79. CMU’s defense fairly impressive last year

The Central Michigan defense played pretty strong last year. It was fourth in the league in total defense (370.8 yards per game allowed) that had more interceptions (19) than passing touchdowns allowed (16) and tied for fourth with Eastern Michigan on rush defense with 4.32 yards per carry allowed.

Led by Joe Ostman, CMU got in the backfield quite a bit, as shown by 79 total tackles for loss — third-most in the Mid-American Conference. Ostman tied with Northern Illinois’ Sutton Smith for most sacks in the nation with 14 and his 20.5 tackles behind the line of scrimmage was good for seventh place, nationally.

Without someone with Ostman’s pedigree, of course this CMU is taking a hit on defense. Of the players coming back, three recorded 8.5 tackles for loss last year, one with seven and the rest had a combined 10 TFL in 2017.

Name POS Class GP Tackles (solo) TFL, yards Sacks
Mike Danna DE R-Jr. 13 54 (31) 8.5, -46 4
Alex Briones LB Sr. 13 83 (55) 8.5 -32 3
Nate Brisson-Fast DT R-Sr. 13 36 (24) 8.5, -24 5.5
Mitch Stanitzek DE Sr. 13 39 (27) 7, -31 3.5
D’Andre Dill NT Jr. 11 25 (21) 4, -10 1
Malik Fountain LB R-Jr. 13 89 (55) 2.5, -4 0
Michael Oliver LB R-Jr. 9 68 (41) 2, -3 0
Da’Quaun Jamison CB R-Jr. 13 33 (24) 1, -1 0
Trevor Apsey LB R-Sr. 12 20 (12) 0.5, -5 0.5
Sean Bunting CB Jr. 13 49 (34) 0.5, 0 0

While Ostman is difficult to replace, there’s still plenty of damage being done up front by the returning pieces to give the Chippewas a chance. It’ll all come down to whether or not depth at defensive line turns into a noticeable issue as the season progresses, but that, of course, remains to be unseen.

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