The Central Michigan Chippewas dropped their fifth straight game to fall to 1-8, 0-5 Mid-American Conference after falling to the Akron Zips in InfoCision Stadium in Akron, Ohio.
Takeaways from Central Michigan’s loss
CMU’s 17-10 loss to the Zips was another version of heartbreak for Chippewa fans as they tried to make a comeback but were again unsuccessful in doing so. The Chippewas have not been able to put together a full, 60-minute game yet this season. They have played strong in the first half and fallen apart in the second half.
The Chippewa offense needs to put together a whole game
Multiple media outlets reported that junior quarterback Tommy Lazarro had suffered a season-ending leg injury in last week’s rivalry game against the Western Michigan Broncos just moments before kickoff. Sophomore quarterback Tony Poljan, who started the year under center, started the game. The offense was poor, and the defense held up as best as it could, but it struggled in the first half.
The second half was significantly better for Poljan and company. He scored CMU’s lone touchdown midway through the third quarter with a one-yard sneak to bring the score to 17-10. Poljan made more happen with his legs whether it was a keeper or a scramble to throw. Poljan’s legs helped the Chippewas stay competitive.
Poljan threw for 19-37 for 169 yards through the air and he displayed a quality that he struggled with in his first three starts of the season – throwing the ball down the field.
Many of his throws in the past were check downs because he would panic. Poljan made a number of decent throws down the field today. There were some throws that were ill-advised, but there were a few that were sharp and helped the offense.
As the season begins to hit the final stretch, the Chippewas’ offense needs to put together a full, 60-minute game. They need to play the way they did the second half, for the entire game.
John Bonamego needs to dip into his true freshmen
The NCAA established a new rule this year that any player could play in no more than four games and not be tagged for a year of eligibility.
Head coach John Bonamego has a lot of true freshmen talent towards the bottom of the depth chart. Now is the time for him to let that talent run wild and see what it can do to help the offense. The unit needs a spark, 300 yards of total offense just simply is not enough to win football games.
Utilizing the new redshirt rule should be a good way for Bonamego to change up his offense.
The offense needs to utilize the deep ball
Poljan showed in various points during the game that he can throw the ball downfield. The ground game has been stagnant outside of a few great bursts. The deep ball is there for the taking for the Chippewas, but the lack of confidence and experience for Poljan hurts.
Poljan’s decision making needs to rely on moving the ball downfield. Too often this season he has hit the check down receiver or made an ill-advised throw. The play that sticks out is the 4th and 19 with less than two minutes to play. Poljan felt pressure quickly and threw a pass that would realistically have gained about 10 yards, over his receiver’s head.
The Chippewas look to turn the ship around next Saturday when they hit the road again next Saturday. They will take on the Eastern Michigan Eagles at Rynearson Stadium in Ypsilanti, Michigan.
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