ORDER OF FINISH:
9-4 (7-2) 1. *Bowling Green 9-4
8-4 (6-2) 2. Toledo
3. Miami (Ohio)
8-4 (6-2) 3. Northern
Illinois 7-5 (6-2)
8-4 (6-2) 4. Western Michigan 7-5
3-9 (2-6) 5. Ball State 4-8 (3-5)
6. Kent State
2-10 (1-7) 6. Eastern
Michigan 3-9 (1-7)
1-11 (0-8) 7. Central Michigan 2-10
Green over UCF in the MAC Championship
likely to surprise:
Akron… The Zips return 47 lettermen from a team that went
4-8, but showed great forward momentum as the season moved along.
They have everyone back on offense, and their defense got progressively
better down the 2002 stretch. If the Zips can catch an upset over
two of the three bullies in the East, they could be sitting pretty
by November’s end.
likely to disappoint:
Marshall… I hate to say it Herd fans, but this could be the
first time in six years the green boys don’t go bowling. Chalk
it up to a thick load of competition in both the East and the
MAC in the general. Road trips to Kalamazoo, Oxford, and Orlando
(in three of four games) spell doom.
4. Miami (Ohio)
OFF. BACKFIELD: Central Florida (QB Schneider, TB Haynes, FB D.Brown… backups- TB K.Williams, TB P.J.
Smith, TB Wilcox, QB Rivera)
(WR Watts, WR J.Davis, WR Schroeder, TE Rader… backups- WR Manns,
WR Guillory, WR Hargrove, TE Deifel, WR Bates, WR H.Moore, TE
O-LINE: Toledo (OT
Kaczur, OG Randolph, C Odenthal, OG Wakeman, OT Faasen… backups-
OG Dirksen, OT Jarbou, OG J. Anderson, OT Aguwa, C Adebesin)
(DE Goddard, DT T.Brown, DT R.Hayes, DE J.Martin… backups- DE
Hairston, DT Sinclair, DE McKinney, DT Hicks)
LINEBACKERS: Northern Illinois (SLB Atkinson, MLB Duffy, WLB Strothman… backups- MLB J.Hawkins, WLB J.Lee,
SLB Hutton, SLB McLearen)
BACKS: Toledo (CB
Malone, CB Hefflin, ROV K.Jackson, FS Body… backups- ROV Dye,
CB Martin, FS Landrum, CB Flowers, ROV Broussard)
SPECIAL TEAMS: Northern Illinois (PK Azar, P Gallagher, KR Drew, KR Turner*, PR Sheldon)
* note- Turner
may not be used as KR to preserve his energy for offense
Chappy’s 2003 All-MAC Team
QB Ryan Schneider
Turner (sr)- NIU
RB Bob Hendry
FB Dan Basch
Watts (sr)- MARSHALL
Thomas (sr)- WMU
TE Matt Brandt
(sr)- MIAMI (OH)
OT Nick Kaczur
OG David Ashkinaz
C Todd Ghilani
OG Derek McLaughlin
OT Nate McPeek
DE Jason Babin
Johnson (sr)- UCF
Brown (sr)- MARSHALL
DE Jamus Martin
Scott (sr)- BALL ST
ILB Nick Duffy
Lusky (sr)- EMU
Dodrill (jr)- TOLEDO
Drew (sr)- NIU
Patton (sr)- BOWLING GREEN
FS Mark Graham
SS Keon Jackson
KO Todd Soderquist
(rsf)- MIAMI (OH)
PK Steve Azar
P David Rysko
KR C.R. Roberson
PR Dan Sheldon
MVP: QB Ryan Schneider - UCF
MVP: OLB Brock Dodrill - TOLEDO
MVP: PK Steve Azar - NIU
NEWCOMER: WR Mike Walker (fr) - UCF
NEWCOMER: LB Anthony Rogers (fr) - CMU
TOUGHEST SCHEDULE: Marshall…Yep.
The ‘Herd get Tennessee, Toledo and Kansas State in three consecutive
games, with only Toledo coming to Huntington. They must also play
a road game against a better-than-perceived Troy State team. After
coasting by Kent State and Buffalo, they finish the year against
Western Michigan, Miami (Ohio) and UCF on the road, with home
games against Akron and Ohio. See why it’s hard for me to pick
them to repeat?
WEAKEST SCHEDULE: Akron… The
Zips seemingly self-describe just what is on their plate. Aside
from Wisconsin and UConn, their other non-cons consist of I-AA
teams Howard and Cal-Poly. They get Eastern and Central Michigan
in their cross-sectionals, and MAC East favorite UCF at home.
Any less than five wins is inexcusable, Mr. Lee Owens.
STAFF: Marshall… Bob Pruett
has done wonders with the great Marshall program he inherited,
going 80-13 since stepping in for Jim Donnan eight years ago.
He’s proven to be a motivator, a cultivator, and a dominator thus
far in MAC play. Though it has been shuffled around a bit during
his tenure, the staff he carries is just as talented, collectively.
OC is Mark McHale and DC is Bill Wilt, who has been working with
that side of the ball since ’99. Another man who is key (sometimes
goes unnoticed) is Associate Head Coach Mark Gale. Altogether,
this group knows what they’re doing, which translates directly
into on-field success.
Marshall QB Stan Hill. Since the beginning of the 90s, Marshall QBs have proven
they can win, regardless of starting experience. Marshall has ALWAYS
been in the MAC Championship game since its inclusion in ’97, and
they (fans, coaches, and players) don’t expect to stop now. So whose
job is it to make sure that doesn’t happen? Ole #4.
TO GAIN: Toledo WHIP Brock Dodrill. At a position that seems to have so much room and
freedom to fly around the field, Brock is just the right guy. A
former walk-on, Dodrill has great football instincts and corner-like
speed. He eventually worked his way to a scholarship and a starting
role last season as a key member of that MAC West champion squad.
He will be one of the most important defenders on the Rocket defense
this year and should turn in big numbers for UT.
OVERRATED: Kent State
QB Joshua Cribbs. Is he dangerous?
You’re damn right - when he’s running the football. He started
his career off in pretty impressive fashion, averaging nearly six
yards per carry and throwing for a 2/1 TD/INT ratio as a freshman.
Last season, the rushing numbers improved, but the passing numbers
were horrid. His TD/INT ratio plummeted to 1/3 - not good. I am
not questioning Joshua’s athletic gifts, but I am questioning
his status as one of the MAC’s best QBs. Prove me wrong, Joshua.
UNDERRATED: Miami (Ohio) SS Matt Pusateri.
An athletic safety who can hit, Pusateri has led the Red Hawks
in tackles his first two years with the program. So where’s the
press?! I can see if his name isn’t the first to get thrown on
preseason All- MAC charts, but why doesn’t it come up on the 2nd
or 3rd teams? Folks, this guy can flat out play. Matt,
I got much love for ya bro. The rest of you should too!
NOBODY KNOWS: Buffalo FS Mark Graham. Maybe its because he plays at Buffalo, but this guy
is a star whom nobody seems to notice. In his (three-year) career
at UB, he has acquired 182 tackles, 11 INTs and 22 pass-breakups.
He has quietly become one of the better secondary defenders in
the MAC and performs well on a consistent basis. With more experience
around him this season, he should be set for an honorable campaign.
TOP GAMES OF THE YEAR:
Nov. 19th Marshall at UCF
Nov. 28th Toledo at BOWLING GREEN
Nov. 28th Miami (Ohio) at UCF
Nov. 15th Northern Illinois at TOLEDO
Nov. 12th MARSHALL at Miami (Ohio)
(team in ITAL-CAPS
is Chappy’s pick to win)