Marshall and Miami Each Post MAC Wins as East Division Race Heats Up
Leftwich and Roethlisberger Dominate Again to Highlight This Week's 'Around the MAC'
Marshall 50, Akron 33
In what has become his season ritual, Marshall quarterback Byron Leftwich scorched his opponents' defense as the Thundering Herd amassed more than 700 yards of total offense en route to a commanding victory over the Akron Zips last weekend.
Leftwich, considered a dark horse candidate for the Heisman Trophy, threw for 434 yards and four touchdowns. It was his third-straight week eclipsing the 400-yard plateau.
The Herd jumped out to a 10-0 lead early on when Leftwich hit Darius Watts for a 61-yard touchdown with two minutes remaining in the first quarter. Leftwich would find Watts again from 23 yards out to extend their lead to 24-10 at the half.
The Zips were able to pull to within 10 on Bob Hendry's 8-yard run early in the final quarter, but that was as close as they would get.
Franklin Wallace, who finished with 196 yards rushing on 23 carries, scored the next two touchdowns to put the game away for Marshall.
Watts was one of three Marshall receivers to have over 100 yards. He caught nine balls for 144 yards, while Denero Marriott and Josh Davis also passed the mark with nine catches for 108 yards and four catches for 115 yards, respectively.
Miami (OH) 25, Western Michigan 11
Ben Roethlisberger continued his consistently solid play, quarterbacking the Miami Red Hawks to their sixth win of the season over the Western Michigan Broncos in front of over 15,000 hometown fans.
Wide receiver Eddie Tillitz, who is becoming Roethlisberger's favorite target, helped Miami gain a 7-0 lead by snagging a 20-yard scoring strike. A Rod Clark interception return, followed by a safety, gave the Red Hawks a 16-0 lead at the half.
The Broncos cut the lead in half on a 3-yard scoring dive by James Woods. They later added a field goal to bring them within a touchdown of the lead.
Roethlisberger again took charge, sealing the game with a 14-yard touchdown pass to Jason Branch with only six minutes remaining in the game.
Miami running back Luke Clemens was the game's leading rusher, gaining 100 yards on 19 carries.
Toledo 21, Navy 20
Looking to get back on track after their first loss of the season, the Toledo Rockets turned to running back Chester Taylor to carry the load, and did he ever. Rushing for 195 yards and two touchdowns, Taylor helped the Rockets keep Navy without a win while improving to 6-1 in the overall standings.
The game's surprise was that Navy was actually in it; they came back into the contest after two Chester Taylor touchdown runs. Navy razzle-dazzled their way to a 17-14 lead on a touchdown pass from wide receiver Chandler Sims to receiver Tony Lane.
The Rockets responded big. Quarterback Tavares Bolden hit tight-end Andrew Clarke for a 13-yard score that gave Toledo their final lead.
Northern Illinois 33, Central Michigan 24
The Northern Illinois Huskies scored a huge comeback victory via 26 unanswered points to defeat the Central Michigan Chippewas and reach the .500 mark for the first time this season.
Kent State 24, Ohio 14
Shannon Davis recovered an Ohio fumble late in the game and returned it 95 yards into the end zone to net Kent State a 10-point victory in their visit to Ohio last Saturday. The win puts the Golden Flashes back at .500 for the season, while the Bobcats still hover at the one-win mark.
Ball State 10, Connecticut 5
Running back Marcus Merriweather once again played the hero for Ball State, as they captured their third-straight victory in a defensive battle over Connecticut.
Merriweather rushed for 144 yards on 33 carries and scored the game's only touchdown on a 4-yard run with 9:29 remaining in the second quarter.