What Did We Learn From Our First Week of Mid-American Conference Football?

Our first week of MACtion didn’t have a whole lot of stories to tell.

Ball State, Buffalo, Eastern Michigan and Toledo all blasted an FCS opponent, while Akron wound up losing to a lightning delay.

Northern Illinois and Bowling Green, meanwhile, got pasted by Iowa and Oregon respectively.

What’s that leave us to talk about?

Caylin Newton, 100% FBS slayer

Cam Newton’s younger brother nearly did it again this season. With 439 yards passing, another 93 yards rushing, and three touchdowns through the air, he kept Ohio on their heels all game.

The Bison led 22-10 with 1:47 left in the first half, a lead that would have been bigger if not for a blocked extra point and a stalled red-zone drive. By a minute into the second half, Ohio led 24-22 and they’d hold on.

But things aren’t great.

Nathan Rourke got benched after one quarter and didn’t come back. The Bobcat defense gave up 645 yards to Howard. Sure they recovered from a sloppy opener against Texas State last season, but this needs to not become a trend.

Kent State and CMU played 75% excellent on the road

I say that to mean that through three quarters, the Golden Flashes and Chippewas were outscored by a combined 45-44 by Kentucky and Illinois.

Sure, Kentucky and Illinois aren’t Alabama and Ohio State, but they are still Power 5 opponents playing at home.

Both offenses ran out of gas in the fourth quarter, but Kent State had a two-touchdown lead at halftime, something I didn’t think I’d type all season, let alone in week one.

Woody Barrett threw for 270 yards and rushed for another 117 which I’d say is pretty good for the sophomore. CMU’s defense played well, but first the offense and then the defense wore down.

These two teams might both be better than I thought this season, though it’s obviously too soon to say for sure.

Western Michigan has 50% of a title contender

John Wassink threw for 379 yards and three touchdowns, and LeVante Bellamy rushed for another 120 yards and two scores, as the Broncos racked up 629 yards and 42 points.

Unfortunately, most of that came in the second half after Syracuse raced out to a 34-7 lead. WMU had a touchdown drive of 90 yards, and a 74-yarder that ended in a missed field goal, but otherwise only gained 26 yards on 14 plays.

Syracuse, meanwhile, had two drives stall out in or near the red zone but still had cracked 30 points and 300 yards before halftime.

The Broncos came storming back in the second half, but that comeback took everything they had and they ran out before the game ended, as Syracuse got stuffed on a 4th and goal from the one but still held a 20-point lead with 5 1/2 minutes left before WMU added a cosmetic touchdown.

What to look for next week

A lot of losing, probably.

WMU, EMU and Ball State are all on the road against Power 5 opponents, while CMU, Bowling Green and NIU are hosting them.

Central Michigan playing well against Kentucky on the road bodes well for them winning at home against a Kansas team that couldn’t beat Nicholls, but the rest of those games are liable to be ugly.

Similarly, Akron and Kent State are hosting FCS opponents, but expect very different outcomes as Akron should dominate Morgan State and Kent State must face The Dread Pirate Caylin Newton.

Buffalo hits the road to face a Temple team with FCS egg on their face, while Miami welcomes their other regional rival Cincinnati, who managed to knock off UCLA on the road.

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