CMU News and Notes
SETTING THE SCENE
• Central Michigan will finish out its 2013 non-conference schedule on Saturday when it visits Raleigh, N.C. to face ACC foe North Carolina State at the Wolfpack’s Carter-Finley Stadium.
• The contest, which is the first of a three-game road swing for the Chippewas, is scheduled for a 3:34 p.m. ET kickoff and will be broadcast on ESPN3 with John Sadak (play-by-play) and Al Groh (analyst) calling the action.
• The AFCA will hold its sixth annual Coach to Cure MD effort this weekend with more than 110 FBS schools wearing a Coach to Cure MD patch to raise awareness and funding for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy research.
CENTRAL MICHIGAN-NORTH CAROLINA STATE SERIES
• Central Michigan is 0-1 in its all-time series with North Carolina State, falling to the Wolfpack, 38-24, in Raleigh in 2011.
• The Chippewas had a 17-14 lead in the second quarter but were outscored 24-7 over the remaining two-plus quarters.
• CMU is 0-8 versus current ACC opponents in program history, also dropping decisions to Boston College (0-3), Clemson (0-1), Syracuse (0-1), Virginia (0-1) and Virginia Tech (0-1).
• While Saturday’s meeting will be just the second-ever meeting between the programs, CMU is familiar with the North Carolina State coaching staff.
• Wolfpack head coach Dave Doeren and several members of his coaching staff were formerly at MAC member Northern Illinois.
• The Chippewas handed the Huskies their last conference defeat, a 48-41 CMU victory in Mount Pleasant in 2011, but fell to NIU, 55-24, in 2012.
• At least two CMU players have made their first career starts in each of the first four games of the 2013 season.
• CMU is just one of two FBS teams (Nevada) to start three different quarterbacks through the first four weeks of the 2013 season.
• Junior receiver Titus Davis is ranked No. 2 in the nation among active players with a career 19.4 yards per reception average and No. 7 with a career 72.0 yards per game average.
• Linebacker Justin Cherocci ranks No. 1 in the MAC and third in the NCAA with 46 total tackles while safety Avery Cunningham tops the conference with 25 solo stops.
• With four road games in the span of five weeks, including visits to Nevada, North Carolina and two trips to Ohio, CMU will log over 5,800 travel miles.
LAST TIME OUT
• Sophomore running back Saylor Lavallii rushed for a career-high 144 yards but CMU could not overcome four turnovers and dropped its 2013 MAC opener to Toledo, 38-17.
• Redshirt freshman quarterback Cooper Rush threw for 214 yards with one touchdown, a 19-yard scoring connection with senior tight end Connor Odykirk, and two interceptions.
• Junior receiver Titus Davis caught five passes for 76 yards, moving him into eighth place in the CMU record book with 2,015 career yards.
• Junior linebacker Justin Cherocci tied a career high with 15 tackles.
NEXT UP FOR THE CHIPPEWAS
• Central Michigan will return to MAC play next weekend, traveling to Oxford, Ohio to face Miami on Saturday, Oct. 5.
• The conference contest is scheduled for a 1p.m. kickoff and will be broadcast by ESPN3.
• CMU holds an 11-12-1 record versus the RedHawks in the all-time series.
• The Chippewas have won three of the last four meetings, including a 30-16 victory in Mount Pleasant on Senior Day in 2012.
COACH TO CURE MD WEEKEND
• The AFCA will hold its sixth annual Coach to Cure MD effort this weekend with more than 110 FBS schools wearing a Coach to Cure MD patch to raise awareness and funding for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy research.
• The Coach to Cure MD program has surpassed the million dollar mark for donations.
• The goal is to raise money and awareness of Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, which is the most common fatal genetic disorder among boys worldwide.
• Fans can text the word CURE to 90999 to donate $5 to Duchenne MD research (The charge will be shown on their phone bill).
• Fans are also encouraged to make donations on www.CoachtoCureMD.org
• The program is a partnership between Parent Project Muscular Dystrophy and the American Football Coaches Association.
SCOUTING NORTH CAROLINA STATE
• After opening the season with wins over Louisiana Tech (40-14) and FCS opponent Richmond (23-21), North Carolina State fell to No. 3 Clemson at home last weekend, 26-14, in the Wolfpack’s ACC opener.
• Junior quarterback Pete Thomas, a transfer from Colorado State, triggers the NC State offense.
• Ranked fourth in the ACC in total offense, Thomas has completed 62.8 percent of his passes for 662 yards with no touchdowns and four interceptions.
• Thomas’ top two targets in the passing game thus far this season have been senior receiver Rashard Smith (17-196) and freshman receiver Marquez Valdes-Scantling (14-201).
• Freshman running back Matt Dayes is the Wolfpack’s leading ground gainer, totaling 143 yards on 37 carries (3.9 avg.) and three touchdowns.
• Senior middle linebacker Robert Caldwell, the ACC’s leading tackler with 30 stops (12 solos), headlines the NC State defense.
• Six different members of the Wolfpack defense have recorded sacks in 2013, led by junior defensive end Art Norman’s 2.0.
• NC State has yet to intercept a pass this season but has forced six fumbles.
DAVIS’ STAR CONTINUES TO RISE
• Junior receiver Titus Davis is off to fast start to the 2013 campaign, proving again why he deserves consideration among the nation’s top pass-catching threats.
• One week after torching New Hampshire for 184 yards and two touchdowns, junior receiver Titus Davis caught eight balls for 116 yards and one score against UNLV.
• Davis is ranked third in the MAC in receiving yards per game (101.2) and ninth nationally in receiving yards (404).
• With 19 career touchdowns, Davis is tied with John DeBoer (1982-85) and Reggie Allen (1995-98) for third all-time in the CMU record book.
• With 2,015 career yards, the Biletnikoff Award preseason nominee ranks eighth all-time among Chippewa receivers.
• Davis is ranked No. 2 in the nation among active players with a career 19.4 yards per reception average and No. 7 with a career 72.0 yards per game average.
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 third in the MAC in punting and 21st nationally, averaging 44.1 yards per kick, and owns the second-longest punt in the conference thus far this season, a 67-yarder in the opener at Michigan.
• Coluzzi is perfect on the season, going 5-for-5 on field goals and 8-for-8 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.
• Versus Toledo, Coluzzi connected on a career-long 40-yard field goal.
RUSH AT THE HELM OF CMU OFFENSE
• Redshirt freshman quarterback Cooper Rush has taken the reins of the CMU offense, starting the last two games.
• He made his first career start in week three at UNLV, throwing for 265 yards and one touchdown with two interceptions.
• Rush saw his first collegiate action in week two in the home opener 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.
• Rush ranks second in the MAC in passing yards per game, averaging 268.3.
• 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.
INJURY BUG BITES
• 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.
• Senior left tackle Jake Olson was lost for the season after breaking his wrist late in the win over New Hamphire.
• Olson was named preseason First Team All-MAC by Phil Steele and second team by Athlon Sports.
LAVALLII ENTRENCHED AT RUNNING BACK
• With the injury to Zurlon Tipton in the season opener, 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.
• Versus UNLV, he notched his first career two-touchdown game, scoring on a pair of three-yard runs.
• Lavallii re-wrote his personal record book against Toledo, setting career highs in carries (24) and rushing yards (144).
• 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 655 career yards, and redshirt freshmen Martez Walker and Maurice Shoemaker-Gilmore have also earned playing time in relief of Lavallii.
TRIO LEADS THE CMU DEFENSE
• Linebackers Justin Cherocci and Shamari Benton and safety Avery Cunningham have once again established themselves as cornerstones of the CMU defense in 2013.
• Cherocci, a junior, leads the MAC and ranks fourth nationally in total tackles (46).
• 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 tied for the team lead with 11 tackles at UNLV, including 2.5 for a loss, and tied a career high with 15 stops versus Toledo.
• 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.
• Benton, a senior, ranks second on CMU and third in the MAC with 39 tackles, including 5.0 for a loss.
• He has recorded three straight double-digit tackle efforts versus UNH (12), UNLV (11) and Toledo (10).
• 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.
• Cunningham, who has 36 total tackles thus far in 2013, leads the MAC with 25 solo stops.
• Versus UNLV, he recorded a game high nine solo stops.
• 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.
• Cunningham’s consecutive games started streak of 35 ranks third in the nation among active Division I safeties.
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.
FIRST CAREER STARTS
• At least two Chippewas have made their first career starts through each of the 2013 season’s first four games, including three quarterbacks.
• In the season opener versus Michigan, four players earned their first career starts – quarterback Cody Kater, guard Cody Pettit, cornerback Brandon Greer and defensive end Jeremy Gainer.
• Against UNH, quarterback Alex Niznak, running back Saylor Lavallii and defensive end Louis Palmer made their first appearance in the starting line-up.
• Quarterback Cooper Rush (UNLV), offensive tackle Ramadan Ahmeti (UNLV), guard Connor Collins (Toledo) and defensive tackle Kelby Latta (Toledo) have also received their first starting nods through the first quarter of the 2013 campaign.
KATER ORIGINALLY EARNED STARTING QB JOB
• CMU head coach Dan Enos announced in later August 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, and made his first career start at UNLV.
• 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.
2013 CMU TEAM CAPTAINS
• 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 21 games straight, will help anchor the CMU offensive line.
• Named the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl Lineman of the Game, Benton ranks second on the team with 39 total tackles.
• Cunningham, who has the nation’s third-longest start streak among safeties at 35 consecutive, leads the MAC in solo tackles with 25.
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.
• Gainer’s impact has been felt immediately in 2013, as he has started the first four games of the season at left defensive end and leads all defensive linemen with 20 total tackles, 4.0 tackles for loss and 2.0 sacks.
• 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.
• 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.
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, nine Central Michigan football games are scheduled to be broadcast nationally in 2013.
• The Chippewas will appear on the ESPN family of networks seven times this season, including an ESPN2 clash with Ball State on Wednesday, Nov. 6.
• Since the start of the 2007 season, CMU is 23-21 in 44 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 played UNLV on the Mountain West Network/Campus Insiders.
• 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.
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.
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.
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.