Chippewas Visit Eastern Michigan Saturday

MOUNT PLEASANT - Central Michigan plays the middle game of a three-game road swing when it visits Eastern Michigan in Mid-American Conference action Saturday afternoon. Kickoff is set for 4 p.m.

Saturday's game is the first round of competition in the race for the Michigan MAC Trophy. CMU currently holds the traveling trophy following its wins over Eastern Michigan and Western Michigan last season.

Recent history has seen a number of entertaining matchups between the Chippewas and Eagles. Fourteen of the previous 20 meetings have been decided by seven points or fewer or gone to overtime, and the winning team in this game has scored 45 points or more in five of the last eight seasons.

Central Michigan (1-1 overall, 0-1 MAC) scored a 56-8 win over Eastern Michigan at Kelly/Shorts Stadium last season. That victory snapped a string of five consecutive CMU-EMU matchups that had been decided by seven points or less.

The Chippewas will bring one of the nation's top defenses into Saturday's contest. CMU ranks in the top 20 nationally in points allowed, yards allowed, rush defense and pass defense; the Chippewas are sixth nationally in both points allowed (6.5 ppg) and yards allowed (197.0 ypg).

Senior linebacker Matt Berning leads the defense in total tackles (18) and tackles for loss (four). Sophomore defensive back Jahleel Addae is second in both categories (17 tackles, three tackles for loss).

Offensively, sophomore receiver Cody Wilson has emerged as a big-play threat for the Chippewas. He leads the team in receiving (11 receptions, 200 yards, one touchdown) and is averaging 4.2 yards per rush and 12.7 yards per punt return. His 172.0 all-purpose yard per game average ranks 17th nationally.

Eastern Michigan is 0-2 on the year with a pair of narrow losses. The Eagles dropped a 31-27 decision to Army in the season opener before falling at Miami last week, 28-21.

Quarterback Alex Gillett has completed 22-of-39 throws for 202 yards and three touchdowns in the first two games. He also has been intercepted three times. Gillett is the team's leading rusher as well, averaging 5.1 yards per carry and 81.5 yards per game.

CMU closes its three game road trip next Saturday when it visits Big Ten opponent Northwestern.

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