• Joe Broback

Top 5 MAC football players to watch tonight

It's the best time of the year, and no I'm not talking about the election. MAC football returns to our screens tonight, and midweek football is back! While you may not think there's much to pay attention to in this conference, you would be incorrect. Buffalo has NY6 aspirations. Kent State's on the rise after winning seven games last year in Sean Lewis' second season (they won just 16 in the six seasons prior). Toledo is looking to rebound, and has talent everywhere. Jim McElwain's looking to bring Central Michigan back to the title game, and Blaine Gabbert's brother, Brett, looks retain the title Miami (OH) won last year. So stay tuned, because it's worth your time to join the fun tonight.


RB Jaret Patterson, Buffalo



Patterson is the most underrated running back in college football, and was gaining some hype before COVID derailed the season. After rushing for almost 1,800 yards last year, it might be tough to replicate that success. Not because he's regressing, but because there's so much talent on offense for the Bulls, including backup running back Kevin Marks who rushed for 1,000 yards last year too.


RB Byrant Koback, Toledo


Lost in the Patterson hype is the success of Koback, also a junior, who now has 2,104 yards and 26 touchdowns rushing to his name. Toledo stumbled to a 6-6 finish, but Koback and the Rockets are ready to bounce back and compete for a conference title. Toledo's star running back averaged 6.1 yards per carry last year, and returns to an offense that's loaded with talent.


LB Treshaun Hayward, Western Michigan


All Hayward does is make plays, mostly out of necessity (but still impressive). He produced 142 tackles, including 11 for loss. The Broncos defense wasn't dominant by any means, and the offenses they faced made life tough in 2019, something Hayward and company hope doesn't repeat this year. Six Broncos recorded 60 or more tackles, including there above 80, so hopefully the defense doesn't have to be on the field as frequently this season.


QB Dustin Crum, Kent State


Crum wasn't exactly a gunslinger last year, but he was as efficient. Crum completed 69.3% of his passes, throwing for 2,625 yards with 20 touchdowns and just two interceptions. Why is that impressive? Normally, a quarterback with his running style doesn't throw efficiently. Crum's arm strength isn't the best, but he's smart with his throws. Then there's the running. He might not be the biggest quarterback, but he runs hard. Broken tackles can be a frequent occurrence when he runs the ball, adding an exciting element to the Golden Flashes offense.


RB Kobe Lewis, Central Michigan



I'm a big fan of Lewis, maybe more than most. With Jonathan Ward gone, Lewis has the backfield to himself. Both backs rushed for 1,000 yards last season, making it exciting for a guy like Lewis to get the majority of the carries. Speed is the name of his game, and it's going to be fun to see him break off some explosive runs tonight.


Others:


OT Kayode Awosika, Buffalo: Bulls offense only goes as far as the line takes them, and Awosika is the most talented on an experienced line.


CB Sam Womack, Toledo: Potential lockdown corner defended 15 passes last year to lead the team. Switched to number zero this season too. Alpha move.


DE Taylor Riggins/Malcolm Koonce, Buffalo: In case you haven't noticed, the Bulls are going to be good this year. Riggins and Koonce are terrors on the edge for Buffalo's defense, combining for 20.5 tackles for loss and 16 sacks in 2019.


WR Isaiah McKoy, Kent State: Big play receiver (15.6 yards per catch) who played a big role in Dustin Crum's success is back to terrorize MAC defensive backs for another year.


QB Drew Plitt, Ball State: Underrated quarterback threw for nearly 3,000 yards and 24 touchdowns for the Cardinals last year.

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