The first rule of #MACtion is to expect the unexpected. In what has been an incredibly chaotic season in the conference, the league title game continued that run and delivered us a very un-MAC like defensive thriller in the first half.
No matter how they came about it though, Central Michigan will enjoy taking a 14-10 lead into the locker room at the midway mark over fellow turnaround story Miami (OH) in an entertaining contest despite the lack of points on the board.
The Redhawks looked as though they would have no issues finding pay dirt after Maurice Thomas returned the opening kickoff 97 yards to doorstep of the goal line, eventually punching it in two plays later for a Jaylon Bester touchdown. However things didn’t quite come as easily from there as first downs and big plays were quite limited the rest of the way on the offensive side of the ball.
Freshman QB Brett Gabbert was just 3-of-11 for 25 yards passing to help contribute to that while Miami had only 71 yards of total offense despite being able to take the slim lead.
Things weren’t a whole lot better for the Chippewas despite their ability to more consistently move the ball. Their first scoring output came thanks to a 14 play, seven-plus minute drive that covered 90 yards in the second quarter and their second was the result of a short field and impressive two minute drill effort. QB Quinten Dormady was 12-of-17 for 96 yards and a touchdown while tailback Tommy Lazzaro notched the other score to go with his 38 yards on the ground.
Despite the defensive-minded first half in Detroit, things are shaping up once again for the MAC Championship Game to have a fun finish. CMU is 7-0 this year when leading at the break and Jim McElwain will be hoping to add one more ‘W’ on that stat despite the best efforts of a Miami team hoping to regroup and get going in the locker room with a big prize on the line after they emerge.