CMU News and Notes
SETTING THE SCENE
• Central Michigan will open the 2013 season on Saturday when it meets in-state foe No. 17 Michigan in a 3:30 p.m. non-conference clash in famed Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor.
• The game will be broadcast live on the Big Ten Network with Matt Devlin (play-by-play), Glen Mason (analyst) and Lisa Byington (sideline) calling the action.
• CMU carries over a four-game winning streak from 2012, including a season-ending 24-21 win over Western Kentucky in the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl.
• The Chippewas are facing a Big Ten opponent in a season opener for the first time since 2005 when they hosted Indiana in Mount Pleasant.
• CMU has not opened a season on the road since 2009 when it traveled to take on Arizona in Tucson.
• Central is 3-0 in season openers under head coach Dan Enos, defeating Hampton (33-0), South Carolina State (21-6) and Southeast Missouri State (38-27).
CENTRAL MICHIGAN-MICHIGAN SERIES
• Saturday’s contest will be just the fourth-ever meeting between Central Michigan and Michigan.
• Michigan owns a 3-0 advantage in the series, claiming wins in 1931 (27-0), 2003 (45-7) and 2006 (41-17).
• Both the 1931 and 2003 games were also season openers.
• All three previous games between the schools separated by 130 miles have been played in Ann Arbor.
LAST APPEARANCE ON THE BTN
• Central Michigan’s last appearance on the Big Ten Network will be remembered as one of the great games in program history.
• On September 22, 2012, the Chippewas captured the national spotlight by upsetting Iowa, 32-31, to secure the program’s fifth-ever win over a Big Ten opponent.
• CMU used a furious late-game rally to stun a capacity Kinnick Stadium crowd, scoring nine points in the final 45 seconds, capped off by a go-ahead 47-yard field goal from senior kicker David Harman in the contest’s waning moments.
• Senior quarterback Ryan Radcliff was instrumental in the win, driving the Chippewas twice for scores in the fourth quarter and completing 26-of-35 passes (74%) for 282 yards for the game.
• Sophomore receiver Titus Davis caught two touchdown passes, including a clutch 13-yarder with under a minute to play to pull CMU within two points of the Hawkeyes.
• Harman had a career day, connecting on 4-of-4 field goal attempts and executing a perfect onside kick, which CMU recovered to set the stage for his game-winning heroics.
CROWD TO BE AMONG THE LARGEST TO WATCH CMU
• Saturday’s Michigan Stadium crowd will be one the largest Central Michigan has played in front of in program history.
• With a listed capacity of 109,901, if 100 percent filled, the “Big House” crowd would be the second largest to watch a CMU game.
• The record is 110,637, set 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.
OFFENSIVE WEAPONS RELOADED F0R 2013
• CMU returns two premier offensive weapons for the 2013 season in senior running back Zurlon Tipton and junior wide receiver Titus Davis.
• Tipton had a breakout season in 2012, rushing for 1,492 yards and scoring a total of 20 touchdowns.
• He finished the season strong, recording seven straight 100-yard games to earn Second Team All-MAC honors.
• Tipton is on the 2013 Maxwell Award and Doak Walker Award Watch Lists.
• 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.
• A Second Team All-MAC selection in 2012, Davis has been named to the 2013 Biletnikoff Award Watch List.
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 31 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 to the NFL, 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 26 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 current Detroit Lion Darren Keyton held down in 2012, was unsettled entering preseason camp but has been sewn up by senior Cody Pettit.
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 is just one of 11 teams in the nation to have 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 will be his first career Division I start.
• Redshirt sophomore Alex Niznak and redshirt freshman Cooper Rush have yet to appear in a game at Central Michigan.
• The other FBS programs that enter 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.
• Michigan enters the 2013 season ranked No. 17 both in the Associated Press Poll and the USA Today Coaches Poll.
• The Wolverines are 14-0 under head coach Brady Hoke at home and have won 17 consecutive games at Michigan Stadium in the month of September.
• The U-M offense is triggered by Big Ten Player of the Year candidate and Heisman Trophy contender quarterback Devin Gardner.
• In 2012, Gardner started four games at quarterback, throwing for 1,219 yards and 11 touchdowns, and five games at wide receiver, catching 16 passes for 266 yards and four scores.
• Gardner’s top targets in the passing game are receiver Jeremy Gallon, an All-Big Ten honorable mention selection in 2012, and tight end Devin Funchess, who had five touchdown receptions a year ago.
• Fitzgerald Toussaint, who has ran for 1,692 career yards, is Michigan’s top returning rusher.
• The Michigan defense, which held tied for fifth in the nation in pass defense in 2012, is headlined by defensive end Frank Clark, linebacker Cam Gordon, and strong safety Thomas Gordon.
• U-M’s top linebacker, Jake Ryan, suffered an offseason knee injury and will not play versus CMU.
• Kicker Brendan Gibbons went 16-of-18 on field goal attempts in 2012, converting his final 13 attempts of the season.
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, is a Maxwell and Doak Walker Award candidate.
• Phillips, a junior who has started 17 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 31 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.
• 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.
CMU ON NATIONAL TV
• 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 will also face Michigan on the Big Ten Network and UNLV on the Mountain West Network.
• CMU is 2-2 on the BTN, topping Indiana, 37-34, in 2008 and Iowa, 32-31, in 2012 while falling to Purdue (32-25) in 2008 and to Northwestern in (30-25) in 2010.
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.