Chippewas Try to Rebound at Toledo

MOUNT PLEASANT - Central Michigan University will meet its third straight Mid-American Conference powerhouse this Saturday when it plays at the University of Toledo. Kickoff in the Glass Bowl is set for 7 p.m.

The Rockets, a perennial contender for MAC football laurels, are 4-0 in MAC West action and stand 5-2 for the season.

Central Michigan enters the contest on a two-game losing skid and owns a 1-2 MAC mark and a 2-4 overall record.

Chippewa mentor Brian Kelly is impressed with the Rockets.

"Toledo has skilled players at every position," Kelly said. "I would put Toledo's skill level right up there with that of Michigan State.

"But, I love the challenge. It's a great one but we're going to go to Toledo and give it everything we have."

CMU lost its last outing, 42-10, at another undefeated MAC foe, Northern Illinois. The Chippewas trailed by a 7-3 margin at the half but wilted under a 28-0 Huskie third period.

"We obviously came prepared and ready to play," Kelly said. "A couple of plays on special teams turned the momentum around.

"We'll just keep on practicing and keep banging on the wall. It'll come down one day but we just have to keep on banging. I won't question the effort of this team, though. We were still battling until the end of the game."

CMU's next home game is an Oct. 30 showdown with rival Western Michigan University. Kickoff is set for 1 p.m.



The Coaches

Central Michigan -- Brian Kelly (Assumption, 1983). Career record: 119-39-2 (13th year). CMU record: 2-4, first year.

Toledo -- Tom Amstutz (Toledo, 1977). Career record: 32-13. UT record: same.



The Series

Toledo holds a 16-13-3 lead in the series that began in 1928 with a 13-0 Chippewa win.

The Rockets have won nine in a row. CMU's last victory came in 1994 by a 45-27 margin.

CMU's last win in Toledo came in 1993 by a 38-7 count.



Scouting Toledo

The Rockets are on a five-game winning streak after opening the season with losses of 63-21 at Minnesota and a 63-14 setback at Kansas.

Since then, UT has averaged 45.8 points per game and held it opponents to 21.9 points.

Toledo leads the MAC in total offense (477.9) and is 10th in total defense (430.0). UT leads in pass offfense (316.0), stands second in scoring offense (37.7) and fifth in rushing offense (161.9).

QB Bruce Gradkowski is first in the MAC in pass efficiency (181.5), second in passing (293.9 yards) and third in total offense (304.7).

He's completed on 153-of-210 passes for 2,057 yards and 18 TDs.

Lance Moore is fourth in the MAC in receptions with 47 for 553 yards and seven scores while Kenny Higgins (30 for 507 and five TDs) and Steve Odom (27 for 422 and three) are also in the top 20.



Chippewa Training Room

Eric Tunney (defensive tackle), is out for the season with a leg injury.



`Bam Bam' Rolls On

After gaining one yard in two carries against Southeast Missouri because of an injury, Jerry "Bam Bam" Seymour has broken the 100-yard barrier in the last three outings including 140 yards in 25 carries against Northern Illinois.

The 5-6, 190-pounder now has 12 100-yard games in 15 career games. He finished the 2003 season with five straight 100-yard games and five of six games this season.

Seymour, with career highs in yards (207) and rushes (36) in a win over Eastern Michigan in 2003, was named first team Freshman All-America by The Sporting News. He was a second team All-MAC pick.

Below are his 100-yard outings:

2003

•New Hampshire 166 in 27

•E. Kentucky 116 in 25

•UCF 114 in 17

•EMU 207 in 36

Akron 105 in 19

•WMU 162 in 27

Navy 154 in 33

2004

Indiana 111 in 21

•Michigan State 164 in 26

Kent State 131 in 28

Bowling Green 155 in 28

•Northern Illinois 140 in 25



Seymour Shows Versatility

Jerry Seymour is not only CMU's leading rusher but he's also its second receiver with 19 grabs for 178 yards. Kieft Draws Attention

All-American candidate offensive tackle Adam Kieft continues to draw rave reviews from opposing coaches and NFL scouts.

While helping Jerry Seymour rush for five 100-yard games this fall, the 6-7, 328-pound senior has moved himself into a high draft choice.

"The scouts love him," said CMU head coach Brian Kelly. "He has been a dominant performer in every game we've had this season."

Bowling Green coach Gregg Brandon said: "That number 70 can block out the sun -- he's just massive. He's one heck of a football player."



Smith Improving

Junior quarterback Kent Smith has continued to show steady improvement this season.

In fact, Smith's showing at Northern Illinois drew plaudits from CMU head coach Brian Kelly.

"Kent threw the ball well considering how bad the conditions were," said Kelly. "He had a number of his passes dropped, too. He's getting better and better each week."

Smith was 12-of-21 for 115 yards and one TD in the wind and cold at NIU.

The 6-5, 210-pounder has rushed for five touchdowns in the past four games and passed for four more in those games.

Smith's stats in his five starts:

•Michigan State, 10-of-30 for 93 yards and nine rushes for 52 yards

•SEMO, 17-of-30 for 303 (two TDs) and seven for 29 (two)

•Kent State, 15-of-28 for 143 (one) and 10 for 38 (two)

•Bowling Green, 17-of-30 for 181 and eight for 23 (one)

•Northern Illinois, 12-of-21 for 115 (one) and nine for 50

After lettering in 2002, Smith did not play last fall. He completed 10-of-32 passes that season for 96 yards and a TD and ran for 106 more and another score.

Smith's start at Michigan State was his first since the final game of the 2002 season when CMU lost a 35-10 home decision to WMU.


Chippewas Insider Top Stories