Five Things to Watch: Central Michigan at UB
3:30 p.m. Saturday, UB Stadium
1. UB run defense. Central’s Thomas Rawls is averaging 168 yards a game. UB is allowing 193 a game. UB’s run defense has been worse on the edges than up the middle. It would help UB if sophomore defensive end Brandon Crawford returns. He sat out last week and will be a game-time decision. Watch early to see if UB makes any defensive personnel changes in the wake of the Eastern Michigan debacle.
2. How to cover No. 84? Central Michigan receiver Titus Davis is a returning first-team all-conference pick. He will be a handful, probably for UB’s Cortney Lester. That’s presuming Lester follows Davis around. UB doesn’t play much two-deep safety, instead leaving Witney Sherry in the deep middle. Davis took over the CMU win over Ohio from the start three weeks ago, catching TD passes on the first two drives of the game.
3. Get A.T. on track. The running of Anthone Taylor has been the foundation of the UB offense all season. He has 132 rushing yards a game. But Central has allowed only one 100-yard rusher this season. Central is tough up the middle with two big DTs. The Chippewas play a lot of nickel defense, like UB, with safeties Jarret Chapman (29) and Kevin King (10) helping support the run. Maybe UB can find running room on the edges. If UB can move it on the ground, it will make it easier for QB Joe Licata to work against the press coverage Central’s corners like to play.
4. OT vs. DE. UB has two good tackles in Jake Silas and John Kling. Central’s two edge rushers both are 6-foot-3 and 250ish (which is to say they have the kind of bodies UB wishes it had in its edge rushers). Who wins that battle. Joe Ostman (No. 45) has 7.5 sacks. Blake Sherpa (No. 2) has 6.5 sacks.
5. Senior day. It’s Senior Day at UB and emotions should be running high early in the wake of the Jeff Quinn firing. If UB can get off to a fast start, it might prompt Rawls to get fewer carries.