Courtesy: CMU Athletic Communications
Chippewas Turn Up the Heat with Spirited Scrimmage
MOUNT PLEASANT, Mich. – With two weeks of training camp in the books and with the season opener versus Michigan looming exactly two weeks away, the Central Michigan football team took part in its second scrimmage of the preseason on Saturday afternoon in Kelly/Shorts Stadium. Played under clear blue skies and a blazing August summer sun, potent offense and stout defense each had its turn at taking center stage during the instraquad scrimmage.   

“There was a lot of good today,” said CMU head coach Dan Enos. “I thought we tackled very well on defense, and that was an emphasis we had going into the scrimmage. I thought, offensively, we started slow but we had some guys make some big plays. I was pleased with the play of our first offensive line and I thought our quarterbacks played very well.”

The offense scored three touchdowns on the day. Following long pass completions to receiver Defarrel Davis and tight end Ben McCord, Cody Kater capped off a drive with a 23-yard scoring strike to receiver Andrew Flory. Quarterback Alex Niznak followed suit, connecting with receiver Anthony Rice with a 38-yard touchdown pass. The offense scored again late in the scrimmage, after a lengthy pass completion to tight end Connor Odykirk, running back Maurice Shoemaker-Gilmore plunged in from two yards out. But the offensive play of the day came from receiver Jesse Kroll, who velcroed in a one-handed, diving grab for a short gain.

Numerous stops, several batted balls and interceptions by linebacker Jadon Cook, cornerback Dennis Nalor, and walk-on defensive back Lavelle Walker highlighted the defense’s effort. Cook and Nalor won battles for the ball to pick off their passes while Walker grabbed his interception off a tipped pass.

Two players who made an impact at today’s scrimmage and throughout camp are newcomers Jeremy Gainer and Matt Cotiguala. Each has quickly become acclimated to life at CMU and is making in-roads on the depth chart as a result of standout play.

Gainer, a transfer from Michigan State, is pushing hard for a starting spot at defensive end.

“Jeremy has been outstanding,” said Enos. “He came in thus summer and fit in since the first day he got here. He is a worker and you can really tell he is very comfortable this last week, week-and-a-half because he is playing a lot faster. He is very explosive. He has long arms and plays with good leverage. He has been a great addition to our team, not just on the field but off as well because he is an outstanding person.”

Cotiguala, who came to CMU from the College of DuPage, a junior college in Illinois, via Illinois State, nailed two 30-plus yard field goals during the scrimmage, continuing his impressive showing over the last two weeks.

“Matt is a guy we brought in, really to back-up Richie (Hogan) as a punter and try to get him ready for the future, planning ahead for when Richie leaves. Richie has been very solid but Matt has been very, very good with the place kicking duties. He has been pushing Ron (Coluzzi). He is another guy who is an outstanding student and a great person.”

CMU has Sunday off and will have meetings and special teams walk-throughs on Monday. The Chippewas will be back on the practice field on Tuesday and will practice once each day Wednesday through Saturday. will continue to provide regular coverage throughout preseason training camp. Fans can also keep up-to-date on preseason camp news and information through the official Twitter account of the Central Michigan football program, @CMU_Football.