When you win 3 conference titles in four years all eyes are on you, every team gets up when they play you. When a team feels they are the new team to beat, they talk smack about how it is your turn to step aside, and this is their year. CMU has been that team in the MAC for the last four years, and everyone else has been trying to knock them off. Temple is the first MAC team that gets a chance this year and they are also a team that has done a lot of talking, well at least their fans have. Coming in to the year Temple was the preseason pick to win the MAC east, and the MAC title overall, and it didn’t take long for their fans to post stuff on CMU message boards, it happened before the teams first games of the year last Thursday. Both teams beat FCS teams, CMU did have the easier game vs Hampton, while Temple had the defending FCS champs Villanova and had some problems with them, winning only 31-24. But this Thursday we will all see for ourselves which team is the early favorite to win the MAC. CMU has never lost to Temple, they have only played them twice, and both of those times CMU was led by Dan LeFevour at QB, who is the FBS leader in total touchdowns and is now with the Bengals.
Temple is led by talented Running Back Bernard Pierce, who had only 75 yards on 20 carries vs Nova ‘a down game for him. Pierce had a great freshman year which made the Temple folk start a Heisman campaign for him. I will say this about him, he is a good running back, but he will not win the Heisman, he will not even be in the top ten, let alone the top 5. In saying that, he is someone that the CMU defense will have to keep a close eye on. Luckily CMU is led by the best defensive player in the conference in my eyes in Nick Bellore. All Bellore did in his first game this year was have 11 tackles has he led his defense to a shutout. Temple will be much better then Hampton, but CMU is use to winning, and even though they have some new faces at some important postitons, QB being the most obvious, they have enough winners on this team, that they will be ready to play. The game is on ESPNU and this team will be eager to show that they are still the team to beat in the MAC.
One place where Temple should have a big advantage is in the kicking game. Temple’s kicker sophomore Brandon McManus made 4 field goals on Thursday where CMU’s true freshmen kicker Paul Mudgett was only 1 for 4 on field goals himself. If the game comes down to field goals you have to give Temple the edge. I of course have confidence in CMU and will pick them to win until I see them lose a MAC game, it hasn’t happened in over a year. I think both teams will come out ready to play, and the defences will control the game early while the offences settle in. CMU needs to take care of the ball, but if they do that, I think they can go to a prefect 3-0 vs the Owls and come back to Mt. Pleasant with a 24-17 win.
About the Author
Written by Steve Schwanda
Proud 2006 grad of CMU. Chippewacountry.com basketball analyst, I love and follow most sports, but I follow basketball the most. Coached and worked camps for 8 years. Favorite pro teams are: NY Giants, Detroit Pistons, Tigers, and Wings