8th: MAC (3rd in West Division)
98th: Division I
2017 In A Sentence: The Chippewas were a surprise team in the MAC in finishing 8-5 overall and got there by winning all four of its one possession contests but did finish the season on a sour note in a blowout loss to Wyoming in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl.
Biggest Shoes to Fill: QB Shane Morris, who was a grad transfer from nearby Big10 Michigan and started all of CMU’s games last year. He threw for 2,908 yards and 26 touchdowns, which lead the MAC. He also ranked second on the team in rushing yards (302) and rushing touchdowns (3).
Key Player: Junior RB Jonathan Ward, who in 2017 became CMU’s first 1,000-yard rusher since 2014 when he finished with 1,019 yards (a 5.7-yard-per-carry average) and 10 touchdowns on the ground. Ward proved a year ago that he can catch it too, ranking second on the team with 48 receptions for 470 yards and three scores. Ward’s 114.5 all-purpose yards per game ranked third in the Mid-American Conference, and he earned Second Team All-MAC honors.
Fearless Prediction: On paper, CMU looks like it may take a step back but should still have a fairly stingy defense again this year and if it can turn its offense more to the running game as a core, it will battle again for a bowl bid.