Central Michigan hopes to rebound from its 59-9 loss in Week 1 at Michigan by beating visiting New Hampshire at 3 p.m. Saturday.
“New Hampshire is a huge challenge,” CMU coach Dan Enos said on a teleconference Monday. “They were a playoff team a year ago.
“Their coach does a great job, and their staff does a great job of getting their guys ready. This will be another big challenge for us.”
UNH opened its season with a bye week and watched CMU play on TV. With an extra week to prepare, UNH should have an advantage. Coach Sean McDonnell sees it differently.
“The mistakes you make in the first game, you learn from drastically,” McDonnell said. “You learn more about your team from the first week to the second week than you do from any other game of the season.
“For us, it puts us behind the eight ball in an awful lot of ways.”
Although that is true, UNH does have the added advantage of seeing CMU play at least one game with its new personnel. The Wildcats now know what to expect out of CMU quarterback Alex Niznak and have a chance to see the Chippewas’ new formations and packages.
“The one thing that it does, thanks to the networking of TV, you get to see them play,” McDonnell added. “The good thing is you get to see what you’re up against. The bad thing is you see what you’re up against.
“Having gone through one game already, (CMU) has a chance to get all of the kinks out of their system. With new personnel, you get used to the speed of the game and the tempo of the game. On offense and defense, they have some different wrinkles, but for the most part it’s still a big, strong football team, and its identity is playing that way.”
Although CMU didn’t score a touchdown, it was able to move the ball at times against Michigan. Niznak was 11 of 22 for 131 yards and an interception, Saylor Lavallii rushed 10 times for 52 yards, and Andrew Flory had four receptions for 79 yards. The Chippewas also recorded three interceptions on defense.
Win or lose, traveling to Mt. Pleasant is still worth UNH’s time, as it bumps up the Wildcats’ recruiting pitch. The game will be against a FBS-level team and aired on ESPN3, something lower-tier schools often sell to its recruits. .
“One of the things that we sell in the recruiting process is that we’re always going to play a I-A team,” McDonnell said. “We’re playing against a team that went to a bowl game last year. We’re playing on ESPN3. There’s an opportunity for our recruits, if they’re watching, they can flip through and not watch somebody else who is playing on ESPN2 and ESPN.”