CMU News and Notes
SETTING THE SCENE
• Central Michigan will kick off its 2013 home schedule on Saturday, Sept. 7 when it hosts FCS opponent New Hampshire in a 3 p.m. contest in Kelly/Shorts Stadium.
• The game will be streamed live on ESPN3 with Wayne Randazzo (play-by-play) and Dustin Fox (analyst) calling the action.
• CMU is opening its home schedule versus an FCS foe for the fourth consecutive season.
• CMU is 3-0 under head coach Dan Enos against FCS opponents, defeating Hampton (33-0), South Carolina State (21-6) and Southeast Missouri State (38-27).
CENTRAL MICHIGAN-NEW HAMPSHIRE SERIES
• Saturday’s contest will be just the second-ever meeting between Central Michigan and New Hampshire.
• CMU owns a 1-0 advantage in the series, defeating the Wildcats, 40-33, in 2003 in Mount Pleasant.
• This year, as in 2003, the Chippewas will face UNH at home in the second week of the season after playing Michigan in Ann Arbor in week one.
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.
COLUZZI STARTS ON RIGHT FOOT
• Redshirt freshman kicker Ron Coluzzi had a successful collegiate debut in the season opener versus Michigan, going 3-for-3 on field goal attempts.
• Coluzzi accounted for all nine of CMU’s points, kicking field goals of 23, 27 and 33 yards.
• For his efforts, Coluzzi earned Placekicker Performer of the Week honorable mention recognition by College Football Performance Awards.
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.
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.
NIZNAK AND LAVALLII STEP INTO STARTING ROLES
• With the injury to Cody Kater, redshirt sophomore Alex Niznak will move into the starting role at quarterback for CMU.
• Replacing Kater in the first quarter versus Michigan, Niznak completed 11-of-22 passes for 131 yards with one interception in his first collegiate action.
• Niznak redshirted in 2011, receiving the Offensive Scout Team Player of the Year Award, and served as CMU’s No. 3 quarterback in 2012.
• A native of nearby Ithaca, Mich., he led Ithaca HS to a state title in 2010, throwing for 2,731 yards and 31 touchdowns and rushing for 1,161 yards and 21 scores as a senior.
• Niznak was ranked No. 10 on Detroit Free Press Fab 50 and No. 12 on Detroit News Blue Chip list coming out of high school.
• Sophomore running back Saylor Lavallii will get the majority of carries in the CMU run game, replacing Tipton.
• Versus Michigan, Lavallii averaged 5.2 yards per rush (10-52) after coming into the game in the first quarter.
• 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.
SCOUTING NEW HAMPSHIRE
• New Hampshire, the 2012 CAA co-champions, was ranked No. 8 in the preseason FCS coaches’ poll but dropped to No. 11 in The Sports Network FCS Top 25 College Football poll, despite not playing in week one.
• The Wildcats have strung together nine straight NCAA Division I Football Championship postseason appearances, the nation’s longest active streak, and have been ranked in the top 25 for a nation-leading 126 consecutive polls, a stretch that dates back to Sept. 13, 2004.
• On offense, the Wildcats return eight starters from a unit that averaged 34-plus points and over 451 yards per game in 2012.
• Sophomore Andy Vailas, who was recently named the starter at quarterback, threw 18 touchdown passes with only three interceptions last season and was also UNH’s third leading rusher.
• Junior running back Nico Steriti is back after headlining the nation’s No. 15 rushing attack a year ago, totaling 921 yards and nine touchdowns.
• Junior R.J. Harris, who had 84 receptions for 1,059 yards and nine touchdowns, is Vailas’ top target in the passing game.
• Defensive backs Manny Asam (76 tackles) and Chris Houston (2 INTs) and defensive linemen Matt Kaplan (3 sacks) and Cody Muller (2 FR, 2 FF) key the UNH defense.
DEFENSE RETURNS LEADING TACKLERS
• The Chippewas’ defense returns three of its top tacklers from 2012 in linebackers Justin Cherocci and Shamari Benton and safety Avery Cunningham.
• 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 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 on a high note, 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.
• A two-year starter, Cunningham will provide CMU with a veteran presence in the defensive secondary in 2013.
• 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 32 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 17 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 27 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.
• Slotted to start at right tackle is Kevin Henry.
• 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.
DAVIS A TOP OFFENSIVE WEAPON
• CMU returns a premier offensive weapon for the 2013 season in junior wide receiver Titus Davis.
• In 2012, Davis continued to emerge as one the nation’s most dangerous offensive threats.
• He 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.
• With 16 career touchdowns, Davis ranks tied for sixth in the CMU record book.
• A Second Team All-MAC selection in 2012, Davis has been named to the 2013 Biletnikoff Award Watch List.
KATER NAMED STARTER AT QB
• 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.
• Last season, in spot duty of 3,000-yard passer Ryan Radcliff, Kater completed 2-of-4 passes for 12 yards, appearing in games versus Northern Illinois and Navy.
• 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 while redshirt freshman Cooper Rush has yet to appear in a game at Central Michigan.
• 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 32 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 made his CMU debut in the season opener versus Michigan, starting at defensive end, recording one solo tackle.
• 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 to #5)
• 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 22-20 in 42 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
• With the start of the regular season this weekend, eight former Chippewas currently reside on NFL rosters.
• Eric Fisher, the No. 1 pick in the 2013 NFL Draft, along with linebacker Frank Zombo, 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.
• Receiver Antonio Brown serves as the No. 1 receiver for the Pittsburgh Steelers and is quarterback Ben Roethlisberger’s top target.
• Linebacker Nick Bellore is a key special teams player for the New York Jets and was on the Pro Bowl ballot • Safety Jahleel Addae made the San Diego Chargers’ 53-man roster as an undrafted rookie free agent.
• Also on NFL rosters are former Super Bowl champion defensive lineman Cullen Jenkins (New York Giants) and cornerback Josh Gordy (Indianapolis Colts).
CMU ATHLETICS LAUNCHES NEW SIDELINERS FORMAT
• A CMU Athletics tradition is getting a new look in 2013 with the launch of CMU Sideliners every Thursday, beginning August 29, at O’Kelly’s Sports Bar & Grille.
• Beginning at 5:15 p.m., guests will have the opportunity to interact personally with CMU Head Football Coach Dan Enos, his staff and student-athletes as well as other CMU coaches and student-athletes in an informal setting.
• Then, at 5:45 p.m., Coach Enos will provide fans an insider’s perspective as he reviews actual game film that the Chippewas use to prepare for the week ahead.
• Starting at 6 p.m., Coach Enos will join the voice of CMU Football Don Chiodo for the live broadcast portion of CMU Sideliners on the Fabiano Brothers Central Michigan IMG Sports Network.
• Chippewa fans will also hear from CMU student-athletes and other CMU coaches throughout the fall.
• Through personal features, interviews and a question and answer session with audience members in attendance and all over the world via social media, fans will get a more complete look into the making of a Championship Culture both on and off the field.
• CMU Sideliners will continue through the winter featuring coaches and student-athletes from our winter sports programs.
• Fans arriving before 6 p.m. will also be entered into that week’s drawing for great prizes such as: sideline passes, game tickets, courtside seats, exclusive CMU Adidas apparel and much more.
• O’Kelly’s will also be offering a number of food and beverage specials including the all-new “Chippewa Legends Burger Menu” exclusively for CMU Sideliners.
CMU INTRODUCES TOUCHDOWN TERRACE
• In the spirit of providing Chippewa fans the best game-day experience in the Mid-American Conference, the Chippewa Athletic Fund is proud to announce a new hospitality area inside Kelly/Shorts Stadium in 2013—the CAF Touchdown Terrace.
• The CAF Touchdown Terrace, located just inside the northwest gates, will be a hub of excitement for Chippewa fans from the build up to kick off until the start of the fourth quarter.
• One of the CAF’s most popular game day benefits, the pre-game tailgate, will move off of “The Island” and on to Touchdown Terrace in 2013.
• Admission is $12 for adults and $7 for children 12 and under and includes a buffet provided by Max & Emily’s and two drink tickets.
• A cash bar is available for guests who would like to purchase additional drinks.
• The CAF tailgate begins four hours prior to kickoff and guests may enter at the Touchdown Terrace entrance on the northwest end of Kelly/Shorts Stadium.
• Starting with the game’s opening kick, the CAF Touchdown Terrace will open as a hospitality area exclusive to Chippewa Athletic Fund members and one guest.
• Members are strongly encouraged to present their 2013/14 membership cards to staff at the Touchdown Terrace entrance inside of Kelly/Shorts.
• The CAF Touchdown Terrace will feature three TVs, a cash bar, snacks and at halftime, complimentary appetizers provided by Max & Emily’s. Touchdown Terrace will close starting at the beginning of the fourth quarter.