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College Football '98
Mid-American:
Rockets Take Off

by Albert Lin, CNN/SI

Posted: Wed Aug 26, 1998

Chad Pennington
Marshall quarterback Chad Pennington won't have receiver Randy Moss to throw to in '98.   (Bob Rosato)
 
Projected Order of Finish
East Division West Division
1. Marshall 1. Toledo
2. Ohio 2. Western Michigan
3. Miami (Ohio) 3. Northern Illinois
4. Akron 4. Ball State
5. Kent 5. Eastern Michigan
6. Bowling Green 6. Central Michigan

Offensive Player of the Year
Chris Wallace, QB, Sr., Toledo
Broke out as a first-year starter last season with 2,955 yards and a TD-INT ratio of 27-9.

Defensive Player of the Year
JoJuan Arnour, LB, Sr., Miami
Made 111 tackles, a conference-best 24 for a loss. The reigning MAC defensive player of the year.

Newcomer of the Year
Wiz White, RB, Fr., Ohio
Considered Florida, Michigan State, Ohio State and Pittsburgh before deciding on the Bobcats. Cincinnati native hopes to live up to his name.

Coach on the Hot Seat
Dick Flynn, Central Michigan ('97 record: 2-9)
Since winning the MAC title in his first year (1994), Flynn has gone 11-22—and this season doesn't offer much hope.

Conference Game-Breaker
Travis Prentice, RB, Jr., Miami
Motored 1,549 yards and scored 25 TDs last season; with a new QB (either sophomore Mike Bath or redshirt freshman Bobby Pesavento), he figures to get even more chances this fall.

Most Underrated Player

Greg Lomax, RB, Sr., Akron

Rushed for 835 yards and nine TDs on only 127 carries (6.6-yard average), including a 92-yard TD against Ohio.

Best Name
Wolfgang Kratzenburg, OG, Sr., Ohio
Runner-up: Rachman Crable, DE, Fr., Ball State

Toughest Schedule
Bowling Green starts the season at Missouri, at Penn State, then home against Central Florida.

Creampuff Schedule
Marshall plays Troy State, at South Carolina, and Wofford out of conference, and in the MAC hosts Miami and avoids Toledo—at least until the championship game.

Red-Letter Games
Miami at Marshall, Oct. 3
Should decide the East Division title.
Toledo at Ohio State, Sept. 12
A test for the Rockets against the state's—and one of the nation's—best.
Toledo at Miami, Sept. 26
First of back-to-back games that could eliminate Miami from conference race or elevate the RedHawks into post-season contention.

Drop This Name to Make Yourself Sound Smarter at the Water Cooler
Eugene Baker, WR, Sr., Kent
Already holds MAC career records for receiving yards (2,828) and TDs (31); caught 103 passes for 1,549 yards and 18 touchdowns last season--compares to Randy Moss' 96-1,820-26.

Going Bowling
MAC championship-game winner goes to the Motor City Bowl; Toledo is the safe bet.

Top Three Storylines
Longtime coming

Toledo RB Wasean Tait—who in 1995 set a MAC record with 1,905 yards rushing before a knee injury in the '96 season opener kept him out of action for two years—returns to an already loaded Rockets offense.

No more Moss

With WR Randy Moss now a Minnesota Viking, Marshall must adapt to life without its most explosive player.

Breaking through

Northern Illinois had 18 freshmen on its two-deep roster last season; will a year's experience mean at least one W after an 0-11 '97?

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