MOUNT PLEASANT, Mich. - Welcome to the Mid-American Conference's version of the hurry-up offense.
Tonight Bowling Green State University and Central Michigan will play a game on four days' rest, two less than college football teams typically have. In the middle of the season, it's more of a challenge for coaches to make sure the players have recovered enough from the last game than to prepare them for the next.
Going into the 7:30 p.m. game at Kelly/Shorts Stadium, a pivotal matchup for both teams, many of the Falcons' starters are banged up on both sides of the ball. Those who aren't hurt are somewhat fatigued from playing more snaps than usual.
"The timing is not good," BGSU coach Gregg Brandon said. "But I think Central will be the same way. We are in the same boat."
The Falcons (4-3, 3-1 MAC) pushed their usual Monday off day to the end of the week and practiced, but some players weren't there because they load up their classes for their off day. Film study was shortened because of time constraints. But some players said they were going to use their spare time to watch CMU film.
"Basically, practices won't be that hard, because we have to recover from Saturday's game," linebacker Terrel White said earlier in the week. "But you have to make sure you get in there and watch film. You have to prepare more mentally this week than any other week."
Although Brandon expressed wishes that a game like this was earlier in the year when players weren't as banged up, CMU coach Brian Kelly said it's a good time because games later in the year don't require as much preparation.
"What you're doing is adjusting your workload," Kelly said. "By Week 6 and Week 7, you should have a pretty good understanding of who you are and how you're going to do it. At this point in the season, you're gauging the fitness of your team and making sure they're fresh to compete on Thursday.
"I don't know if there's a whole lot more to add at this point. I think it's just getting familiar with who you're playing and what they like to do."
BGSU has won the last five games in the series, but the Chippewas (4-3, 4-0) are off to their best conference start since 1990. CMU is second in the MAC in total offense, averaging 371 yards per game. The majority of that comes from its passing game, which is also ranked second. Redshirt freshman quarterback Dan LeFevour is averaging 200 yards per game through the air, having thrown 11 touchdowns and five interceptions.
Brandon said the Chippewas' offense is similar to an earlier version of BGSU's.
"They are running a lot of things that we have run throughout the years," Brandon said. "You can see that on film and defensively as well. It's really like watching Bowling Green on both sides of the ball."
Like BGSU, several of CMU's wins have been close. The Chippewas' 42-20 victory over the University of Toledo two weeks ago is their only win by more than 11 points. Kelly sees the same trait of his team in the Falcons.
"They grind out wins and find ways to win," Kelly said.43.59723 -84.76815