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OSU: Look Inside Central Michigan

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STILLWATER -

Oklahoma State opens its season up on Thursday night with a rare trip to face Central Michigan.

The Chippewas have been very pedestrian since their 12-2 campaign in 2009. In fact, their 26-36 record over the past five seasons is quite subpar, considering that the MAC isn’t all that good.

Central did win five of its final seven games last season to earn a trip to the Popeyes Bahamas Bowl (sounds like a joke, but who doesn’t like Popeyes? And who wouldn’t want to go to the Bahamas?). CMU’s headline win was a 34-17 road thumping of perennial power Northern Illinois on Oct. 11. Unfortunately, that triumph was a little overshadowed by an embarrassing 40-3 loss to lowly Syracuse and a 24-10 loss to the dumpster-dwelling Kansas Jayhawks.

CMU returns 10 starters, five on each side of the ball. Their offense is led by junior quarterback Cooper Rush, who took a big step forward last season. After a throwing for just 15 touchdowns and 15 interceptions two seasons ago, Rush tossed 27 touchdowns to just 13 picks in 2014. His completion percentage also rose by seven points and his QB rating skyrocketed.

Rush will have to operate without last season’s top target, Titus Davis, who hauled in 60 balls for 980 yards and a whopping 13 touchdowns. The Chipps also lost leading rusher Thomas Rawles and his 1,103 yards and 10 scores.

Defensively, CMU should hold its own on the front and back ends. However, after losing all three starting linebackers, they might face significant problems trying to stop OSU’s rush attack.

Central Michigan has won eight straight home openers, but seven of those have come against FCS opponents. Oklahoma State’s overall size and talent could be a shock to the Chippewas’ system; but as OSU fans know all too well, strange things can happen on Thursday night road games.

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