The week of the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl is finally here and the Wyoming Cowboys, 7-5 (MWC 5-3) are making their final preparations to take on the Central Michigan Chippewas. Central Michigan comes into the game with an 8-4 (MAC 6-2) record and has won the last five games in a row.
The Branding Iron was able to catch up Central Michigan Life, the CMU student media outlet, to talk with their sports writer Andrew McDonald who has been covering Central Michigan for this past season.
McDonald was able to give some insight on the Central Michigan team allowing us to become more familiar with the opponent.
Branding Iron: What town are you from in Michigan?
McDonald: Mount Pleasant, Michigan. It is located in the center of the state.
BI: Who are the top two offensive weapons for Central Michigan?
M: The top offensive weapons, if you don’t count the quarterback, is wide receiver, Corey Willis. He has been a playmaker his whole career. Against Western Michigan, Central’s biggest rival, CM was down by 14 points and Willis was able to catch the game-winning touchdown to help finish the comeback. The touchdown was from over 70 yards away. He is definitely one of the best playmakers CM has right now. The other one outside of the receiving corps would be Johnathan Ward. He is a sophomore that towards the end of the season had been able to turn it up and has had consistent 100 rushing yards per game during the five-game win streak. He is also a great receiver allowing him to have a lot of all-purpose yards. Those are the two guys outside of quarterback Shane Morris.
BI: Who are some of the top defensive players for Central Michigan?
M: Josh Cox is a senior cornerback that has stepped up. The secondary in general has been able to force a lot of interceptions this season and you need to watch out for them in general. Sean Bunting as well has been able to do really well in the secondary. Joe Ostman is a senior defensive end that has been doing really well and a guy to watch out for. Currently, he is top ten in the country for sacks with 12 of them. He has been a factor in getting to the quarterback. Alex Briones has been the best linebacker this year but the strength has been in the secondary.
BI: Who is the x-factor type player you might have?
M: It would be Shane Morris. He is a transfer quarterback from Michigan. Harbaugh told him he should probably transfer this year since he was not looking at a lot of playing time heading into his senior year. Morris took it the right way and has been the guy since day one at Central Michigan. Never had a chance to play at Michigan and was highly recruited out of high school. He came here and had a veteran group of wideouts to throw to. He was able to throw seven touchdowns against Kansas then his receivers got hurt and he looked a little lost. The entire offense goes through him. When Morris is on, he has all of his receivers around him, and the offense gets in a rhythm. Central Michigan is very dangerous.
BI: What were some top moments from this year?
M: Early on against Kansas was good because they were able to beat a team in a power five conference. They struggled at first during the year but beating Western and Eastern Michigan was huge for the team. Since they bear both they were able to win the Michigan MAC trophy. Especially beating Western Michigan this year after the year they had last year was huge. This game is our biggest rival and you can feel it when you attend the game between these two teams. How they were able to come back and win the game was amazing to see. Toward the end of the season, they were down 17-0 to Northern Illinois, arguably the second-best team in the conference, and they were able to come back and win that game also thanks to a touch down by Corey Willis.