Friday, November 29 • 2:04 p.m. ET
Internet: ESPN3 - Mike Couzens (play-by-play) and Bob Chmiel (color analyst)
Live Stats: CMUChippewas.com
Radio: Central Michigan IMG Sports Network - Don Chiodo (play-by-play), Brock Gutierrez (analyst) and (reporter)
Central Michigan | Eastern Michigan
CMU News and Notes
SETTING THE SCENE
• Central Michigan (5-6, 4-3) will close out the 2013 regular season on Friday when it hosts in-state rival Eastern Michigan (2-9, 1-6) at Kelly/Shorts Stadium.
• The MAC West divisional contest is scheduled for a 2:04 p.m. kick off and will be streamed online by ESPN3 with Mike Couzens (play-by-play) and Bob Chmiel (color analyst) calling the action.
• After defeating Western Michigan two weeks ago in Kalamazoo, CMU is aiming to recapture the Michigan MAC Trophy with a victory over EMU.
• CMU will celebrate Senior Day on Friday, with 20 seniors to be honored in a special pregame ceremony.
• Central Michigan is 2-2 at home this season while Eastern Michigan is 0-6 on the road.
• Central Michigan has met Eastern Michigan 90 times in program history, with the Chippewas holding a 56-28-6 all-time series record.
• The Chippewas have more wins against the Eagles than any other MAC opponent.
• CMU has taken three of the last four meetings with EMU, including last season’s 34-31 win in Ypsilanti.
• CMU posted its largest margin of victory of the Dan Enos era on September 18, 2010 when the Chippewas downed Eastern, 52-14, in Ypsilanti.
• Central claimed one of its biggest wins in program history versus Eastern Michigan, defeating the Hurons, 37-14, on November 10, 1979 to clinch its first ever MAC title.
• On October 10, 1998, CMU won the program’s first ever overtime game, downing Eastern, 36-23.
CMU CELEBRATES SENIOR DAY
• Central Michigan football will celebrate Senior Day on Friday, with 20 players set to make their final appearance in the Maroon and Gold at Kelly/Shorts Stadium.
• The senior class will be recognized for their contributions to the program prior to the game.
• Seniors being honored are: linebacker Shamari Benton, safety Avery Cunningham, wide receiver Defarrel Davis, fullback Adam Fenton, kicker Connor Gagnon, defensive end Jeremy Gainer, wide receiver Jerry Harris, punter Richie Hogan, fullback Tyler Lombardo, fullback Ben Masztak, defensive end Kenny McClendon, offensive lineman Andrew Nowak, tight end Connor Odykirk, offensive lineman Jake Olson, offensive lineman Cody Pettit, defensive end Alex Smith, running back Zurlon Tipton, defensive back Lavelle Walker, tight end A.J. Westendorp and linebacker Kyle Zelinsky.
CMU OFFENSIVE NOTEBOOK
• CMU scored a season-high 37 points in last week’s win over UMass.
• Despite cold and windy conditions, redshirt freshman quarterback Cooper Rush average 17.8 yards per completion against UMass.
• With 30 for his career, senior running back Zurlon Tipton needs one rushing touchdown to earn a share of sixth place (Brian Pruitt, 1992-94) in the CMU record book.
• In three games since his return to the line-up, Titpon has scored four rushing touchdowns.
• Seven different players have caught at least one pass this season while 10 have rushed the ball at least once, including five different running backs.
• Junior wide receiver Davis has had at least one reception in every game in which he has played at CMU, a streak of 34 contests, and has two 90-plus yard touchdown receptions for his career.
• Davis has more touchdown receptions (8) than the rest of the team combined (7).
• Junior left guard Andy Phillips and redshirt sophomore center Nick Beamish have been mainstays up in the middle on the CMU offensive line the past two seasons, starting each of the last 24 games.
• Senior tight end Connor Odykirk ranks second on the team in yards per catch, averaging 14.3 (10 or more receptions).
CMU DEFENSIVE NOTEBOOK
• CMU earned its second shutout under Dan Enos last weekend versus UMass; the first came in his debut as Central Michigan head coach, a 33-0 win over Hampton on September 2, 2010.
• CMU’s four forced turnovers (3 interceptions, 1 fumble) versus UMass was a season high.
• CMU has had three defensive players win MAC Player of the Week this season (Kavon Frazier, Tony Annese and Blake Serpa).
• CMU linebackers Justin Cherocci and Shamari Benton have combined for 475 tackles over the last 24 games, an average of nearly 20 tackles per game (19.8).
• Cherocci leads CMU with 4.0 sacks despite not having any in the 23 games in which he played prior to this season.
• Sophomore safety Kavon Frazier leads CMU with five pass-break ups and has been involved in a team-high five turnovers this season (3 INT, 1 FF, 1 FR).
• Senior linebacker Shamari Benton ranks first among all active CMU players with 303 career total tackles and 16.5 tackles for loss.
• Senior safety Avery Cunningham owns the nation’s second longest start streak among safeties at 42 consecutive.
• Redshirt freshman safety Tony Annese has recorded a 34-yard interception return for a touchdown in back-to-back-games.
• Seven different Chippewas have recorded an interception this season while a total of 12 have notched at least a half-sack.
CMU SPECIAL TEAMS NOTEBOOK
• Senior punter Richie Hogan ranks second in the MAC with a 44.4 yards per kick average and owns the conference’s second (77 vs. Ball State) and third longest (67 vs. Michigan) punts this season.
• CMU leads the MAC in kickoff returns, averaging 22.5 yards per run back, despite a season long of just 54 yards.
LAST TIME OUT
• Titus Davis caught seven passes for 154 yards and two touchdowns while the CMU defense forced four turnovers en route to its first shutout of a MAC opponent since 1996 in last weekend’s 37-0 blanking of UMass.
• Davis’ 100-yard effort was his sixth of the season and 11th of his career and he recorded two scores in a game for the seventh time as a Chippewa.
• Tony Annese returned an interception for a touchdown for the second consecutive week, racing 34 yards for the score.
• Jason Wilson notched his fifth career interception, the most among active CMU players.
• Brandon Greer and Blake Serpa also forced turnovers.
• Justin Cherocci led a CMU defense that surrendered just 173 yards, recording 11 tackles.
• The 37-point margin of victory was the second highest of the Dan Enos era, with the largest coming on September 18, 2010 when CMU defeated Eastern Michigan, 52-14, in Ypsilanti.
SERPA AND HOGAN EARN MAC HONORS
• Sophomore defensive end Blake Serpa and senior punter Richie Hogan were recognized with MAC Player of the Week honors for their standout individual performances in Central Michigan’s 37-0 win over UMass last weekend.
• Serpa was named defensive player of the week while Hogan earned special teams accolades.
• In his first career start, Serpa played a pivotal role in Central Michigan’s first shutout against a MAC opponent since 1996.
• The Sugar Grove, Ill. native recorded a career-high nine tackles, including 3.0 for a loss.
• He notched CMU’s lone sack of the day, dropping Minutemen quarterback A.J. Doyle for a six-yard loss late in the third quarter.
• Serpa also forced one of Central’s four turnovers. Early in the third quarter, he blasted UMass running back Shadrack Abrokwah on a run up in the middle, jarring the ball loose.
• Four plays later, CMU was in the end zone on a Titus Davis on a 30-yard scoring reception, upping the Chippewas’ lead to 37-0.
• Hogan was also key in CMU’s fourth MAC win of the season, forcing UMass to start three drives deep in their own territory with kicks downed at the 13-, 2-, and 14-yard lines.
• Hogan overcame windy and frigid conditions, punting three times for an average of 47.7 yards.
• A 46-yarder in the second quarter had UMass starting a drive at the 13-yard line.
• Needing to pass to get out of the hole, UMass quarterback A.J. Doyle threw an interception, which was returned 34-yards for a touchdown by safety Tony Annese.
• Hogan’s 53-yard effort, his longest of the day, which was placed at the 2-yard line, led to another score after the Chippewas’ defense forced its third turnover of the game.
TIPTON RETURNS STRONG
• Senior running back Zurlon Tipton has been productive since making a surprise return to the line-up three weeks ago.
• Tipton broke his ankle in the season opener versus Michigan and was expected to miss the entire 2013 season.
• Despite being held to 50 yards rushing versus UMass, Tipton scored his fourth touchdown in the last three games.
• In just his second game back, Tipton served as CMU’s workhorse in the run game versus Western Michigan, helping lead the Chippewas to a 27-22 victory.
• Playing with seven screws still in his surgically repaired ankle, Tipton, a team co-captain, rushed for 114 yards on 29 carries and two touchdowns.
• He helped CMU jump out to a 14-0 first quarter lead, scoring on TD runs of 10 yards and one yard.
• The 100-yard rushing game was the 10th of his career.
• With 30 rushing touchdowns for his career, Tipton ranks seventh all-time in the CMU record book.
• Tipton officially returned to the line-up versus Ball State on November 6, rushing for a one-yard score.
• Tipton attained star status in 2012, rushing for 1,492 yards and 19 touchdowns, earning Second Team All-MAC and team MVP honors.
DAVIS HEADLINES CMU RECEIVING CORPS
• Junior receiver Titus Davis is having is having his best year statistically in 2013, proving again why he deserves consideration among the nation’s top pass catchers.
• One week after torching New Hampshire for 184 yards and two touchdowns in the home opener, junior receiver Titus Davis caught eight balls for 116 yards and
one score against UNLV.
• Versus Toledo and North Carolina State, he caught a combined 10 passes for 156 yards and one touchdown.
• Against No. 23 NIU, Davis had five catches for 109 yards and one touchdown.
• In front of a national television audience against Ball State, he caught nine passes for 187 yards and one touchdown.
• By virtue of catching nine passes for 122 yards in the win over Western Michigan, his 10th-career 100-yard receiving game and fifth this season, Davis established career season highs in receptions and receiving yards.
• His 154-yard effort against UMass pushed him over the 1,000-yard barrier for the first time in his career.
• Davis is ranked No. 1 in the MAC in yards per catch (18.5)and No. 2 in receiving yards per game, averaging 109.0.
• With 2,701 career yards, the Biletnikoff Award preseason nominee ranks sixth all-time among Chippewa receivers.
• With 24 career touchdowns (8 in three consecutive seasons), Davis ranks second in the CMU record book.
• Davis continues to lead all active Division I players with a career 19.0 yards per catch average and ranks ninth in
receiving yards per game (77.2).
HOGAN HAVING STANDOUT SENIOR SEASON
• Senior punter Richie Hogan is having not only his best season as a Chippewa but is on pace to have one of the greatest in program history.
• Hogan currently boasts a 44.4 yards per punt average, which ranks second in the MAC and 11th nationally.
• If the Laguna Hills, Calif. native maintains his current pace, his season would rank No. 2 all-time in the CMU record book, behind only Art Texeira’s 44.5 average in 1948.
• Hogan has placed 16 of his kicks inside the 20-yard line and just four of his 49 punts have been touchbacks.
• He also owns the MAC second longest punt this season, a 77-yard effort versus Ball State, and third longest, a 67-yarder against Michigan.
• Hogan already appears in the CMU record book, as his 2012 season average of 41.8 ranks fourth all-time.
RUSH TRIGGERS CMU OFFENSE
• Redshirt freshman quarterback Cooper Rush has taken the reins of the CMU offense, starting the last nine games.
• 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.
• He made his first career start in week three at UNLV, throwing for 265 yards and one touchdown with two interceptions.
• On the road at MAC East Division favorite Ohio, he helped lead CMU to the 26-23 upset win, throwing for 224 yards, completing 20 passes to 10 different receivers, and three touchdowns, including the game winner with 22 seconds remaining.
• Versus No. 23 NIU, Rush tossed two first quarter touchdown passes, helping CMU jump out to a 14-7 lead.
• Against Ball State, he recorded his first career rushing touchdown, a 26-yard scamper.
• In the win over UMass, he overcame rough weather conditions to throw for two touchdowns and average 17.8 yards per completion.
• Rush currently ranks third in the MAC in passing yards per game, averaging 225.7.
• The Charlotte, Mich. native was named CMU 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.
TOP TACKLING TANDEM
• Two of CMU’s top defensive playmakers, junior linebacker Justin Cherocci and senior linebacker Shamari Benton, are again enjoying standout seasons.
• Cherocci ranks first in the MAC with 110 tackles and tops CMU with 4.0 sacks.
• Cherocci dominated versus UNH, collecting a game-high 13 tackles 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 equaled a career high with 15 stops versus Toledo.
• Versus NIU, Cherocci recorded his first career interception to go along with 11 tackles.
• Cherocci has posted six double-digit tackles games this season.
• CMU’s Co-Defensive Player of the Year in 2012, Cherocci led the team with 132 total tackles last season and was the nation’s leader in assisted tackles with 89.
• Benton ranks second in the MAC in total tackles (107) and fourth in total tackles (9.7).
• He equaled his career best in wins over Ohio and Western Michigan , racking up 14 stops.
• Benton has recorded seven double-digit tackles games this season.
• 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.
• Over the past 24 games, Cherocci and Benton have combined for 475 tackles, an average of nearly 20 tackles per game (19.8).