Week 2 MAC football schedule: Redemption and respect both to be won

Now that we’ve all taken a collective shot of Week 1 football, it’s time for the chaser: the rest of the season.

Last week, five MAC teams came out with wins over FCS teams, Miami lost to Marshall in the G5 vs. G5 standoff and the Power 5 schools swept their MAC foes. Akron ended up not playing due to really bad weather, so there was no loss to Nebraska! Take that, defending national champion head coach Scott Frost!

This week, all of the games are on Saturday. Two teams will play at Big Ten arenas, one will play at Paul Brown Stadium, home of the Cincinnati Bengals, and Ball State plays at Notre Dame. Central Michigan and Northern Illinois both host Power 5 teams, but one of those teams is Utah and the other just lost to an FCS team. (Kansas. It was Kansas who lost to an FCS team. Of course, Kansas.) Also, there’s some flashback MACtion going on with Buffalo’s trip to Temple.

Week 2 schedule

Game Time (ET) TV/Stream
Western Michigan (0-1) at Michigan (0-1) Noon FS1
Eastern Michigan (1-0) at Purdue (0-1) Noon Big Ten Network
Kansas (0-1) at Central Michigan (0-1) 3 p.m. ESPN+
Ball State (1-0) at Notre Dame (0-1) 3:30 p.m. NBC
Buffalo (1-0) at Temple (0-1) 3:30 p.m. ESPN3
Howard (0-1) at Kent State (0-1) 3:30 p.m. ESPN+
Morgan State (0-1) at Akron (0-0) 3:30 p.m. ESPN+
Maryland (1-0) at Bowling Green (0-1) 6 p.m. ESPN+
Utah (1-0) at Northern Illinois (0-1) 6:30 p.m. ESPNews
Cincinnati (1-0) vs. Miami-OH (0-1) at Paul Brown Stadium 8 p.m. Raycom/ESPN3

Bye: Ohio, Toledo

What to watch

Western Michigan at Michigan — As painful as it was to watch from start to finish, the saving grace out of last week’s loss to Syracuse was that there probably won’t be a better offense WMU sees all year. Plus, there’s a difference between WMU’s new-ish defense seeing a Syracuse offense in Week 1 instead of some other team that wouldn’t make you take the LSAT on the first day of school.

This week will be the best defense WMU will face all year and the Broncos still have to face the EMU and NIU defenses, too. (Luckily, the Broncos will have both at home). I’m expecting WMU to not win this game by a pretty convincing margin, so let’s preview three figures to watch for when it’s tiome to read the box score.

  1. First downs. Assuming WMU can get in the neighborhood of 12-13 drives in the contest (par for the course with most football games), can the Broncos get in the 20s? If WMU gets as many as 24, averaging two first downs per drive, then that means there’s some consistency going on one way or another.
  2. Jon Wassink pass attempts. Probably a cop-out, but it wouldn’t surprise me if WMU wanted to run the ball a lot and keep passing to a minimum. If this game ends up being pretty one-sided early on and this figure is anything north of 30, that would be interesting. Tim Lester likes a balanced offense in a typical game, but this sounds like a game he’d rather have the running backs eat up some clock.
  3. WMU tackles for loss. That defense looked atrocious early on against Syracuse. The WMU defensive line needs to make plays and the best way to do that is to move the Michigan offense back every once in a while. Plus, it’s a good way to build some optimism.

Eastern Michigan at Purdue — Upset in the making? The Eagle offense looked good against Monmouth which isn’t hard to do, but there’s a lot of talent at quarterback.

One thing you can get away with against Monmouth that EMU won’t be able to in West Lafayette, Ind. is juggling the quarterbacks the way Chris Creighton did. It’s hard to imagine anybody but Tyler Wiegers getting the majority of the snaps and the passes (again), and his 18-for-21 debut is worth fawning over, even just a little bit. What that looks like against this Big Ten defense remains to be seen, but Purdue did just give up 31 points to Northwestern, so there’s definitely a chance here.

EMU’s defense is really good, but so is this kid:

Kansas at Central Michigan — There is no agree or disagree here. CMU is just the better team in this game. Should CMU not win this game, then that’d be an upset because Kansas is a bad football team.

Ball State at Notre Dame — This could end up getting ugly, but it’ll probably be one of those “Well Ball State’s looking pretty decent in the first quarter, so I’ll watch as long as this stays close” sort of games. The Cardinals held Central Connecticut State to a shutout for most of last week’s season opener, but CCSU doesn’t have Brandon Winbush.

Still, for as young and promising as the defense is, it’ll be interesting if and where plays are being made. If there’s good play out of the defensive backs, considering the quarterback on the other side, that’ll be a positive sign coming out of South Bend.

Buffalo at Temple — Temple lost to an FCS team to open up its season, now the Owls are two-point favorites over Buffalo, who didn’t lose to an FCS team last week. Granted, Villanova’s a really solid FCS team that edged Temple and Buffalo beat up a lesser Delaware State team, but Buffalo probably has more than enough offensive explosion from its passing attack to give Temple some fits.

Alternatively, this game is only a special teams gaffe or two away from this becoming a coin-flip.

Howard at Kent State — This time last week, there was no way, no how, this matchup would’ve been something to seriously pique my interest. I’ll be giving this game attention no matter what, but Howard played like a pretty good team last week in Peden Stadium.

This is actually going to be a good game and I’m totally here for the potential chaos.

Morgan State at Akron — Akron went to Nebraska last week and didn’t lose. I don’t see how they can’t beat Morgan State at home with all that momentum.

Kidding, obviously. Let’s see what Kato Nelson’s completion percentage looks like against a lesser defense.

Maryland at Bowling Green — Bowling Green opened up last week’s contest with two straight three-and-outs on defense before things got ugly against Oregon. But consider this: a 30-point second quarter was where the majority of the damage against BG’s still-developing defense was definitely the worst of things. (Oregon’s also breaking in a new offense with a new head coach, but I digress.)

After seeing the way Maryland freshman Jeshaun Jones opened up his career against Texas last week, I’m curious to see how BG gameplans for Jones’ ability and how the secondary defends him.

Utah at Northern Illinois — Sure Utah should beat up on a Weber State team whenever that bridge gets crossed, but the Utah defense, on average, surrendered only 1.1 yards per play! Sure, there’s only so much you can take away out of Week 1 performances, but after seeing Iowa beat up on NIU last week in a 33-7 tilt, I’m not very sold on the Huskies to move the ball much against Utah. Sure, the Huskies were (and still will be) without wide receiver Spencer Tears and tight end Mitchell Brinkman on offense due to suspensions, but that doesn’t excuse the offensive line from giving up play after play in the backfield.

The defense otherwise looked just fine against Iowa. But this NIU program should be much better than giving its home fans a letdown on offense, even if Utah’s defense ends up being damn fine. Who’s going to step up, though?

Cincinnati vs. Miami-OH — Let me know when something actually changes with Miami’s play on the field. Until then, Cincinnati’s bound to win its 13th straight game over the RedHawks.

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