Bowling Green At Central Michigan
Mount Pleasant, Michigan will be the scene Thursday night when America's spread darling, the Central Michigan Chippewa's, host the Bowling Green Falcons. The Chippewa's are favored by -7 in this tilt and with a cover will reward their backers with a perfect 8-0 mark against the number.
The Mid-American Conference's top pass offense in Ball State tried to test CMU's defense last week. It failed. Now Central's defense will be tested against the MAC's second-best rush offense, Bowling Green.
"It's kind of like going against an option team," said CMU coach Brian Kelly. "The quarterback has to be counted in your scheme so you have to tweak what you do a little bit."
Starting quarterback Anthony Turner and back-up Freddie Barnes have accounted for 750 of BGSU's 1,541 rushing yards this season, and nine of the 12 touchdowns. Barnes is mostly used in goal line situations as he has eight rushing touchdowns, good for second in the MAC behind Northern Illinois tailback Garrett Wolfe.
Turner is more of a passer, but has struggled so far. He's only averaging 162 yards per game with six touchdowns and four interceptions. CMU, on the other hand, has had success in the passing game, but hasn't established consistency running the ball.
It improved last week as the team rushed for 173 yards and three touchdowns. Sophomore tailback Ontario Sneed and freshman Marcel Archer were successful as a tandem, rushing for 95 yards and a touchdown.
Bowling Green coach Gregg Brandon plans to make the Chippewas prove they can duplicate that performance because he said their passing game has a lot of confidence.
"The last couple weeks, they have been able to stand in there and throw the ball around and make some plays," he said. "I think you have to disrupt his (Dan LeFevour's) timing and mix in some pressures to keep him off balance so he can't get comfortable in the pocket."
LeFevour, who was named MAC West Player of the Week for his performance against Ball State, had just 171 yards passing but added 75 yards rushing and two touchdowns.
Dating back to 1991 the Falcons are 8-2 against CMU but the home side is 6-4 against the number. Both sides have played one common opponent and were both victorious against Eastern Michigan.
The teams will be playing on just 4 days rest and usually this is a handicap to the visitors, but BG have been road warriors this year. They are 3-0 ATS on visits to Ohio State, Florida International and Ohio University.
The over/under sits at 51 and the weather calls for mid 30's by game time.
About the Author: Bob is an experienced sports writer and handicapper who has written for the sports industry for over a decade. He has been a regular contributer to Sports Scene, a sports consultant for television's 33 Made and other major motion pictures.