MAC Championship: Western Michigan 29, Ohio 23. What Does It All Mean?

MAC Championship: Western Michigan 29, Ohio 23. What Does It All Mean?

Western Michigan

MAC Championship: Western Michigan 29, Ohio 23. What Does It All Mean?

MAC Championship: Western Michigan 29, Ohio 23. What Does It All Mean?

Boat rowed. Western Michigan hung on for dear life to beat Ohio 29-23 for the MAC Championship, but was it enough to secure a spot in the Cotton Bowl?

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It’s a 13-0 MAC Championship, but …

This wasn’t exactly the dominant type of performance by Western Michigan that’ll inspire a whole lot of confidence that this is really and truly the Group of Five team that has to have the New Year’s Six, Cotton Bowl slot just because it was ranked 17th in the last College Football Playoff rankings, Navy was 19th, and Temple wasn’t ranked at all. Now the American Athletic Conference championship is going to be a really big deal. The door might be open if Temple wins and looks impressive doing it, and if Navy wins? Yeah, the Army game might matter just enough to force the committee to postpone the Cotton decision for a week.

Granted, the Group of Five team has won in the last two New Year’s Six bowls, but …

If this is how Western Michigan is going to play in the Cotton Bowl – if it gets in – uh oh. Granted, there’s a chance the opponent doesn’t take the game seriously – or plays like it doesn’t, like Florida State last year against Houston – but between the lousy day from a running game that averaged under three yards per pop, to the ten penalties, to the mistakes from Zach Terrell and his two uncharacteristic turnovers, this wasn’t the performance the Broncos needed to have. However …

Western Michigan has a defense, too

Ohio might have been able to hit on a few key plays, and Greg Windham threw three touchdown passes, but the Broncos didn’t allow the Bobcats to go on long marches and shut down the running game cold. It might have been scary at the end, and it wasn’t the coronations the program might have wanted, but Western Michigan is 13-0 and the MAC champion for the first time since 1988. The D had everything to do with that in Detroit, and it helped to have a guy like …

Corey Davis

The best player on the field made the best plays on the field early, setting the tone for the game. He showed off his NFL first round potential by taking a play in traffic 70 yards for a score, and he almost pulled off a key third down conversion on a long play that didn’t seem to have any hope of doing anything positive – but it helped for field position. He caught nine passes for 155 yards and a score, doing everything needed to boost his stock.

Ohio called in Greg Windham, and he almost came through

Early on, Ohio head coach Frank Solich replaced starting quarterback Quinton Maxwell with veteran Greg Windham, and it seemed to provide the spark the team needed. He might have only completed 14-of-30 passes, but he threw for 214 yards and three scores – and led the woeful running game with 14 yards on his three carries – while providing what seemed to be the steady leadership and cool, calm playmaking ability the Bobcats needed. The pressure didn’t seem to matter, and the game didn’t seem too big for him – until the final, game-sealing pick. It’s what closed out the game, and he wasn’t able to come through, but he gave his team a chance.

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