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Nick's 2008 MAC Football Picks - Week #3 Preview & Picks


Quick Notes:

  • Bowling Green defensive lineman Diyral Briggs leads the nation in sacks with five. Briggs corralled the QB three times vs. Minnesota and had two sacks in the season opener at Pittsburgh. Twice in league history a MAC player has topped the national charts in pass sacks - Jonathan Goddard from Marshall in 2004 (16.0 sacks) and Ameer Ismail from Western Michigan in 2006 (17.0).
  • Four conference games highlight this week’s schedule for MAC gridiron teams. Defending league champion Central Michigan is at Ohio in the Bobcats home opener after close losses at Wyoming and Ohio State. West Division challenger Ball State plays at Akron in the Zips final home opener in the Rubber Bowl. Toledo is at Eastern Michigan in a West Division battle. And the MAC TV Game of the Week features Temple at Buffalo.
  • Ball State ’s 2-0 start is the school’s best since the 1995 squad also won its first two games. The most recent 3-0 start at BSU came in 1988 when that Cardinals team began the season with five consecutive wins.




Chris Jacquemain, QB, Akron

Jr., Mentor, Ohio ( Mentor)

In a 42-28 win over Syracuse, Jacquemain completed 20-of-26 pass attempts (76 percent) for 260 yards and three touchdowns. His first scoring pass went for 33 yards to Andre Jones for a 7-0 lead. He helped the Zips convert 10-of-14 third down attempts (71 percent) and sealed the game with an 18-yard TD pass to Merce Poindexter.


Lee Renfro, LB, Ohio

Jr., Burnside, Ky. (Southwestern)

Renfro had a game-high nine tackles (4 solo, 5 assisted) as the Bobcats put a scare into No. 3 ranked Ohio State before falling late, 26-14. The Ohio defense allowed only two touchdowns and limited the Buckeyes to just 5-of-15 on third down plays. Renfro also had a sack and keyed a defense that held the OSU offense to 272 yards of total offense and just 4.0 yards per play.


Jake Richardson, P, Miami

Sr., Oxford, Ohio (Talawanda)

Richardson set a school record with his 53.9 yards per punt in a 16-6 loss at Michigan. Richardson booted a career-best 74 yarder and had five of his seven kicks go for more than 50 yards. Four of his seven punts were downed inside the 20-yard line and one was a touchback. He leads the NCAA in punting at 51.6 ypk. The 53.9 ypk is the 10th best effort in MAC history and his 74-yard punt is tied for their best in school history.



  • Tyler Sheehan, QB, Bowling Green (completed 29-of-44 passes for 261yards and a touchdown vs. Minnesota.).
  • Brett Hamlin, WR, Buffalo (5 receptions for 77 yards and a 39-yard TDat Pittsburgh.).
  • Eugene Jarvis, RB, Kent State (tallied 139 yards on 24 carries, and added a team-high 60 receiving yards at Iowa State.).
  • Jamal Rogers, WR, Miami (9 receptions for 78 yards at Michigan; had 89 yards on kickoff returns for 162 all-purpose yards.).
  • Donte Harden, RB, Ohio (had a game-high 63 yards on 11 carries, including a 15-yard touchdown at Ohio State. Added two kick returns for 33 yards and an eight-yard reception.).


  • Mike Thomas, LB, Akron (six solo tackles, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery at Syracuse.).
  • Diyral Briggs , DE, Bowling Green (eight tackles and three sacks for minus 14 yards vs. Minnesota.).
  • Derek Burrell, LB, Kent State (had a game-high 11 tackles, seven solo, and two tfl at Iowa State.).
  • Clayton Mullins, LB, Miami (10 tackles, nine solo stops, and four tfl for minus 21 yards at Michigan.).
  • Jaiquawn Jarrett, CB, Temple (had a career-high 12 tackles vs. Connecticut.).


  • Bryan Williams, KOR, Akron (three kick returns for 113 yards at Syracuse, a 37.7 average. His first two returns set up a Zips scoring drive. Also forced a fumble on kick coverage.).
  • Nick Iovinelli, PK, Bowling Green (four punts for a 40.5 average vs. Minnesota, with two inside the 20, one at the 2-yard line.).
  • Jordan Martin, LB, Temple (had two solo tackles vs. Connecticut as a member of the kickoff and punt units.).




Dante Love, WR, Ball State

Sr., Cincinnati, Ohio (Withrow)

In a 35-23 win over Navy, Love accounted for three touchdowns and 202 rushing and receiving yards. He managed nine receptions for 165 yards and added six rushing attempts for 37 yards. Love’s initial score came on a 61-yard pass play for a 7-0 lead. Later in the first quarter, he ran into the end zone from six-yards out for a 14-3 margin. With his team down in the second half, Love scored on an eight-yard pass for a 28-23 lead in the third quarter. He also added five kickoff returns for 134 yards on special teams play to total 336 all-purpose yards.


Louis Delmas, FS, Western Michigan

Sr., North Miami Beach, Fla. ( North Miami Beach)

In a 29-26 win over Northern Illinois, Delmas finished with 10 tackles, an interception and a fumble recovery. The interception was the 10th of his career and the fumble recovery was his third all-time.


Alex Steigerwald, PK, Toledo

Jr., Mayfield Village, Ohio (Benedictine)

Steigerwald connected on all three of his field goal attempts at Arizona, successful from 20, 35 and 21 yards. Steigerwald added a PAT for 10 of UT’s 16 points in the loss.




  • Dan Nicholson, QB, Northern Illinois ( played three quarters in relief of injured starter Chandler Harnish at Western Michigan. He completed 16-of-29 attempts for 239 yards and a touchdown and added 21 rushing yards.).
  • Stephen Williams, WR, Toledo (12 receptions for 67 yards and a touchdown at Arizona.).
  • Brandon West, RB, Western Michigan ( totaled 175 rushing yards and nine yards receiving in a 29-26 win over Northern Illinois. West averaged 7.0 yards on 25 carries and scored on a nine-yard reception. He added 73 yards on kickoff returns for 257 all-purpose yards.).


  • B.J. Hill, CB, Ball State (10 tackles and an interception vs. Navy.).
  • Daniel Holtzclaw, LB, Eastern Michigan (12 tackles and a sack for nine yards at Michigan State.).
  • David Bryant, S, Northern Illinois (in his second game as a DB, had six solo stops and a team-high eight tackles total at Western Michigan.).
  • Barry Church, S, Toledo (seven tackles, one tfl and a pass break up at Arizona.).


  • Mike Salerno, PK, Northern Illinois (kicked field goals from 20 and 39 yards and was 2-of-2 on PAT for eight points at Western Michigan.).
  • Ben Armer, P, Western Michigan (three punts for 127 yards for a 42.3 average vs. Northern Illinois with a career long punt of 47 yards).


Former MAC Players in NFL – Week #1 Results

  • Michael Turner (NIU/Falcons) - league high 220 rushing yards and a TD on 22 attempts vs. Detroit.
  • Ben Roethlisberger (MIA/Steelers) - NFL best 147.0 QB rating while completing 13-of-14 attempts for 137 yards and 2 TDs vs. Houston.
  • James Harrison (KSU/Steelers) - a league best (tied) 3 sacks vs. Houston.
  • Greg Jennings (WMU/Packers) - 5 receptions for 91 yards vs. Minnesota. His 18.2 ypc average was the best of any receiver with 5 or more receptions.
  • Chad Pennington (MAR/Dolphins) - 26-of-43 for 251 yards, 2 TDs vs. Jets.
  • Antonio Gates (KSU/Chargers) - 4 receptions, 61 yards, 1 TD vs. Carolina.
  • Randy Moss (MAR/Patriots) - 9 receptions, 113 yards (3rd most in NFL) vs. Kansas City.


Even More MAC Notes:

  • Four conference games highlight this week’s schedule for MAC gridiron teams. Defending league champion Central Michigan is at Ohio in the Bobcats home opener after close losses at Wyoming and Ohio State. West Division challenger Ball State plays at Akron
  • in the Zips final home opener in the Rubber Bowl. Toledo is at Eastern Michigan in a West Division battle. And the MAC TV Game of the Week features Temple at Buffalo.
  • Two WAC schools host MAC teams with Western Michigan at Idaho and Bowling Green at Boise State. Kent State hosts its first game at Dix Stadium with Delaware State coming in, and Miami welcomes Charleston Southern to Yager Stadium. Northern Illinois is idle until Sept. 20 when the Huskies host Indiana State.
  • Miami punter Jacob Richardson tops the nation with his 51.56 average on his 12 punts in the first two games. Last year Richardson was sixth nationally (45.0 ypk), and third in the MAC, as five MAC punters were ranked in the top 16. Richardson set a school record with his 53.9 ypk game average at Michigan. That total ranks 10th best in MAC history.
  • In the Ball State’s 35-23 win over Navy, Dante Love accounted for 336 all-purpose yards, the 11th best single game mark in league history. Love also accounted for three touchdowns (1 rush; 2 via pass reception).
  • Western Michigan’s 29-26 win over Northern Illinois was the program’s 496 all-time victory.
  • Central Michigan’s Dan LeFevour, just two games into his junior season ranks among the all-time passing leaders in MAC history per the following: touchdown passes: ninth (58); completions: 10th (646); pass attempts: 13th (1,005); passing yards: 14th (7,150).
  • Northern Illinois Larry English has 24.5 career sacks, tied for 14th on the MAC all-time list with Miami’s JoJuan Armour (1995-98).
  • Northern Illinois’ Chandler Harnish and Ohio’s Theo Scott, both starting QBs, left games early last week due to injury. Senior Dan Nicholson stepped in for the Huskies at Western Michigan and completed 16-of-29 attempts for 239 yards and a TD. For the Bobcats, Boo Jackson, a transfer from El Camino College, saw his first extensive action at Ohio State. Jackson rushed for 55 yards and passed for 86 yards vs. the No. 3 ranked Buckeyes. Jackson will start this week vs. two-time defending MAC Champion Central Michigan. The Huskies are idle this week.
  • Akron ’s 1-2 rushing punch of Alex Allen and Dennis Kennedy combined for 192 rushing yards and three touchdowns last week in the 42-28 win at Syracuse. Allen who had 420 yards last year, gained 103 yards and scored twice on 21 carries. Kennedy, after not scoring a touchdown all of last year (just 46 attempts) added 89 yards and a touchdown on 11 attempts. In the Zips previous win over a BCS team (20-17 at N.C. State in 2006); Kennedy scored all three of Akron’s touchdowns, including the game-winner as time expired in regulation.
  • The Zips have also benefited from two position switches from last year. WR Andre Jones, a free safety in 2007, has seven receptions for 98 yards and two touchdowns in 2008. Bryan Williams, an all-conference RB in 2007, is now a strong safety and has 11 tackles an interception (returned 62 yards), a pass break up and a forced fumble thus far.


Temple (1-1, 0-0 MAC) at Buffalo (1-1, 0-0 MAC) - Noon

SITE: UB Stadium (29,013/Sportexe Momentum) - Buffalo, N.Y.

TELEVISION: ESPN Plus/MAC Game of the Week (Michael Reghi, Doug Chapman)

SERIES RECORD: Buffalo leads 11-1 ... UB won last year in the schools’ first-ever conference meeting ... the Bulls have won two in a row, with the Owls triumph coming in 1970, 21-8 in Philadelphia.

COACHES: Temple-Al Golden (6-20, second season); UB-Turner Gill (8-18 third season).

GAME NOTES: Both teams opened the season with wins but followed with a loss last week ... Temple dropped a 12-9 overtime game to Connecticut while Buffalo fell at Pittsburgh 27-16 ...UB dropped the 11-point decision despite being outgained on total offense by just four yards ...UB’s James Starks leads the MAC in rushing at 138 yards per game ... the Owls defense has allowed just one touchdown in regulation the first two games and 19 total points overall ... Temple’s C Alex Derenthal has started 37 consecutive games and WR Bruce Francis has made a reception in 28 straight games ... this begins a stretch of four road games in the next five weeks for Temple ... Buffalo’s Drew Willy saw his streak of 284 pass attempts without an interception end on his final throw of the night at Pittsburgh.

Nick’s Pick: Buffalo 24 – Temple 20

Comment: Buffalo seems to have Temple’s number these past two seasons as these schools are beginning to develop a nice MAC East rivalry. Both teams had chances to beat a Big East team last week and both slipped late in the game. Look for UB to earn a hard fought home win.


Toledo (0-1, 0-0 MAC) at Eastern Michigan (1-1, 0-0) - Noon

SITE: Rynearson Stadium (30,200/Field Turf) - Ypsilanti, Mich.


SERIES RECORD: UT leads 24-11 ... the Rockets have won seven of the last eight meetings ...UT captured last year’s game 52-28 ... the Eagles won in 2006 at Rynearson, 17-13.

COACHES: UT-Tom Amstutz (55-33, ninth season); EMU-Jeff Genyk (14-34, sixth season);

GAME NOTES: The Rockets opened its season last week in a 41-16 loss at Arizona ... the Eagles dropped a 42-10 contest at Michigan State ... UT had 10 first-time starters in their lineup, as well as 20 freshmen overall, including 14 true freshmen ... senior DL Sean Williamson returned from an injury that cost him 11 games last year and recorded the team’s lone sack on the first play of

the game ... Williamson started every game for UT in 2005 and 2006 ... EMU’s Jermaine Jenkins is one of three MAC players with two interceptions this year and also had a fumble recovery last week at MSU ... Terrance Blevins leads the MAC in yards per carry with 7.7 on 30 attempts ...both EMU and Toledo last won their MAC opener in 2005 ... Rockets PK Alex Steigerwald has made 18 consecutive FG and is 23-of-24 for his career.

Nick’s Pick: Toledo 35 – Eastern Michigan 28

Comment: This is a HUGE game for both programs. EMU is trying to prove that hard work Coach Genyk and his staff have done over the past five years can now produce wins, especially at home, against divisional rivals. EMU has the talent to win this game. Toledo is trying to prove that two straight 5-7 seasons was a minor dip in the program and not a sign of a complete and long-term downturn. Expect this game to be played as hard as a bowl game. In many ways, it is for both schools. The winner will have momentum to be 1-0 in the league and the loser will be almost out of the race before the end of September.



Ball State (2-0, 0-0 MAC) at Akron (1-1, 0-0 MAC) - 1:00

SITE: Rubber Bowl (31,000/AstroPlay) Akron, Ohio


SERIES RECORD: BSU leads 10-7-1 ... this is the first meeting since 2005, a 23-17 BSU win ...the Zips had won the previous three meetings prior to that 2005 contest.

COACHES: BSU-Brady Hoke (24-37, sixth season); UA-J.D. Brookhart (23-27, fifth season).


The Cardinals are the MAC’s lone undefeated team after last week’s 35-23 triumph over Navy ... the Zips won their first game, a 42-28 contest at Syracuse ... this is the Zips home opener after games at Wisconsin and Syracuse, and is BSU’s first road game as well ... the Cardinals bring the league’s highest rated QB in Nate Davis with 616 yards and seven TDs passing

while completing 80.2 percent (42-of-52) of his pass attempts ... Dante Love is averaging a league-high 264.5 all-purpose yards per game and a conference-best 168 receiving yards per game ... MiQuale Lewis is third in the MAC in rushing with his 104.5 yards per game ... the Zips offense has received solid play from QB Chris Jacquemain, who has completed 67.7 percent (42-of-62) of his pass attempts for 487 yards and five TDs ... Dennis Kennedy has returned to full strength and has averaged 6.5 yards per carry (124 yards, 19 attempts) ... BSU’s offensive line has not allowed a sack this season.

Nick’s Pick: Ball State 31 – Akron 28

Comment: At the beginning of the season this game was looking like a Cardinal blow-out, but after a decent performance at Wisconsin and beating Big East bottom-feeder Syracuse by 14-points on the road, the Zips may be the surprise of the MAC this fall. Chris Jacquemain is this publication’s early season ‘most improved player of the year.’ Ball State in a thriller.



Central Michigan (1-1, 0-0 MAC) at Ohio (0-2, 0-0 MAC) - 2:00

SITE: Peden Stadium (24,000/FieldTurf) Athens, Ohio


SERIES RECORD: CMU leads 19-4-2 ... this is the first meeting since CMU defeated OU 31-10

in the 2006 Marathon MAC Championship game at Ford Field ... Ohio’s last win was in 2001,


COACHES: CMU-Butch Jones (9-7, second season); Ohio-Frank Solich (19-20, fourth year at school; 77-39, 10th season overall).

GAME NOTES: The Bobcats are coming off a 26-14 loss at No. 3 Ohio State, a game in which they lead 14-6 in the third quarter ... CMU lost at No. 2 Georgia, 56-17 ... the Bobcats will start Boo Jackson at QB as Theo Scott suffered an injury at OSU ... Jackson came on to rush for 55 yards and pass for 86 yards (9-of-25) vs. the Buckeyes ... Ohio’s defense allowed two touchdowns to the

Buckeyes and limited them to 5-of-15 on third down attempts ... Donte Harden had a game-high 63 rushing yards and scored the Bobcats lone offensive touchdown on a 15-yard run for a 7-3 second quarter lead ... Curtis Meyers recovered a Buckeyes fumble in the end zone for the Bobcats other score ... CMU’s Dan LeFevour threw for 250 yards and two TDs at Georgia but was held to 19 yards rushing ... Bryan Anderson caught three passes to extend his streak to 30 consecutive games with a least one reception ... CMU has won its last four MAC openers ... Ohio has not started the season with three consecutive losses since 2002 ... CMU is attempting to become the first school to win three consecutive MAC titles since Marshall (1997-2000).

Nick’s Pick: Ohio 26 – Central Michigan 24

Comment: OK, maybe Ohio’s game at Ohio State was more of OSU overlooking the Bobcats. Still, this publication was quite impressed with the speed and overall defense of OU and believes the Bobcats can win their home opener after two straight difficult and close road losses. Central Michigan proved this publication wrong all of last year when we picked against in MAC contests so don’t be surprised if the ‘Chips win on the road.



Delaware State (1-0, 0-0 MEAC) at Kent State (0-2, 0-0 MAC) - 2:00

SITE: Dix Stadium (25,000/FieldTurf) Kent, Ohio


SERIES RECORD: KSU leads 1-0 ... the Golden Flashes won last year’s contest 38-7 at Dix Stadium.

COACHES: DSU-Al Lavan (29-16, fifth season at school; 31-17, sixth season overall); KSU Doug Martin (15-33, fifth season).

GAME NOTES: Hornets head coach Al Lavan was the interim head coach at Eastern Michigan in 2003 and went 2-1 with wins over Ball State and UCF, and a loss to Northern Illinois ... DSU beat Florida A&M 35-28 Sept. 4 ... the Golden Flashes are 0-2 after dropping games to Boston College and Iowa State ... Eugene Jarvis rushed for 139 yards on 24 carries at ISU and added 60 yards

receiving ... LB Derek Burrell has six straight games with 10 or more tackles after a game-high 11 stops last week ... Burrell leads the MAC with 12.5 tackles per game ... KSU has not lost three games to start the season since 2000 ... next week the Golden Flashes are at Louisiana-Lafayette before playing eight consecutive conference games ... KSU has been flagged for just nine penalties for 64 yards this season.

Nick’s Pick: Kent State 36 – Delaware State 23

Comment: Kent State played well enough to win at Iowa State last week but turnovers killed them. They should be able to beat up on an over-matched D-State team that is well coached by Al Lavan.


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Western Michigan (1-1, 1-0 MAC) at Idaho (1-1, 0-0 WAC) - 2:00 (MT)

SITE: Kibbie Dome (17,000/RealGrass Pro) Moscow, Idaho


SERIES RECORD: WMU leads 1-0 ... the Broncos won 27-16 in 1976.

COACHES: WMU-Bill Cubit (21-17, fourth season at school; 55-35-1, ninth season overall); UI Robb Akey (2-12, second season).

GAME NOTES: The Vandals are coming off a 42-27 home victory over Idaho State, a victory that snapped an 11-game losing streak dating back to last year ... WMU captured its conference opener last week, topping Northern Illinois 29-26 ... Brandon West rushed for a career-high 175 yards, with 141 of those coming in the second half ... Louis Delmas had two takeaways, an interception and a fumble recovery ... Tim Hiller has five TD passes and just one interception in 79 attempts this season, completing 64.6 percent (51-of-79) of his attempts for 528 yards ... Jamarko Simmons had eight receptions last week, boosting his career total to 167, third all-time at WMU (school record is 238 by Greg Jennings, 2002-05) ... WMU’s most recent non-conference road victory was Nov. 17, 2007, at Iowa, 28-19 ... Vandals QB Nathan Anderle had two passing scores and a rushing TD last week as the Vandals built a 42-13 lead.

Nick’s Pick: Western Michigan 37 – Idaho 28

Comment: Western Michigan travels far for this game but after an early adjustment to the Kibbie Dome, expect the Broncos to roll.



Charleston Southern (0-2, 0-0 Big South) at Miami (0-2, 0-0 MAC) - 3:00

SITE: Yager Stadium (24,286/FieldTurf) Oxford, Ohio


SERIES RECORD: First meeting.

COACHES: CSU-Jay Mills (27-30, sixth season at school; 30-51, ninth season overall); MIA Shane Montgomery (15-23, fourth season).

GAME NOTES: CSU has lost to Miami ( Fla.) 52-7 and Wofford 41-23 ... the RedHawks have fallen to Vanderbilt 34-13 and Michigan 16-6 ... Miami LB Clayton Mullins had four tackles for a loss last week and now leads the MAC with five tackles for a loss for minus 23 yards ... the RedHawks defense limited the Wolverines to just 2-of-11 third down conversions ... Jake Richardson set a

school record with his 53.9 ypk punting average at Michigan ... Jamal Rogers totaled 162 all-purpose yards (78 receiving, 89 kickoff returns) ... the RedHawks also started 2006 with three consecutive losses ... Miami has produced one touchdown in its first two games ... Dan Raudabaugh passed for 191 yards last week to go over 3,000 for his career (3,156), the 11th player in school history to reach that plateau ... after going 13-for-20 (65 percent) on field goals last year, Nate Parseghian is 4-for-4

thus far in 2008.

Nick’s Pick:

Miami 28 – Charleston Southern 7

Miami needs a game like this after two straight BCS teams. If the RedHawks play to their potential, this game could become a blowout really quick.


Bowling Green (1-1, 0-0 MAC) at Boise State (1-0, 0-0 WAC) - 6:00 (MT)

SITE: Bronco Stadium (32,000/Blue FieldTurf) Boise, Idaho

TELEVISION: ESPN Game Plan (Mark Johnson, Tom Scott, David Augusto)

SERIES RECORD: BSU leads ... the Broncos won the only meeting 48-20 in 2005.

COACHES: BGSU-Gregg Brandon (39-25, sixth season); BSU-Chris Petersen (24-3, third season).

GAME NOTES: BSU won its season opener on Aug. 30 in a 49-7 decision over Idaho State ... the BSU program has went to a bowl the last six seasons in a row ... Ian Johnson has 3,550 career rushing yards, the second most among active players ... since 2003, BSU is 33-1 at home ... the Falcons dropped a 42-17 home contest to Minnesota a week after surprising No. 25 Pittsburgh on the road

... the Falcons have won their last three regular season road games ( Pittsburgh in 2008; Buffalo and Eastern Michigan in 2007) ... vs. UM, Tyler Sheehan completed passes to 10 different receivers, totaling 261 yards, completing 29-of 44 attempts ... Sheehan completed 15 of his first 18 attempts ...DL Diyral Briggs had three sacks, giving him a national high five for the season ... Roger Williams needs nine more yards on kickoff returns to bypass the school record of 1,222 ... turnovers did in the

Falcons vs. the Gophers, giving the ball over five times.

Nick’s Pick: Boise State 49 – BGSU 24

Comment: Will the real BGSU Falcons please stand up? Is this team that beat Pitt on the road two weeks ago or the team that self-destructed in the 4 th quarter last week at home against Minnesota and in the GMAC Bowl against Tulsa? The blue-turf is tough to focus on – look for this to be a long trip for the Bowling Green faithful.


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