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Countdown to CMU

Could Quale lead the Cardinals to victory?

It’s time once again for OTP to rock out our official prediction of Saturday’s contest. The Cardinals look for something positive to build the rest of the season on, the Chips are in search of yet another successful run through the MidAmerican Conference. Read on for all you need to know…

5 Things You Should Know

  1. This isn’t the CMU of recent memory, but they’re still damn good.
    Gone of course is the Rust Belt Tim Tebow, or Dan Lefevour as his parents named him, but unlike many MAC programs, the drop off for the Chips hasn’t been nearly as staggering. Take a look at the Miami’s or the Ball State’s to see just how quickly a MAC contender with a stellar star can suddenly get snapped back to reality. The Chips lost Lefevour, several offensive weapons, and considerable defensive talent, along with head coach Butch Jones, and all they’ve done is not miss a beat. It’s really quite impressive.
  2. CMU may be looking past the Cardinals, but they shouldn’t be.
    Up next for the Chips is a very beatable BCS automatic qualifier in Virginia Tech. I’m sure with the recent pronouncement by most of Ball State’s football program flatlining on the table it would be easy to take for granted this game. That, of course, would be a dangerous thing for CMU to do. Aside from having the talent and skill to hand them a loss, which of course would be painful enough in and of itself, another MAC loss would drop the Chips to 0-2 in conference play and virtually eliminate them from the MAC West race. Perhaps the Chips focus a bit too much on Blacksburg and forget about what’s needed to make Detroit. Not saying it’s likely, just saying it’s possible.
  3. CMU has had no trouble with the Cards in recent years.
    Central Michigan has won five of the last six versus the Cardinals, with only the  undefeated season in 2008 standing as the Cardinals’ lone W. BSU was just as dominant in the early 2000s, though, but football is predominantly a “What have you done for me lately?” kind of culture. Even in years where BSU was talented and deep, Central Michigan was often the thorn in the side of the Cardinals.
  4. October is made for the Chippewas.
    CMU is 18-2 in October over the last six years. That’s stellar, and it isn’t like they are beating up on weakened competition. That’s the start of the MAC season most every year and it’s further proof of the Chips’ dominance in conference play.
  5. The Chips may be the most talented 2-2 team you’re likely to find.
    Their two losses have come at the hands of MAC favorite Temple (in overtime, no less) and against Northwestern, both games that CMU could have very easily won had several key plays went a different way. This team is more 4-0 than 2-2 in my mind, and when coupled with the talent that they have on both sides of the ball, despite actual game experience at several spots, this is a very dangerous team capable of very good things for several years to come.

4 Players You Should Know

  1. Ryan Radcliff, QB
    Despite the fact that Dan Lefevour is no longer in Mt. Pleasant, the Chips seem to have found their next great signal caller. While Radcliff brings a different dynamic, as he isn’t a runner, his passing ability put’s St. Dan’s to shame. Through his four games this season, Radcliff is already over 1000 yards, and he set career highs last week against Northwestern for attempts, completions, yards, and touchdowns. Radcliff isn’t unstoppable, but he is certainly capable of turning the tide for the Chips.
  2. Paris Cotton, RB
    This 5’9″ junior from Miami has certainly showed moments of greatness this season, rushing for over 200 yards against Eastern Michigan, but has also had his share of questionable efforts. Cotton only managed 4 carries and -1 yards last week against Northwestern, and another effort like that certainly could bode well for the Cardinals.
  3. Nick Bellore, MLB
    This 6’1″ senior has started every game in his career at CMU and also leads the nation in total tackles. For the Cardinals to have a viable running attack, Bellore must be accounted for in the blocking schemes and protection. If Bellore has a good day, it’s a virtual certainty that the Cardinals won’t.
  4. Cody Wilson, WR
    By far the most popular target in the CMU passing attack, Wilson leads the team with 20 grabs for 376 yards and 2 TDs in 2010. The 5’10” sophomore doesn’t pose a significant height threat for the Cardinals, but he does provide the Chips with a sure-handed option that is capable of making big plays. Wilson has gone over the century mark twice this season, including 153 against Temple.

3 Ways We Win

  1. Score When We Reach the Red Zone
    The Chips have made their bones this year by holding teams to no points when they hit the red zone. Only 57% of the time do CMU’s opponents hit paydirt. At that kind of clip, the Cardinals will have a long day. Maximize opportunities and make the most of red zone chances and the Cards have a chance.
  2. Pressure the CMU Passing Attack
    Radcliff is only a sophomore, and has clearly been the straw that has stirred the Chips’ drink this season. With pressure up front, and Radcliff unable to easily find the open men, the passing attack for the Chips is neutralized. Easier said than done, but certainly a needed component of a Cardinals’ victory.
  3. Win the Turnover Battle
    Both teams come into their contest at +1 in turnover margin, and with a road conference battle, the Cardinals must take care of the football. Forcing mistakes, creating turnovers, while limiting their own makes the Cardinals a likely victor.

2 Cardinal Questions

  1. Will the Cardinals come out firing from minute one?
    The Chips are 2-0 when scoring first and 0-2 when not. The Cards have struggled with coming out and setting the tone early. Get the kickoff? Go down and score. On defense first? Hold the Chips and give the offense an opportunity to take control. With slow starts for the Cards, a fast start is an absolute must lest this game get away from the Cardinals. The longer they are “in it”, the better their chances of forcing mistakes and bringing home a W.
  2. Who in the secondary will make the plays that need to be made?
    Ultimately the premiere matchup of this contest is Ryan Radcliff versus the BSU passing defense. The likes of Sean Baker, Charlie Todd, Kyle Hoke, Jay Pinkston, and Koreen Burch may very well hold the secret  to a BSU upset in Mt. Pleasant.

1 Bold Prediction
The Cardinals head into their MAC opener at 1-3 on the season but with the unique opportunity to turn the tide of the entire season through just one game. With a victory over CMU, a team the Cards have struggled with, the entire tone of the season gets changed. It will take a significant amount of effort, performance, and a little bit of luck, and frankly, it seems as though this hurdle is a bit steep for the Cardinals to climb. As much as it pains me, I’ll go with 38-17 Central, and it will certainly suck.

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4 Responses

  1. we must throw the ball down the field…..the pass opens up the run and vice versa……Defense must stop giving so much of a cushion at the corner spot….D line gotta get some type of pass rush ,it is hard for any corner to cover a WR for more than 3 sec..QB must relax..Coaches plz put guys in position to compete, to much talent to keep saying “we are a young team” coaching makes up for youth at any level…lets go get em cardinals..

  2. Absolutely, Otis! This team has a load of talent and just needs the right schematic set up to showcase it. I feel like the Cards are on the precipice of something big. And I’m hopeful this is the weekend that it shows up!

  3. Very insightful preview. I really hope the Chippewas are not looking past BSU because I think that can be very dangerous.

  4. It happened.

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