Saturday, October 19 • 3 p.m.
Internet: ESPN3 - Michael Reghi (play-by-play) and Jerod Cherry (color analyst)
Live Stats: CMUChippewas.com
Radio: Central Michigan IMG Sports Network - Don Chiodo (play-by-play), Brock Gutierrez (analyst) and (reporter)
CMU News and Notes
SETTING THE SCENE
• Central Michigan (3-4, 2-1) will return home for the first time in nearly a month on Saturday when it hosts defending MAC champion No. 23 Northern Illinois (6-0, 2-0) in the Chippewas’ 87th Homecoming game.
• The intradivisional contest is scheduled for a 3:04 p.m. kickoff and will be streamed online by ESPN3 with Michael Reghi (play-by-play) and Jerod Cherry (color analyst) calling the action.
• Both Central Michigan and Northern Illinois enter Saturday’s match-up riding a two-game conference win streak.
• CMU will be facing a ranked team at Kelly/Shorts Stadium for first time since meeting No. 11 Michigan State on September 8, 2012.
• The Chippewas will show their support for National Breast Cancer Awareness Month by wearing pink gloves, socks, wristbands, towels adorned with the trademark NBCAM ribbon, and helmet decals. The coaching staff will wear pink hats or visors and polo shirts.
• Saturday is also Rocket Football Day, with several local youth football teams scheduled to attend.
• Parachutists are scheduled to deliver the game ball prior to kickoff.
CENTRAL MICHIGAN-NORTHERN ILLINOIS SERIES
• Central Michigan owns a 25-22-1 record in its all-time series versus Northern Illinois.
• A year ago, in DeKalb, CMU trailed 24-21 in the third quarter but was outscored 31-3 the remainder of the game and fell, 55-24, at Huskie Stadium.
• Central Michigan is the last team to deal NIU a conference loss, downing the Huskies, 48-41, in 2011 in Mount Pleasant.
• The Chippewas have defeated Northern Illinois three -straight times at Kelly/Short Stadium.
HOMECOMING BY THE NUMBERS
• Central Michigan possesses a 55-30-1 record all-time in Homecoming games, including a 6-4 mark versus Northern Illinois.
• The Chippewas last met the Huskies on Homecoming in 2007, a 35-10 victory.
• CMU is 2-0 in Homecoming games played on October 19, defeating Northern Illinois, 52-12, in 1957 and Western Illinois, 58-7, in 1974.
• Central’s Homecoming history has included numerous streaks, most notably a 17-game undefeated stretch between 1966 and 1982.
• The Chippewas also won eight straight from 1950-1957.
CMU OFFENSIVE NOTEBOOK
• Sophomore running back Saylor Lavallii, who has played in 20 total games with six starts, enters the NIU game just 32 rushing yards shy of 1,000 for his career.
• Lavallii is ranked No. 13 in the nation in rushing yards (705) and third in rushing attempts (138).
• Junior wide receiver Titus Davis has had at least one reception in every game in which he has played at CMU, a streak of 30 contests.
• Davis has two 90-plus yard touchdown receptions for his career, including a 92-yarder versus NIU in 2012.
• Redshirt freshman Maurice Shoemaker-Gilmore Despite entered the season fourth on the running back depth chart but has totaled 140 rushing yards and two touchdowns over the past three games.
• 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 20 games.
• Junior Deon Butler, a converted wide receiver, leads all CMU tight ends with nine receptions for 91 yards while senior tight end Connor Odykirk ranks second on the team with two receiving touchdowns.
CMU DEFENSIVE NOTEBOOK
• CMU linebackers Justin Cherocci and Shamari Benton have combined for 404 tackles over the last 20 games, an average of over 20 tackles per game.
• Cherocci leads CMU with 3.0 sacks despite not having any in the 23 games in which he played prior to this season.
• Sophomore safety Kavon Frazier leads CMU with four pass-break ups and has been involved in a team-high five turnovers this season (3 INT, 1 FF, 1 FR).
• Benton ranks first among all active CMU players with 269 career total tackles while senior safety Avery Cunningham leads in solo tackles (151).
• Cunningham owns the nation’s longest start streak among safeties at 38 consecutive.
• Redshirt junior defensive tackle Leterrius Walton leads all linemen with 6.5 tackles for loss and is tied for first among active players with 12.0 for his career.
• Redshirt sophomore Louis Palmer, a tackle for his first two years at CMU, dropped 20 lbs. in the offseason to move to end and has started there for the past six games, totaling 22 tackles, including 4.5 for a loss and 2.0 sacks.
• Nine of 11 players CMU defensive players have started all seven games this season.
LAST TIME OUT
• Redshirt freshman quarterback Cooper Rush threw a five-yard touchdown pass to junior receiver Courtney Williams with 22 seconds remaining and the Chippewa defense held on to earn Central Michigan a thrilling 26-23 road victory over MAC East favorite Ohio at Peden Stadium in Athens.
• Rush finished the day with 224 yards passing and three touchdowns with one interception. His 20 total completions went to 10 different receivers.
• Sophomore running back Saylor Lavallii set a career high in rushing for the second consecutive week, running for 184 yards on 26 carries.
• In the first half, he gained yards in chunks, rushing for 131 yards on just 13 carries, a 10.1 average.
• Central Michigan finished the day with a total of 208 yards rushing against an Ohio defense that entered the game allowing only an average of 126 per game.
• The CMU defense also did its part, forcing four turnovers, including two interceptions of Ohio quarterback Tyler Tettleton.
• Senior linebacker Shamari Benton tied a career high with 14 tackles while sophomore safety Kavon Frazier forced a fumble and intercepted his third pass of the season, earning him MAC West Defensive Player of the Week honors.
NEXT UP FOR THE CHIPPEWAS
• Central Michigan will begin a two-game road swing when it travels to Muncie, Ind. for a nationally televised MAC match-up with Ball State (6-1, 3-0) on Wednesday, Nov. 6.
• The intradivisional contest is scheduled for an 8 p.m. kickoff and will be broadcast on ESPN2.
• The Chippewas possess a 22-22-1 record in its all-time series with Ball State.
• CMU has dropped four of its last five meetings with the Cardinals, including last season’s 41-30 setback in Mount Pleasant.
SCOUTING NORTHERN ILLINOIS
• No. 23-ranked Northern Illinois enters Saturday’s MAC contest coming off a 27-20 win over Akron in its conference home opener.
• Included in its six wins, the undefeated Huskies are 2-0 versus Big Ten opponents, beating Iowa, 30-27, on August 31 and Purdue, 55-24, on September 28, both on the road.
• All-MAC quarterback and Heisman Trophy candidate Jordan Lynch helms an NIU offense that averages 39.7 points and 507.8 yards per game.
• Through six games, Lynch has completed 60.4 percent of his passes, throwing for 1,333 yards with 13 touchdowns and four interceptions.
• He has also rushed for 616 yards (5.8 avg.) and four touchdowns.
• Lynch’s top targets in the passing game are Tommylee Lewis (40-346-2) and Da’Ron Lewis (28-424-5).
• Junior Cameron Stingily (656 yards, 6 TDs) is the featured rusher in the Huskies’ run game.
• Northern Illinois is ranked No. 10 in the MAC in total defense and owns the conference No. 3-ranked rushing defense, allowing 155.7 yards per game.
• Senior safety Jimmie Ward leads the team in total tackles (50) and solo stops (35) in addition to a MAC-best five interceptions.
• Defensive ends Joe Windsor and Perez Ford top the Huskies with 3.5 sacks.
FRAZIER EARNS MAC HONORS
• Sophomore safety Kavon Frazier was named MAC West Defensive Player of the Week for his standout performance in Central Michigan’s thrilling, last-minute 26-23 road win over preseason MAC East favorite Ohio.
• Frazier headlined a stellar effort by the Chippewa defense forcing two critical, drive-halting turnovers.
• Early in the second quarter, with the Bobcats in CMU territory, Frazier forced a fumble of OU receiver Matt Waters, stopping a 12-play drive.
• On Ohio’s next possession, he intercepted Bobcat quarterback Tyler Tettleton and returned the pick 23 yards, setting up CMU on the OU 47-yard line.
• In addition to the two turnovers, Frazier accounted for six tackles.
• A starter of all seven games this season, Frazier ranks fourth on the team with 47 tackles and is first in pass break-ups with four.
• His three interceptions this season lead CMU and are tied for second in the Mid-American Conference.
LAVALLII STARRING AS STARTER
• Sophomore running back Saylor Lavallii has gone from capable back-up coming into the season to full-time starter following the injury to All-MAC rusher Zurlon Tipton to one of the nation’s top backs in the span of six weeks.
• He has also proven to be a durable workhorse for the Chippewas, as he is third in the NCAA in carries with 138 behind only Washington’s Bishop Sankey (159) and Boston College’s Andre Williams (157).
• In the win over Ohio, Lavallii set career highs in rushing attempts (26) and rushing yards (184) for the second consecutive week.
• He established the new personal best, which included three runs of 30 or more yards, against a Bobcat defense that entered the contest allowing just 126 rushing yards per game.
• By halftime, Lavallii had already gashed OU for 131 yards on 13 carries, an impressive 10.1 average.
• He also caught his first career touchdown pass, a crucial seven-yard scoring reception in the fourth quarter that reclaimed the lead for the Chippewas at 19-17.
• Lavallii currently ranks third in the MAC and 13th nationally with 705 rushing yards.
• Thus far this season, he has put together three 100-yard games and two two-touchdown efforts.
• Entering the NIU game, Lavallii is just 32 yards shy of the 1,000-yard mark for his career.
DAVIS HEADLINES CMU RECEIVING CORPS
• Junior receiver Titus Davis is having a standout 2013 season, 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.
• Despite missing the Ohio game, Davis is ranked No. 3 in the MAC in receiving yards per game, averaging 86.3
• With 20 career touchdowns, Davis is ranked third in the CMU record book, just two behind former great and current NFL star Antonio Brown.
• With 2,129 career yards, the Biletnikoff Award preseason nominee ranks seventh all-time among Chippewa receivers.
• Davis is ranked No. 2 in the nation among active players with a career 19.0 yards per reception average and No. 9 with a career 71.0 yards per game average.
RUSH TRIGGERS CMU OFFENSE
• Redshirt freshman quarterback Cooper Rush has taken the reins of the CMU offense, starting the last six 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.
• Rush currently ranks fifth in the MAC in passing yards per game, averaging 217.3.
• 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
• 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 tied for the MAC lead and rank fifth nationally with 73 total tackles each.
• Cherocci also tops CMU with 3.0 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 tied a career high with 15 stops versus Toledo.
• Cherocci, CMU’s Co-Defensive Player of the Year in 2012, led the team with 132 total tackles last season and was the nation’s leader in assisted tackles with 89.
• CMU’s leader in tackles for the last three-straight games, Benton equaled his career best in the win over Ohio, racking up 14 stops.
• Benton has recorded five 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 20 games, Cherocci and Benton have combined for 404 tackles, an average of over 20 per contest.
INJURY BUG BITES
• CMU starting quarterback Cody Kater (collarbone) and running back Zurlon Tipton (ankle) suffered serious 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.
• Kater has missed the last six games but is expected to return to the field this season.
• 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.
• Tipton will not return this season after having surgery on his ankle after the Michigan game.
• Senior left tackle Jake Olson was lost for the season after breaking his wrist late in the win over New Hampshire.
• Olson was named preseason First Team All-MAC by Phil Steele and second team by Athlon Sports.
• Sophomore defensive tackle Jabari Dean was also declared out for the season following the UNLV game.
• Dean started 10 games as a freshman and was named CMU’s 2012 Defensive Rookie of the Year.
• Redshirt sophomore receiver Jesse Kroll was lost for the season prior to the North Carolina State game with an ankle injury.
• Kroll was a key part of CMU’s receiver rotation, catching five passes for 85 yards this season.
• Also out for the season due to injury are redshirt sophomore defensive tackle Ben Randle and senior fullback Ben Masztak.
FIRST CAREER STARTS
• At least two Chippewas 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.
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.
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.
GAINER SETTLED IN AT END
• 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 all seven games this season at left defensive end and is second among defensive lineman with 24 total tackles and has 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.
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.
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 24 games straight, will help anchor the CMU offensive line.
• Named the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl Lineman of the Game, Benton is tied with teammate Justin Cherocci for the MAC lead in tackles with 73.
• Cunningham, who owns the nation’s longest start streak among safeties at 38 consecutive, is third in the MAC in solo tackles with 35.
CMU ON NATIONAL BROADCASTS
• To date, 11 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 25-22 in 47 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.
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.
MAC ANNOUNCES CREATION OF THREE BOWL GAMES
• The Mid-American Conference has announced partnerships with three newly-created bowl games that are scheduled to begin in 2014.
• In August, the MAC added the Camellia Bowl, which will be based in Montgomery, Ala. and will be 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.
• In October, the MAC announced affiliations with the Boca Raton and Bahamas Bowls.
• The MAC will partner with the Boca Raton Bowl for a six-year period (2014-2019).
• The Boca Raton Bowl will be a pre-Christmas bowl game and will be televised nationally on ESPN or ESPN2. • The Boca Raton Bowl will be played at FAU Stadium, an open-air stadium opened in 2011 which seats nearly 30,000 fans on the campus of Florida Atlantic University.
• The MAC will play Conference USA in the Boca Raton Bowl in 2014 and the American Athletic Conference in 2015.
• The MAC will also be associated with the Bahamas Bowl for a six-year period (2014-2019).
• The Bahamas Bowl will be played at Thomas A. Robinson Stadium in Nassau.
• The bowl will feature a MAC opponent versus the American Athletic Conference in 2014 and Conference USA in 2015.