In his first career start, sophomore defensive end Blake Serpa played a pivotal role in Central Michigan’s blanking of UMass, the program’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.
Playing in all 11 games this season, Serpa has recorded 29 tackles, including 7.0 for a loss, three quarterback hits, one pass break-up and one forced fumble. His 16 solo tackles rank second among CMU defensive lineman while his 3.0 sacks are second most on the team.
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.
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 he 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. Hogan already appears in the CMU record book, as his 2012 season average of 41.8 ranks fourth.
Serpa is the third Chippewa to earn conference defensive player of the week honors this season and the second in as many weeks. Redshirt freshman safety Tony Annese won the award last week after returning an interception for a touchdown in his first career start in the Chippewas’ 27-22 rivalry win over Western Michigan. Sophomore safety Kavon Frazier was recognized on October 14 following CMU’s 26-23 road win over Ohio.
For Hogan, the conference honor is the second of his career. The Laguna Hills, Calif. native also won in November 2012 after averaging 52.7 yards per punt against Western Michigan, including a 74-yard offering, and pinning the Broncos inside their 20-yard line on two of his three kicks.
Central Michigan (5-6, 4-3 MAC) will bid to gain bowl eligibility for the second consecutive season and recapture the MAC Michigan Trophy this week when it finishes out the regular season at home by hosting Eastern Michigan (2-9, 1-6 MAC) on the day after Thanksgiving. The Senior Day battle is scheduled for a 2 p.m. kick off on Friday, Nov. 29 at Kelly/Shorts Stadium and will be streamed online by ESPN3.