MAC Coaches Teleconference

After a weekend that saw Buffalo end 18 games of frustration at the hands of the Ohio Bobcats and Ball State come off an ugly loss to Miami by knocking the title hopes out of Toledo, the Mid-American Conference coaches talked with the media on the weekly teleconference on Monday morning.

Brady Hoke, the first year coach of Ball State, was not happy after his team was mauled by Miami the week before, 59-3. He was elated, however, by the 38-14 romp over Toledo that put his 4-4 team into the West Division race by tying Toledo and Northern Illinois for second with a 3-1 mark. "Our greatest opponent is us. As a team," Hoke said, "we talk about our identity, our work ethic and chemistry. We have got to know ourself first and we learned about the work needed in the team game against Miami. I blame myself as well, I did a poor job as a coach getting them ready to play." With a showdown this week with Northern Illinios, a game that may give Ball State second place all alone with a win, Hoke said his team will have to do what it does best. "We got to fight hard. We seemed to fight hard for (quarterback) Talmadge Hill and he will start again."

Buffalo coach Jim Hofher was glad to get a 18-game losing streak off the back of his Bulls with the 28-16 win over Ohio. "It's a tremendous relief," said Hofher, "because of what surrounded losing. Our guys were very hungry and learned a lot about themselves by taking, and holding, a fourth quarter lead. For (us) to win, we have to be close late and tied in the fourth is as close as we can get. It gave us a chance to win."

Marshall's next opponent, Akron, may be in the same boat as the Thundering Herd. Zip quarterback Charlie Frye took a shot in the hip on Saturday's 38-37 loss at UConn, making him doubtful for this week with a hip pointer like MU's Stan Hill (reinjured knee). "Charlie was not able to do anything on Sunday and is back at the doctor today," said Akron coach Lee Owens, "he if very iffy." If Frye, who played the rest of Saturday's game in great pain in a last-second loss to the Huskies, cannot play he will be replaced by Micah Faler. Faler played in three games last season and very little this season but a start would be the first in two years for the fifth-year senior and the first-ever at quarterback (started at wide receiver against Ohio State in 2001).

Greg Brandon of Bowling Green saw his Falcons jump to number 17 (AP) and 20 (coach's) in the polls with a rout of previously unbeaten Northern Illinios by the score of 34-18. "In 2002, we went to Northern and laid an egg. We were not ready for the crowd, Josh (Harris, the BGSU QB) was skitterish<" said Brandon. "This time, the defense played lights out, our crowd was phenominial . The kids were much more poised, having been in hostile environments at Purdue, NIU last year and Ohio State." BGSU is off until Tuesday, November 4, when they travel to Miami for an ESPN2 game against the RedHawks who are also undefeated in the MAC. "(Miami QB Ben) Roethlisburger is a big-time slinger and can pick you apart. We will have to try to keep him off-balance because you cannot stop him. You try to slow him down."

Bob Pruett of Marshall talked about injured quarterback Stan Hill and his replacement, Graham Gochneaur. "Graham is fine, but Stan is day-to-day with a re-strain of his (left) knee," said Pruett. "Stan was hurt on a play where he was untouched. He was not hit at Tennessee (when he originally injured the knee). You have to have great quarterbacks to win in this league and we have two escellent quarterbacks. Both are excellent throwers." Asked about record-setting receiver Darius Watts, he said, "I prejudiced, but I think he is the best receiver in the country. He is awesome." Finally, Pruett praised his defense and the return of his senior running back. "I think we finally played with some consistency. It was also nice to get Butchie Wallace back (from a broken hand). He gave us some quality minutes." Marshall held Western Michigan, the nation's fifth-best passing offense, to 155 yards passing which is over 200 yards under the Broncos per game average, while Wallace scored two touchdowns and rushed for 49 yards on only 11 carries.


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