Chippewas Eye First Win at Michigan State

MOUNT PLEASANT - Central Michigan University will look to collect its first win of the 2004 football season this Saturday when it heads to Michigan State University for a nonconference matchup at noon.

The game will be televised live on ESPN Plus with Greg Coshun handling the play-by-play and John Cooper the color.

Both teams enter the contest on the heels of road losses -- the Spartans dropping a 19-14 decision at Rutgers and the Chippewas a 41-10 setback at Indiana.

Central Michigan looks to rekindle a little of the magic that it had in the early 1990s when it defeated MSU twice -- 20-3 in 1991 and 24-20 in '92.

New Chippewa head coach Brian Kelly, however, doesn't think those wins will have much to do with this year's game.

"The past doesn't influence the present," Kelly said. "Most of our kids were in grade school when those games were played."

While disappointed with the results at Indiana, Kelly is looking forward to the opportunity to play the Spartans.

"We gave great effort at Indiana but we did not go there just to give great effort," Kelly said. "We just flat out didn't execute, our special teams were poor and the defense couldn't get off the field because of Indiana's play on third downs (11-of-14).

"The biggest thing I'm asking my football team is not to lose the same way again. If we improve in every one of those categories, we'll have a great chance to go to MSU and get a win."

Kelly was pleased with the play of 5-6 sophomore tailback Jerry Seymour but he's looking for more help.

"I was not surprised with Jerry's play," said Kelly. "He's our one playmaker right now and we have to find a way to take the load off him.

"We need some of our receivers to step up and make some plays. We also need to solidify the quarterback position. We need to find somebody to run the offense."

Senior Grant Arnoldink and junior Kent Smith shared the job at Indiana and may do so again at Michigan State.

"We'll likely play them both again," Kelly said. "Arnoldink practiced better than he played and Smith played better than he practiced."

The Chippewas will open the home season on Saturday, Sept. 18, with Southeast Missouri. After an open date on Sept. 25, CMU jumps into the Mid-American Conference slate with a pair of home games with Kent State (Oct. 2) and Bowling Green (Oct. 9).

The Coaches

Central Michigan -- Brian Kelly (Assumption, 1983). Career record: 118-36-2 (13 years). CMU record: 0-1, first year.

Michigan State -- John L. Smith (Weber State, 1971). Career record: 118-66 (16 years). MSU record: 8-6, second year.

The Series

The Chippewas won the first two meetings ever between the two schools, claiming wins of 20-3 over the No. 18-ranked Spartans in 1991 and 24-20 in 1992.

However, MSU has won the last three meetings: 48-34 in 1993; 39-7 in 1998; and 35-21 in 2001.

Current CMU athletics director Herb Deromedi coached the Chippewas to both wins.

The Spartans opened their 2004 season with a 19-14 loss at Rutgers.

MSU gained 90 yards on the ground and 270 passing for 360 yards in total offense while the Scarlet Knights had 415 yards in offense (174 rushing and 241 passing).

Damon Dowdell started at QB and completed 22-of-39 passes for 270 and one interception. He did complete two passes for TDs. Matt Trannon caught five passes for 77 yards and RB Jason Teague five for 49 yards. Teague also rushed for 79 yards in 13 carries.

Chippewa Training Room

Eric Tunney (defensive tackle), out indefinitely with a leg injury.

Leython Williams (linebacker), questionable with a leg injury.

Jemmy Jasmin (wide receiver), questionable with a leg injury.

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