CMU Enters Bye Week on Three Game Win Streak

MOUNT PLEASANT - The Central Michigan University football team will have a little extra time to enjoy one of its best overall performances of the season.

The Chippewas were a model of efficiency in Saturday's 37-10 Homecoming win over Ohio. The offense put together five scoring drives, none of which were longer than 75 seconds, while the defense played arguably its most physical game of the season. Ohio's offense was held to 297 total yards and turned the ball over three times. Even the special teams units got into the act, as Damien Linson ran a punt back 78 yards for a score.

Central Michigan's offense set the tone early, as Kent Smith hit Jacob Brown for 50 yards on the game's first play, then three snaps later found Justin Harper for a 10-yard touchdown. For the game, the offense posted eight plays of 19 yards or longer.

"That's what happens when you get balance within the spread offense," said second-year head coach Brian Kelly. "Teams are now having to put seven players in the box against us, which provides us some of those quick-strike opportunities. It's important for us to get off to a good start in order to build momentum."

Defensively, CMU has not allowed a touchdown in the second half for four straight games.

"The number one thing is, we're very fit physically," Kelly said. "And, we're playing a lot of players, which allows us to be in a higher gear in the second half. We're also really doing a good job with gameplan preparation. Mike Elston and Bob Diaco are doing a great job preparing and getting the kids ready to compete."

CMU will take this Saturday off before closing the regular season with four straight games against West Division opponents. Given the Chippewas' play over the past three weeks, some would argue that CMU would be better served to skip the bye week and just keep playing. Kelly, however, is welcoming the off-week with open arms.

"The kids are playing the way they are going to play the rest of the year," Kelly said. "We are who we are. Now we have the opportunity to play for a championship over the final month.

"The timing of the bye is good because it allows us to get our legs back under us," he added. "With the extra time, we're able to get a jump on our Toledo preparation and our coaches will get some recruiting done. And, it gives our kids a chance to get caught up on some classwork."

CMU will work out every day this week, with practices later in the week focusing on special teams. Strength and conditioning coach Paul Longo will also put the Chippewas through a series of weight room and conditioning drills. The players will have Saturday and Sunday off before beginning preparations for Toledo next Monday.

Following the bye, CMU welcomes Toledo and Northern Illinois to Kelly/Shorts Stadium on Oct. 29 and Nov. 5, respectively. CMU then closes the regular season with road trips to Western Michigan (Nov. 12) and Ball State (Nov. 19).

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