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Football: Review of the Striking Performance of Week 2 of the Mid-American Conference

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Another week of Mid-American Conference football is upon us. Week 2 provided valuable insight into which programs can compete with powerful teams, which ones to worry about in the future, and which standout players can lead their teams to victory.

Three MAC teams faced Associated Press Top 25 Ranked Teams. Toledo highlighted Week 2 by going toe-to-toe with then-No. 8 Notre Dame on Saturday for fall 32-29.

Other teams took their first wins after disappointing season openers. After Central Michigan and Western Michigan lost to Missouri and Michigan, respectively, both teams closed out the football championship subdivision programs.

Here are the top performances from around the MAC in Week 2 and what they mean for Ohio:

Standout Team Performance: Kent State Beats Virginia Military Institute 60-10

After a 41-10 thrashing of then-No. 6 Texas A&M in Week 1, Kent State bounced back by blowing out VMI. The Golden Flashes earned a total of 698 yards against the Keydets, the third highest in the program’s history. In comparison, VMI gained a total of 284 yards.

Marquez Cooper led Kent States rushing offense with 119 yards and a touchdown on 12 carries. Cooper and seven other rushers together for 494 rushing yards Saturday.

Despite the offense bringing record numbers, Kent States’ most impressive feat may have come from the defense. Cornerback Montre Miller stopped three VMI runs with interceptions in the red zone. Miller is now tied with teammate Elvis Hines for the most picks in the MAC three thanks to his performance against VMI.

Standout Individual Achievement: Harrison Waylee, Running Back, Northern Illinois

Waylee opened the season with 144 rushing yards and one touchdown in Northern Illinois’ victory over Georgia Tech. He managed to beat himself against Wyoming in Week 2, rushing for 179 yards and two touchdowns on 26 carries, averaging 6.9 yards per carry.

The highlight of Waylee’s performance against Wyoming was a 75-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter. He followed that up with a 14-meter run to the end zone on the Huskies’ next run.

Waylee has led the MAC by rushing with 323 yards for two weeks in a row and tied with three for the fastest touchdowns in the conference. Although Northern Illinois lost to Wyoming 50-43, Waylee is an early frontrunner to be a top rider in the MAC this season.

What this means for Ohio

The Bobcats host the Golden Flashes on October 23. Kent States Week 2’s performance illustrates Ohio’s need to halt opponents’ matches and improve its own offensive production. Kent State averaged eight yards per carry against VMI, and Cooper has cemented himself as one of the top running backs in the MAC. Miller also added himself as a name for Ohio to look forward to. He may not get three interceptions in the red zone again, but now his skills as a ball hawk are well documented.

Ohio looked better in both running defense and offense in the red zone against Duquesne than it did against Syracuse, but Kent State looked dangerous on both counts.

The Bobcats will not face the Huskies this season, but Waylees and other top performers in the MAC also represent the dangerous running backs units throughout the conference. Ohio will not only have to match the conference with its own hasty attack, but also adapt to contain the opposition.

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