CMU News and Notes
SETTING THE SCENE
• Central Michigan will make its first out-of-state road trip of the season this weekend when it heads west to Las Vegas to take on UNLV in the Chippewas’ third consecutive non-conference contest.
• The game is scheduled for a 10:06 p.m. ET kickoff at Sam Boyd Stadium and will be streamed live for free by the Mountain West Network/Campus Insiders with Rich Cellini (play-by-play) and Ted Sundquist (analyst) calling the action.
• CMU will meet a Mountain West Conference opponent for the first time under head coach Dan Enos and the trip to Nevada marks just the second time the Chippewas’ have ventured west of the Mississippi River during his tenure (Iowa, 2012).
• The weather forecast for Saturday in Las Vegas is projecting a high temperature of 97 degrees.
CENTRAL MICHIGAN-UNLV SERIES
• Central Michigan has played UNLV three times, with all three meetings taking place in the span of two seasons (1993-94).
• CMU fell to the Rebels in Las Vegas on Sept. 18, 1993, 33-20, in the first-ever meeting between the intra-regional foes.
• On Sept. 10, 1994, the Chippewas hosted UNLV in Kelly/Shorts Stadium, earning a 35-23 victory.
• The teams would also square off later in that same season, on December 15 in the Las Vegas Bowl, with UNLV claiming a 52-24 win on its home field.
• CMU has faced only one other Mountain West Conference team in program history, Wyoming, falling 31-10 in 2000 and defeating the Cowboys, 32-20, in 2002.
• UNLV will fulfill the home-and-home agreement by traveling to Mount Pleasant to play CMU in 2016.
• CMU head coach Dan Enos has been on opposite sidelines from UNLV head coach Bobby Hauck before when Enos was at North Dakota State and Hauck was at Montana.
• CMU has not made a western state-road trip since 2009 when the Chippewas traveled to play Arizona in Tucson in the season opener (19-6 loss).
• Redshirt freshman quarterback Cooper Rush will make his first career start versus UNLV.
• Sophomore safety Kavon Frazier is tied for third nationally with two interceptions.
• CMU ranks No. 1 in the MAC in interceptions with four.
• Junior wide receiver Titus Davis is among the nation’s leaders in yards per catch (26.5).
• Terry Turner, a tight end who lettered from 1970-72, will serve as honorary captain for the CMU-UNLV game.
• 10 of 11 CMU defensive players have started each of the first two games of the season.
RUSH SET TO MAKE FIRST CAREER START
• Redshirt freshman quarterback Cooper Rush will make his first career start on Saturday when CMU takes on UNLV in Las Vegas.
• Rush saw his first collegiate action last weekend versus New Hampshire, rallying the Chippewas to a 24-21 victory after entering the game in the second quarter.
• He led the Central offense on four scoring drives, including a late-game drive to set up the game-winning field goal.
• Rush finished the game completing 19-of-32 passes for 326 yards and three touchdowns, including a 97-yard scoring strike to Titus Davis, becoming the first CMU freshman quarterback to throw for 300 yards since Dan LeFevour had 314 in the MAC Championship game on November 30, 2006.
• The Charlotte, Mich. native was named Offensive Scout Player of the Year in 2012.
• As a senior at Lansing Catholic High School in 2011, Rush led his team to a 13-1 record and a state runner-up finish.
• The owner of Michigan high school records for touchdown passes in a quarter (5), half (7), game (8) and season (48), he was named the Gatorade Michigan Football Player of the Year and Associated Press Division 5/6 Player of the Year as a senior.
• Coming out of high school, Rush was ranked No. 21 on the Detroit Free Press Fab 50, No. 25 on Detroit News Blue Chip list and No. 12 on the Lansing State Journal’s Catch 22 list.
DAVIS SHINES AGAIN
• Junior Titus Davis showed again why he is deserving of consideration as one of the nation’s top receivers in the win over New Hampshire.
• Davis torched the Wildcats’ secondary, catching six passes for 184 yards and two touchdowns.
• Among his receptions was a 97-yard scoring play, Davis’ second 90-plus yard touchdown catch of his career and the second longest in CMU program history.
• Davis had two touchdown receptions in a game for the sixth time in his career and it was the sixth 100-yard game of his career.
• With his two receiving touchdowns, he moved into fifth place in the CMU record book with 18 for his career.
• In 2012, Davis led CMU with 860 receiving yards, eight receiving touchdowns, and a 71.7 receiving yards per game average.
• His 20.0 yards per reception average ranked No. 1 in the nation among receivers with 40 or more catches.
• A Second Team All-MAC selection in 2012, Davis has been named to the 2013 Biletnikoff Award Watch List.
HOGAN AND COLUZZI START ON RIGHT FOOT
• Senior punter Richie Hogan and redshirt freshman kicker Ron Coluzzi have started the 2013 season strong.
• Hogan ranks second in the MAC, averaging 46.8 yards per punt and has placed five of his 11 kicks inside the 20-yard line with just one touchback.
• He also owns the longest punt in the MAC thus far this season, a 67-yarder in the opener at Michigan.
• Coluzzi is perfect on the season, going 4-for-4 on field goals and 3-for-3 on PATs.
• In his first collegiate action, he blocked out a hostile crowd numbering over 112,000 to convert on all three of his field goal attempts at Michigan.
• In week two, Coluzzi played the hero, kicking a 27-yard field goal as time expired to lift CMU to a 24-21 win over New Hampshire.
LAVALLII STEPS INTO STARTING ROLE
• With the injury to Zurlon Tipton, sophomore running back Saylor Lavallii has gotten the majority of carries in the CMU run game.
• Versus Michigan, Lavallii averaged 5.2 yards per rush (10-52) after coming into the game in the first quarter.
• Lavallii set career highs in rushes (20), rushing yards (93) and longest run (42) in the win over New Hamphire on September 7.
• Lavallii was CMU’s second leading rusher in 2012, totaling 263 yards (4.6 avg.) and two touchdowns.
• He also ranked second on the team a year ago with 1,000 all-purpose yards.
• Senior Anthony Garland, who has rushed for 588 career yards, and redshirt freshman Martez Walker have also earned playing time in relief of Lavallii.
TOP TACKLERS STRONG EARLY ON
• The Chippewas’ defense returns three of its top tacklers from 2012 in linebackers Justin Cherocci and Shamari Benton and safety Avery Cunningham.
• All three have picked up where they left off last season, as they rank 1-2-3 on CMU in tackles after two games.
• Cherocci was dominant versus UNH, collecting a game-high 13 tackles, his 10th career double-digit tackle effort, and forcing two fumbles, including one late in the game that would set up CMU’s game-winning field goal.
• He leads CMU and is fourth in the MAC with 20 tackles.
• Cherocci, CMU’s Co-Defensive Player of the Year in 2012, led the team and ranked fifth in the MAC and 19th nationally with 132 total tackles last season.
• He was also the nation’s leader in assisted tackles with 89.
• A starter of all 13 games, Cherocci recorded double digit stops in seven games and was CMU’s leading tackler in six.
• Benton ranks second on CMU with 18 tackles, including a team-high three for a loss.
• Benton topped the team in solo tackles (54) and fumble recoveries (2) a year ago and was CMU’s leading tackler in seven of 13 games.
• He also ranked second on the team, No. 7 in the MAC, and 24th nationally with 126 total tackles.
• Benton ended the 2012 season strong, earning Little Caesars Pizza Bowl Lineman of the Game honors for spearheading a defensive effort that held a potent Western Kentucky offensive attack to just 21 points.
• Cunningham, who has 17 total tackles thus far in 2013, leads CMU with 11 solos.
• In the starting line-up for all 13 games in 2012, he finished fourth on the team with 88 tackles and tallied six tackles for loss, four pass break-ups, two sacks, two interceptions, a team-high two forced fumbles, and one blocked kick.
• His consecutive games started streak of 33 ranks third in the nation among active Division I safeties.
CMU REMAINS STRONG UP FRONT
• Despite the departure of tackle Eric Fisher and guard Darren Keyton, the offensive line will continue be an area of strength for the Chippewas in 2013.
• Center Nick Beamish and left guard Andy Phillips started every game in 2012 and were key parts of an offense that averaged 6.2 yards per play and produced nearly 400 total yards per game.
• Beamish anchored the middle of the line in his first collegiate season while Phillips has been in the starting
line-up for 19 consecutive games dating back to his freshman season.
• Manning the left tackle position vacated by the NFL’s No. 1 draft choice in All-American Eric Fisher will be Jake Olson, who has 28 careers starts to his credit.
• Olson was the starter at right tackle in 2012 but suffered a season-ending injury early on in the year.
• Kevin Henry is entrenched as the starter at right tackle.
• The junior started four games as a freshman and replaced Mike Repovz in the starting line-up in 2012 versus UMass, helping CMU post 42 points in the road victory.
• The starter at right guard, a spot that Detroit Lions-signee Darren Keyton held down in 2012, was unsettled entering preseason camp but has been sewn up by senior Cody Pettit.
KATER AND TIPTON INJURED
• CMU starting quarterback Cody Kater (collarbone) and running back Zurlon Tipton (ankle) were lost indefinitely after suffering injuries in the first quarter of the season opener versus Michigan.
• Kater, a junior, earned his first career start for the Chippewas after winning a three-way quarterback battle that was waged throughout the spring and preseason camps.
• Tipton attained star status in 2012, rushing for 1,492 yards and 19 touchdowns, earning Second Team All-MAC and team MVP honors.
• Tipton, who was elected by his teammates as a team captain for the 2013 season, was a preseason Maxwell and Doak Walker Award candidate.
LARGEST CROWD TO WATCH CMU
• The Michigan Stadium attendance for the CMU-Michigan game was 112,618, which is the largest crowd ever to watch CMU play.
• The previous record number was 110,637 at Michigan Stadium in 2003.
• A year ago, CMU set a Kelly/Shorts Stadium attendance record, drawing 35,127 to the Chippewas meeting with Michigan State.
SEASON OPENER MARKS FIRSTS
• The 2013 season opener versus Michigan was marked by firsts for numerous CMU players.
• Four players earned their first career starts – quarterback Cody Kater, guard Cody Pettit, cornerback Brandon Greer and defensive end Jeremy Gainer.
• Nine other Chippewas made their collegiate debuts – quarterback Alex Niznak, kicker Ron Coluzzi, defensive backs Tony Annese and Anthony Scarcelli, running back Martez Walker, linebackers Nathan Ricketts and Joe Ostman, defensive tackle Kelby Latta and wide receiver Anthony Rice.
• Ostman was the lone true freshman to appear in the season opener.
KATER ORIGINALLY EARNED STARTING QB JOB
• CMU head coach Dan Enos announced on August 21 that junior Cody Kater will start at quarterback for the Chippewas in the 2013 season opener versus Michigan.
• Kater vied with redshirt sophomore Alex Niznak and redshirt freshman Cooper Rush throughout training camp for the starting spot.
• Kater was lost early in 2013 opener at Michigan, breaking his collarbone, but could potentially return later this season.
• Kater transferred to CMU from Grand Rapids Community College, where he guided the Raiders to a perfect 11-0 record in 2011, directing an offense that averaged 50 points and 509 yards per game.
• A native of Montague, Mich., Kater led the MHS Wildcats to back-to-back state championships and a combined record of 27-1 in 2008 and 2009.
• A two-time all-state, all-area and all-conference selection at quarterback, he was named the Associated Press Division 5-6 Player of the Year as a senior.
• Kater was ranked No. 11 on the Detroit News Blue Chip list and No. 14 on the Detroit Free Press Fab 50 following his senior season.
YOUTH SERVING AT QUARTERBACK
• Central Michigan was just one of 11 teams in the nation to enter the 2013 season with no quarterbacks on its roster that have started an FBS game.
• Junior Cody Kater redshirted while at Cincinnati in 2010, started every game at the junior college level in 2011 and saw action in two games for CMU in 2012 but Saturday’s clash with Michigan was his first career Division I start.
• Redshirt sophomore Alex Niznak appeared in relief of Kater versus Michigan and started versus New Hampshire.
• Redshirt freshman Cooper Rush made his first career appearance against UNH, throwing for 326 yards and three touchdowns.
• The other FBS programs that entered 2013 with zero career QB starts on their rosters are Baylor, California, Florida State, Georgia Tech, Iowa, Louisiana Tech, Penn State, Syracuse, Texas Tech and Virginia.
FOUR TO SERVE AS TEAM CAPTAINS IN 2013
• Senior running back Zurlon Tipton, junior guard Andy Phillips, senior linebacker Shamari Benton and senior safety Avery Cunningham will serve as team captains for the 2013, as elected by their fellow players.
• Tipton, who rushed for 1,492 yards and 19 touchdowns in 2012, earning Second Team All-MAC honors, was a Maxwell and Doak Walker Award candidate.
• Phillips, a junior who has started 18 games straight, will help anchor a stout and veteran CMU offensive line.
• Named the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl Lineman of the Game, Benton finished second on the team with 126 tackles in 2012 and led CMU with two fumble recoveries. • Cunningham, who has the nation’s third-longest start streak among safeties at 33 consecutive, totaled 88 tackles, two sacks, two interceptions, two forced fumbles and one blocked kick a year ago.
CMU ADDS MSU TRANSFER GAINER
• In late June, the Central Michigan football program announced the addition of former Michigan State defensive end Jeremy Gainer to its roster for the 2013 season.
• A two-year letterwinner, Gainer finished his MSU career
with 13 tackles in 28 career games.
• In 2011, the Detroit native appeared in all 14 games, recording 11 tackles and two fumbles.
• Gainer made the switch to defensive end prior to the 2012 season, seeing action in all 13 games.
• Gainer graduated from Michigan State with a degree in hospitality business and will have one year of eligibility remaining.
• He was a two-time Academic All-Big Ten honoree for the Spartans.
• Gainer has started the first two games of the season, totaling seven tackles and one sack.
• Three players have changed numbers from last season: junior wide receiver Courtney Williams (#25 to #85), redshirt junior defensive back Denzel Wimberly (#18 to
#20) and sophomore defensive back Kavon Frazier (#38
• After spending the spring at quarterback, senior A.J. Westendorp has moved back to tight end, where he played most of the 2012 season
• Redshirt freshman Maurice Shoemaker-Gilmore made a similar move, switching back to running back after practicing at defensive back in the spring.
CMU’S ROSTER IS HOME GROWN
• Central Michigan’s current roster contains 69 players who hail from the state of Michigan, which equates to 67 percent of the Chippewas’ roster.
• Michigan State ranks second with 49 followed by Michigan (41), Eastern Michigan (38), and Western Michigan (27).
• In 2012, CMU’s roster featured 66 Michiganders, ranking ahead of Michigan State (52), Michigan (46), Eastern Michigan (29) and Western Michigan (29).
ENOS IN EXCLUSIVE CLUB
• Dan Enos is just one of four active Division I coaches to win a bowl game both as a starting quarterback and a head coach.
• As a player, Enos quarterbacked Michigan State to back-to-back bowl victories, a 33-13 win over Hawaii in the 1989 Aloha Bowl and a 17-16 win over Southern California in the 1990 John Hancock Bowl.
• In 2012, he led the Chippewas to the program’s third ever bowl win, a 24-21 victory over Western Kentucky in the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl.
• Steve Spurrier (South Carolina), Steve Sarkisian (Washington), and Mike Gundy (Oklahoma State) have also accomplished the feat.
THREE ADDITIONS TO COACHING STAFF
• George Ricumstrict, a former All-MAC linebacker and assistant coach at Central Michigan from 2000-03, has returned to Mount Pleasant to coach the Chippewas’ defensive line.
• Gino Guidugli, who served as a graduate assistant at CMU from 2009-11, was brought back on staff to lead the running back corps.
• Head coach Dan Enos also hired Archie Collins, a former defensive graduate assistant at Michigan State, in the offseason, adding him to his staff to coach the cornerbacks.
MAC PRESEASON POLL
• Central Michigan was chosen by a select group of media members that cover the conference to finish fourth in the West Division in the annual MAC Preseason Poll.
• CMU received one vote to capture the West Division and one vote to win the conference championship game.
• Northern Illinois was selected to win the West while Toledo was picked to place second and Ball State third.
• Ohio, which CMU will face on October 12 in Athens, was voted the favorite to capture the East Division title followed by Kent State and Bowling Green.
CMU ON NATIONAL TV
• To date, seven Central Michigan football games are scheduled to be broadcast nationally in 2013.
• The Chippewas will appear on the ESPN family of networks five times this season, including an ESPN2 clash with Ball State on Wednesday, Nov. 6.
• Since the start of the 2007 season, CMU is 23-20 in 43 appearances on the ESPN family of networks (ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, ESPN Plus, ESPN Regional, ESPN3), including the win over Western Kentucky in the 2012 Little Caesars Pizza Bowl on its flagship station.
• CMU faced Michigan on the Big Ten Network in the season opener and will play UNLV on the Mountain West Network.
• CMU is 2-3 all-time on the BTN, topping Indiana, 37-34, in 2008 and Iowa, 32-31, in 2012 while falling to Purdue (32-25) in 2008, Northwestern (30-25) in 2010, and Michigan (59-9) in 2013.
MAC ANNOUNCES CREATION OF CAMELLIA BOWL
• The Mid-American Conference announced in August the creation of the Camellia Bowl, a newly established bowl game to begin in 2014, which will be based in Montgomery, Ala. and owned and operated by ESPN.
• The Camellia Bowl will feature a MAC bowl eligible football program to face a member of the Sun Belt Conference for the next six consecutive football seasons (2014-2019) in a pre-Christmas game televised nationally by ESPN or ESPN2.
• The Camellia Bowl will be played in the Cramton Bowl, a 25,000-seat stadium that has undergone significant renovations over the last several years, including a new press box facility, locker rooms and VIP hospitality accommodations.
• Central Michigan has some prominent history associated with a bowl bearing the same name. CMU won the 1974 Camellia Bowl, earning the program the Division II national championship.
• Then based in Sacramento, Calif., the Chippewas trounced Delaware, 54-14, to bring the title to Mount Pleasant.
CHIPPEWAS IN THE NFL
• Eight former Chippewas currently reside on NFL rosters.
• Eric Fisher, the No. 1 pick in the 2013 NFL Draft, along with linebacker Frank Zombo, a former Super Bowl champion with the Green Bay Packers, are members of the Kansas City Chiefs.
• Offensive tackle Joe Staley, a 2011 Pro Bowler and CMU’s first-ever first round draft choice, played in Super Bowl XVVII as a member of the San Francisco 49ers.
• Antonio Brown serves as the No. 1 receiver for the Pittsburgh Steelers and is quarterback Ben Roethlisberger’s top target.
• Former Super Bowl champion Cullen Jenkins is a starter at defensive tackle for the New York Giants.
• Linebacker Nick Bellore is a key special teams player for the New York Jets and was on the 2012 Pro Bowl ballot.
• Safety Jahleel Addae, a three-time All-MAC selection, made the San Diego Chargers’ 53-man roster as an undrafted rookie free agent and has earned playing time in their nickel package and on special teams.
• Josh Gordy, who has also played for the St. Louis Rams and Green Bay Packers, is a reserve cornerback for the Indianapolis Colts.