Michigan Football Preview 2013

2013 Michigan Football Preview

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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1 central michigan • aug. 31 Chippewas Are Trying To Build Off Bowl Bid C By Ryan Tice entral Michigan surprised everyone last year when it finished 7-6, thanks to a victory over Western Kentucky in the Little Caesar's Pizza Bowl. However, reaching a bowl in consecutive years for the first time since qualifying for four straight from 2006-09 will be quite the challenge for Chippewas, who will play at Michigan, UNLV and NC State in the first five weeks of the season. The good news is that Central Michigan returns star running back Zurlon Tipton, who totaled 1,492 yards and 19 scores on the ground last season, and wide receiver Titus Davis, who led the team with 860 yards and eight touchdowns through the air in 2012. Tipton ranked 13th nationally in rushing yards and 15th in scoring (12.0 points per contest) en route to team MVP laurels. Meanwhile, four of the top five receivers who tallied double-digit receptions last season are back, led by Davis. CMU also returns a pair of offensive line starters from a year ago in sophomore center Nick Beamish, who was in the opening lineup for every game last fall, and junior left guard Andy Phillips, a veteran of 18 consecutive starts. Sixth-year tackle Jake Players To Watch OFFENSE: Zurlon Tipton, 5th-Sr., RB — After battling injuries that limited him to seven games in 2011, Tipton earned second-team All-MAC honors in 2012 … He was also named team MVP after he rushed for 1,492 yards and 19 scores; he also scored a touchdown via reception … Ranked in the nation's top 20 for rushing yards (14th) and points per game (9.2, 20th) … Ended the campaign with seven consecutive 100-yard contests. DEFENSE: Shamari Benton, 5th-Sr., LB — The fifthyear senior ended last season on a high note, earning Little Caesars' Pizza Bowl Lineman of the Game honors after he posted nine tackles in the win over Western Kentucky … Ranked 24th nationally with 126 tackles, and paced the team in solo stops (54) and fumble recoveries (two) … Has 196 tackles in 32 games played. Olson is also back after he but there is optimism that the suffered a season-ending team will boast its finest deinjury last year following fensive line in the Dan Enos two starts. He has started era. True sophomore Jabari 26 games and is expected to Dean started 10 games last take over on the blind side season, and the CMU Defor Eric Fisher, who was fensive Rookie of the Year the No. 1 overall pick in the is a promising athlete. Junior 2013 NFL Draft. tackle Leterrius Walton, who The offensive front was finished second on the team very good last year, helpwith 2.5 sacks in 2012, will ing CMU average 6.2 yards pair with Dean to give the per play (No. 2 in the Midsquad a formidable inside American Conference) and pairing, but they must find score 30 or more points in new starters at both ends. 10 contests, while allowing At linebacker, senior just 15 sacks, which ranked Shamari Benton and junior Wide receiver Titus Davis was No. 17 nationally. a second-team All-MAC pick in Justin Cherocci are back. However, the offense 2012 after pulling in 43 catches The duo combined for 258 must find a new trigger- for 860 yards and eight touch- tackles last year, while man following the loss of downs. Cherocci led the way with photo courtesy central michigan 132 stops, including 2.5 for quarterback Ryan Radcliff. Junior Cody Kater, a former transfer from loss, and Benton totaled 1.5 tackles for loss, Grand Rapids Community College, is the faan interception and two fumble recoveries. vorite to win the job, although he attempted On the back line, Central Michigan must just four passes as Radcliff's backup last replace three-time All-MAC safety Jahleel season. Addae, but three experienced athletes reThe defense will be led by the back seven, turn. Senior safety Avery Cuningham was a playmaker last season — in 13 starts, he finished fourth on the team with 88 tackles, and Quick Facts also tallied six tackles for loss, two sacks, a All-Time Series: U-M leads 3-0 pair of interceptions, a team-best two forced First Meeting: U-M 27, Central State Teachers Colfumbles and one blocked kick. Junior corlege 0 (Oct. 3, 1931, at Ann Arbor) nerbacks Jarrett Chapman and Jason Wilson Last Meeting: U-M 41, CMU 17 (Sept. 9, 2006, at combined for 18 starts, 101 tackles and 13 Ann Arbor) Head Coach: Dan Enos, 13-24 at CMU and overall passes broken up last year, while Wilson (4th year) hauled in two picks. Off./Def. Systems: Multiple/4-2-5 2012 in Review: 7-6, 4-4 MAC (4th West) Final 2012 Ranking: Unranked Returning Starters: 17 (8 offense, 7 defense, 2 specialists) Last Bowl Appearance: 2012 (Little Caesar's, vs. Western Kentucky, W 24-21) MAC Championships (last): 7 (2009) Returning Leaders Passing: Cody Kater (12 yards, 0 TD) Rushing: Zurlon Tipton (1,531 yards, 19 TD) Receiving: Titus Davis (860 yards, 8 TD) Tackles: Justin Cherocci (132) Sacks: Leterrius Walton (2.5) Interceptions: Avery Cunningham and Jason Wilson (2) the wolverine Staff Prediction Why Michigan Could Win: Though Central Michigan is one of those pesky Mid-American Conference teams that doesn't shake at the sight of the Big Ten — the Chippewas did best Iowa a year ago. The talent disparity between Michigan and CMU is significant, and the Wolverines are capable of delivering the same knockout punch Michigan State dispensed the past two seasons, beating Central 45-7 in 2011 and 41-7 in 2012. Why Michigan Could Lose: The Chippewas finished strong in 2012, winning their final four games, and return 15 starters from that team. CMU boasts offensive playmakers in tailback Zurlon Tipton and at wide receiver in the form of Titus Davis. Central also features two ball-hawking linebackers that could slow down a Michigan offensive attack that wants to emphasize the running game immediately. 176  ■  The Wolverine 2013 Football Preview Prediction: If there were a few more pieces returning for Central Michigan, this might just be the type of early-season opponent that causes a legitimate scare, but CMU must replace its quarterback and three-fifths of its offensive line. U-M's defense should feast on the Chippewas new starters. Michigan 42, Central Michigan 7. Notes WR Titus Davis, OT Jake Olson and LB Shamari Benton were all named to Phil Steele's Preseason All-MAC first team … Junior linebacker Justin Cherocci, a former walk-on, led the nation with 89 assisted tackles last season … The five Football Bowl Subdivision squads that CMU beat last year averaged just 1.8 wins over other FBS programs … Athlon projects the Chippewas as the nation's No. 111 squad and predicts that CMU will finish fifth in the MAC West Division in 2013. ❑ Date Aug. 31 Sept. 7 Sept. 14 Sept. 21 Sept. 28 Oct. 5 Oct. 12 Oct. 19 Nov. 6 Nov. 16 Nov. 23 Nov. 29 2013 Schedule Opponent at Michigan New Hampshire at UNLV Toledo at NC State at Miami (Ohio) at Ohio Northern Illinois at Ball State at Western Michigan UMass Eastern Michigan 2012 Result — — — L, 50-35 — W, 30-16 — L, 55-24 L, 41-30 L, 42-31 W, 42-21 W, 34-31

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