STILLWATER, Okla. – Bright spots? Of course. There is almost always no matter the final score.
And there was for fourth year coach Jim McElwain and his Central Michigan football team on Thursday as Chippe kept coming back and forth despite a deep early deficit against the 12the-ranked team in the nation.
“Since we’ve been here and started establishing the program, there’s a certain mindset that it takes to be a Chippewa,” McElwain said after CMU’s 58-44 non-conference loss to Oklahoma State before 53,808 at Boone Pickens Stadium. of the Cowboys.
“It’s a cliche, but it’s a never say die deal. I’m proud of them; we’ll fight to the bitter end and that’s who we are and that’s what we’ve established as a show.”
The Chippewas couldn’t duplicate the magic they evoked the last time they visited Boone Pickens in 2016, when they won on a Hail Mary touchdown pass with no time remaining.
But they likely found something deep within themselves that should serve them well going forward in 2022. They were trailing 37-7 at the end of the second quarter and then 51-15 at the start of the third.
“I basically said it wasn’t over yet,” the CMU quarterback said. Daniel Richardson. “At the end of the day, there was time on that clock. We had 30 more minutes left and we had to go out with a fight.
“I told them (not to) keep their heads down; we’ve got a long season ahead of us. At the end of the day, our goal is a MAC championship and we’re going to do that job.”
Playing from behind and with Chippewa’s running game stifled, Richardson completed 36 of 49 passing attempts for 424 yards and four touchdowns. His completions, attempts and yards were the best of his career and he tied his career high for TD throws.
Richardson unleashed an offense that produced 44 points against a defense that ranked fifth in the nation a year ago. CMU’s running game produced 122 yards, 72 of them, on 26 carries, came from Lew NicholsIIIthe 2021 national racing leader.
“I think D-Rich did a good job of taking what the defense gave him,” McElwain said. “He took care of the ball for the most part, he put the ball where we needed to catch it, and we’re going to need that. We’re going to have to get 450, 500, 600 yards.” passes so (defenses) loosen up and we can get (Nichols) to work a little bit.”
The Richardson-led CMU offensive eventually caught fire, but only after falling into a deep hole. It was 7-7 after Richardson hit Charles Carriere for a 15-yard TD midway through the first quarter.
Then the Cowboys hit with a flurry, scoring on six straight possessions and adding a safety for a 51-15 lead less than a minute into the third quarter.
“Proud of our guys,” McElwain said. “The speed of the game is always something you worry about in the early games, especially against a quality opponent and it came up sometimes and yet I think we settled in pretty decently and did some things.”
Cowboys quarterback Spender Sanders lived up to billing as one of the Big 12, if not the best in the nation, as he threw for 406 yards and four touchdowns and rushed for another two TDs.
“It’s a great football team that we play against,” McElwain said. “They’re going to be in the national picture as the season goes on. I can easily see them (the Big 12) winning. They have a complete team and they have a quarterback who can make plays not only throwing the football but obviously with his feet.” .
Richardson put the Chippewas back within striking distance by throwing three touchdown passes in the second half and Nichols scored on a 15-yard run. Richardson’s final touchdown pass of the night, a 54-yard pass to jalen mcgaughyhe came in with 3:15 left and drew the Chippewas to two TDs, 58-44.
The Cowboys covered CMU’s onside kick and that effectively ended the Chippewas’ last legitimate hope.
“Like I said from the beginning, I really like our football team,” McElwain said. “We’re going to win a lot of games. Those kids are going to learn from this (game) and we’re going to get a little bit better.”
“This will be a great movie for us to see because it will show what we are capable of when we just do our jobs.”
spread the wealth
Ten Chippe received at least one pass in the game and Richardson was generous. Three CMU receivers: McGaughy, tight end joel wilson and Nichols each caught six passes, while Carriere and dallas dixon they had five each.
McGaughy, a transfer from Ball State, finished with 126 receiving yards.
“A lot of receivers put up a pretty decent pitch for us,” McElwain said. “It was good to see Dallas get going again. It’s a total team game and D-Rich did a good job of getting the ball where those guys had a chance to catch it.”
Richardson was named to the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award watch list Thursday. The award goes to the best quarterback in college football.
“You need all five (offensive linemen) up front and without them it doesn’t start,” Richardson said. “That and putting the ball in the hands of the playmakers and going from there.
“Overall, I think all the receivers played very well tonight. I just have to go back to the drawing board, (fix) a couple of mistakes we had, keep getting better. Our goal is 11-0.”
It was the first game in a Chippewa uniform for McGaughy and for Carriere, a transfer from Maryland who finished with 75 receiving yards.
Safety trey jones led the CMU defense with nine tackles, while another safety De’Javion Stepneya converted runner, had eight. Thomas Income he had the Chippewa solitary sack.
The Chippewas entertain South Alabama in their home opener on Saturday, September 10 (1 pm). The Jaguars, who play in the Sun Belt Conference, open the season on Saturday, September 3 at home against Nicholls.