second half to move back within two scores of the Bobcats (31-20). With 11 minutes to go in the third quarter, Doyle found Tajae Sharpe for a 38-yard touchdown reception that was upheld after an official review.

Ohio built its lead back to 18 (38-20) late in the third quarter, as the Bobcats put together a 39-yard touchdown drive that included a 19-yard pass from Tettleton to Foster and a four-yard strike to junior wideout Landon Smith (Girard, Ohio) for the score.

Yazdani improved his perfect streak to 12 with a pair of short field goals (24, 25) quarters to keep Ohio in front by 21 at 44-23 at the 9:13 mark of the fourth quarter. The Bobcats added their final touchdown of the game (51-23) on Carrie’s second interception returned for a score against the Minutemen.