Chappy's Clipboard - 2003 MAC Breakdown
By Tim Chapman Writer/Analyst




EAST                                     WEST

1. *UCF 9-4 (7-2)                  1. *Bowling Green 9-4 (7-2)

2. Marshall 8-4 (6-2)            2. Toledo 7-5 (6-2)

3. Miami (Ohio) 8-4 (6-2)    3. Northern Illinois 7-5 (6-2)

4. Akron 8-4 (6-2)                4. Western Michigan 7-5 (6-2)

5. Buffalo 3-9 (2-6)              5. Ball State 4-8 (3-5)

6. Kent State 2-10 (1-7)      6. Eastern Michigan 3-9 (1-7)

7. Ohio 1-11 (0-8)                 7. Central Michigan 2-10 (0-8)

* Bowling Green over UCF in the MAC Championship


Team most likely to surprise: Akron… The Zips return 47 lettermen from a team that went 4-8, but showed great forward momentum as the season moved along. They have everyone back on offense, and their defense got progressively better down the 2002 stretch. If the Zips can catch an upset over two of the three bullies in the East, they could be sitting pretty by November’s end.


Team most likely to disappoint: Marshall… I hate to say it Herd fans, but this could be the first time in six years the green boys don’t go bowling. Chalk it up to a thick load of competition in both the East and the MAC in the general. Road trips to Kalamazoo, Oxford, and Orlando (in three of four games) spell doom.





1. UCF

2. Marshall

3. Bowling Green

4. Miami (Ohio)

5. Western Michigan



1. Toledo

2. Marshall

3. Northern Illinois

4. Western Michigan

5. Bowling Green


OFF. BACKFIELD: Central Florida (QB Schneider, TB Haynes, FB D.Brown… backups- TB K.Williams, TB P.J. Smith, TB Wilcox, QB Rivera)


RECEIVERS: Marshall (WR Watts, WR J.Davis, WR Schroeder, TE Rader… backups- WR Manns, WR Guillory, WR Hargrove, TE Deifel, WR Bates, WR H.Moore, TE Mullins)


O-LINE: Toledo (OT Kaczur, OG Randolph, C Odenthal, OG Wakeman, OT Faasen… backups- OG Dirksen, OT Jarbou, OG J. Anderson, OT Aguwa, C Adebesin)


D-LINE: Marshall (DE Goddard, DT T.Brown, DT R.Hayes, DE J.Martin… backups- DE Hairston, DT Sinclair, DE McKinney, DT Hicks)


LINEBACKERS: Northern Illinois (SLB Atkinson, MLB Duffy, WLB Strothman… backups- MLB J.Hawkins, WLB J.Lee, SLB Hutton, SLB McLearen)


DEFENSIVE BACKS: Toledo (CB Malone, CB Hefflin, ROV K.Jackson, FS Body… backups- ROV Dye, CB Martin, FS Landrum, CB Flowers, ROV Broussard)


SPECIAL TEAMS: Northern Illinois (PK Azar, P Gallagher, KR Drew, KR Turner*, PR Sheldon)

* note- Turner may not be used as KR to preserve his energy for offense


Chappy’s 2003 All-MAC Team



QB Ryan Schneider (sr)- UCF

RB Michael Turner (sr)- NIU

RB Bob Hendry (sr)- AKRON

FB Dan Basch (jr)- AKRON

WR Darius Watts (sr)- MARSHALL

WR Antonio Thomas (sr)- WMU

TE Matt Brandt (sr)- MIAMI (OH)

OT Nick Kaczur (jr)- TOLEDO

OG David Ashkinaz (sr)- UCF

C Todd Ghilani (sr)- NIU

OG Derek McLaughlin (sr)- CMU

OT Nate McPeek (sr)- MARSHALL



DE Jason Babin (sr)- WMU

DT DeMarcus Johnson (sr)- UCF

DT Toriano Brown (sr)- MARSHALL

DE Jamus Martin (jr)- MARSHALL

OLB Lorenzo Scott (sr)- BALL ST

ILB Nick Duffy (sr)- NIU

ILB David Lusky (sr)- EMU

OLB Brock Dodrill (jr)- TOLEDO

CB Randee Drew (sr)- NIU

CB Janssen Patton (sr)- BOWLING GREEN

FS Mark Graham (sr)- BUFFALO

SS Keon Jackson (so)- TOLEDO



KO Todd Soderquist (rsf)- MIAMI (OH)

PK Steve Azar (sr)- NIU

P David Rysko (sr)- EMU

KR C.R. Roberson (jr)- EMU

PR Dan Sheldon (jr)- NIU


OFFENSIVE MVP: QB Ryan Schneider - UCF




DEFENSIVE NEWCOMER: LB Anthony Rogers (fr) - CMU




TOUGHEST SCHEDULE: Marshall…Yep. The ‘Herd get Tennessee, Toledo and Kansas State in three consecutive games, with only Toledo coming to Huntington. They must also play a road game against a better-than-perceived Troy State team. After coasting by Kent State and Buffalo, they finish the year against Western Michigan, Miami (Ohio) and UCF on the road, with home games against Akron and Ohio. See why it’s hard for me to pick them to repeat?


WEAKEST SCHEDULE: Akron… The Zips seemingly self-describe just what is on their plate. Aside from Wisconsin and UConn, their other non-cons consist of I-AA teams Howard and Cal-Poly. They get Eastern and Central Michigan in their cross-sectionals, and MAC East favorite UCF at home. Any less than five wins is inexcusable, Mr. Lee Owens.


BEST COACHING STAFF: Marshall… Bob Pruett has done wonders with the great Marshall program he inherited, going 80-13 since stepping in for Jim Donnan eight years ago. He’s proven to be a motivator, a cultivator, and a dominator thus far in MAC play. Though it has been shuffled around a bit during his tenure, the staff he carries is just as talented, collectively. OC is Mark McHale and DC is Bill Wilt, who has been working with that side of the ball since ’99. Another man who is key (sometimes goes unnoticed) is Associate Head Coach Mark Gale. Altogether, this group knows what they’re doing, which translates directly into on-field success.


MOST TO PROVE: Marshall QB Stan Hill. Since the beginning of the 90s, Marshall QBs have proven they can win, regardless of starting experience. Marshall has ALWAYS been in the MAC Championship game since its inclusion in ’97, and they (fans, coaches, and players) don’t expect to stop now. So whose job is it to make sure that doesn’t happen? Ole #4.


MOST TO GAIN: Toledo WHIP Brock Dodrill. At a position that seems to have so much room and freedom to fly around the field, Brock is just the right guy. A former walk-on, Dodrill has great football instincts and corner-like speed. He eventually worked his way to a scholarship and a starting role last season as a key member of that MAC West champion squad. He will be one of the most important defenders on the Rocket defense this year and should turn in big numbers for UT.


OVERRATED: Kent State QB Joshua Cribbs. Is he dangerous? You’re damn right - when he’s running the football. He started his career off in pretty impressive fashion, averaging nearly six yards per carry and throwing for a 2/1 TD/INT ratio as a freshman. Last season, the rushing numbers improved, but the passing numbers were horrid. His TD/INT ratio plummeted to 1/3 - not good. I am not questioning Joshua’s athletic gifts, but I am questioning his status as one of the MAC’s best QBs. Prove me wrong, Joshua.


UNDERRATED: Miami (Ohio) SS Matt Pusateri. An athletic safety who can hit, Pusateri has led the Red Hawks in tackles his first two years with the program. So where’s the press?! I can see if his name isn’t the first to get thrown on preseason All- MAC charts, but why doesn’t it come up on the 2nd or 3rd teams? Folks, this guy can flat out play. Matt, I got much love for ya bro. The rest of you should too!


BEST PLAYER NOBODY KNOWS: Buffalo FS Mark Graham. Maybe its because he plays at Buffalo, but this guy is a star whom nobody seems to notice. In his (three-year) career at UB, he has acquired 182 tackles, 11 INTs and 22 pass-breakups. He has quietly become one of the better secondary defenders in the MAC and performs well on a consistent basis. With more experience around him this season, he should be set for an honorable campaign.




Nov. 19th    Marshall at UCF

Nov. 28th    Toledo at BOWLING GREEN

Nov. 28th    Miami (Ohio) at UCF

Nov. 15th    Northern Illinois at TOLEDO

Nov. 12th      MARSHALL at Miami (Ohio)

(team in ITAL-CAPS is Chappy’s pick to win)