The Central Michigan Chippewas had a tough start to 2013 when star running back, Zurlon Tipton, broke his ankle early in the 59-9 loss to Michigan on August 31st. It was thought that he'd be out for the rest of the season, and then...well, he did return.
How They Did
|8/31||@ Michigan||L 59-9|
|9/7||New Hampshire||W 24-21|
|9/14||@ UNLV||L 31-21|
|9/28||@ North Carolina State||L 48-14|
|10/5||@ Miami (OH)||W 21-9|
|10/12||@ Ohio||W 26-23|
|10/19||Northern Illinois||L 38-17|
|11/6||@ Ball State||L 44-24|
|11/16||@ Western Michigan||W 27-22|
Versus Michigan: Kicker Ron Coluzzi was the lone scorer for the Chips this day; his longest being from 33 yards. Two wideouts for Central, Titus Davis and Andrew Flory, combined for 114 yards on seven receptions and were the only other bright spots on an otherwise bleak day for the Chippewas. That's about it for the positive stuff on CMU. In addition to the Chips losing Zurlon Tipton to the ankle injury, starting QB Cody Kater broke his clavicle during the Michigan game and was replaced by sophomore Alex Niznak. Niznak was later replaced with Cooper Rush.
When Michigan had the ball: it was on. The Wolverines' 59 points was the most in a home opener since 1905's match-up against Ohio Wesleyan (65-0). Devin Gardner's 10/15, 162 yards, and one TD were okay, but the two INTs were where fans got a little testy. One area where we as fans got relatively excited was the fact that seemingly every single running back on the team was given a chance to run the ball. Overall, the running attack was balanced with Derrick Green and Fitz Toussaint gaining 58 and 57 yards, respectively. The passing game for Michigan was also balanced as Gallon had 47 yards, and Funchess also had 47 yards (coming on only two receptions).
Highlights below. Note DG's comments at about 2:54 on making bad throws and being happy to get them out of his system. I had to try very hard not to cry at that point in the video. Key word: try.
Best Win: it's hard to decide what is a best win for Central Michigan. They beat a team that finished the season 10-5, but that team was New Hampshire, an FCS squad (to be fair, UNH did lose to North Dakota State in the FCS Semifnal). Looking for a quality FBS win, and the only one would be the Ohio Bobcats (7-6). The combined win total of the teams that Central beat was 21.
Worst Loss: Don't say Michigan, don't say Michigan, don't say Michigan. The win total of the teams who beat Central was 46, but the loss that sticks out was to a North Carolina State team that went 3-9, and whose best win was against a 6-6 FCS Richmond team...and they won that game by only two points.
So the Chips went 6-6 (5-3 MAC) under head coach Dan Enos, which was disappointing to the CMU fanbase considering the fact that Zurlon Tipton was perhaps the best running back in the MAC, and his presence could have led to two more wins. In addition to losing Tipton for most of the season, they received no help from the quarterback issues. Cooper Rush had a good year from a yardage standpoint, throwing for 2,349 yards for a 213.5 ypg average, but his 15 TDs were accompanied by 15 INTs.
Even with six wins, the team was not invited to a bowl game. It's pretty obvious why.
Outlook for 2014
Replacing Tipton is going to be priority number one for Dan Enos and his staff. If one looks at the numbers Tipton had in 2012--1,492 yards (5.9 ypc) and 18 TDs--and compares to his limited performance in 2013, it's easy to see that 2013's pace of 388 yards and eight touchdowns in the last four games of the season could have eventually matched or surpassed 2012's stats.
Central Michigan will be okay with Cooper Rush returning at quarterback, but the key return for this team is wide receiver Titus Davis. Davis announced that his 61 receptions, 1,109 yards, and 8 touchdowns will return for a senior season.
Do they play Michigan in 2014?
No. Instead of the Chippewas, Michigan will face Appalachian State (4-8, 4-4) on August 30th. Why? God only knows.