Frustration has begun to build in Mount Pleasant, Michigan as the Central Michigan Chippewas dropped their sixth straight game after losing to the Eastern Michigan Eagles in a Mid-American Conference matchup.
The Chippewas fell to 1-9 on the season and 0-6 in MAC play following their 17-7 loss to the Eagles on the road at Rynearson Stadium in Ypsilanti, Michigan.
Takeaways from the Chippewas’ loss
2018 for the Chippewas can be summed up in one word – close. They were close to beating Kentucky to open the season before the Wildcats pulled away late. They were close to beating Northern Illinois but the poor first half was too much to overcome. At the end of the day, they were close to coming back at Michigan State. The Chippewas were less than a minute away from beating Ball State before a field goal stunned head coach John Bonamego and company. They have also been competitive and close to that elusive victory in the last two games against Akron and Eastern Michigan.
The Chippewas are close, they can smell victory. They just have to put the final pieces together to taste it.
The offense needs a spark, and his name is Austin Hergott
Sophomore quarterback Tony Poljan started the game under center and was not what the Chippewas needed, he was 10-27 for 39 yards, two fumbles, and an interception. 39 yards, that is a stat that many quarterbacks have in just one drive. The Chippewas mustered just 138 yards of offense, that is woefully short of where the Chippewas need to be.
One of the bright spots was redshirt freshman quarterback Austin Hergott. He came on in relief of Poljan for the Chippewas’ final drive in which they gained three first downs. Hergott looked sharp and made good decisions to help his team move the ball. He ended the day two of five passing for 22 yards and one interception.
Bonamego said after the game that he is considering going to Hergott in at least the Chippewas’ next game against Bowling Green at home (3 p.m. ET, ESPN+) in an effort to give the offense the spark it needs to succeed. This would be a smart move by Bonamego as it gives Hergott an opportunity to gain game experience. The move would also put Poljan in his comfort zone as a pass catcher.
Sometimes defense really is the best offense
Even though the offense could only rack up 138 yards, the reason they were still in the game was the defense. Outside of a couple of big plays on the Eagles’ first drive, the defense was as strong as it has ever been this season.
Senior defensive lineman Sean Adesanya helped produce the biggest play for the Chippewas all season. He sacked Eastern Michigan quarterback Tyler Wiegers that forced a fumble, which junior defensive lineman Mike Danna picked up and rumbled 68 yards to score the Chippewas’ only points of the day.
Danna was a strong point of the defense as he had nine tackles and assisted on a sack of two yards. His return ironically was longer than the total yards that leading rusher, Romello Ross, racked up with just 57 for his day.
The Chippewas are so close to a win
With just two games left in the 2018 campaign for Central Michigan, they are desperate for a win. It is no doubt this has been a down year for the Chippewas. They are a young team and are inexperienced, but they improved from last week’s game against Akron. The defense played better and kept them in the game, but the offense struggled and that was their downfall against the rival Eagles.
If the offense holds up their end of the bargain next week against Bowling Green and can put together a full, 60-minute effort, they will put their team in great position. If the defense performs at the same level, or better than it did against Eastern Michigan, the Chippewas could be in for a well-deserved win.