Monday, September 20, 2010

Runaway: Cotton career day leads CMU to first MAC win

By Anthony Fenech, Senior Reporter || September 20, 2010

YPSILANTI, Mich. — Paris Cotton ran.

He ran right, he ran left, he ran into the end zone — three times — and on Saturday afternoon at Rynearson Stadium against the Eastern Michigan Eagles, the junior running back ran the Chippewas to their first division win of the season.

And he might still be running.

“I’m coming out here to play for my teammates,” Cotton said. “All the 10 guys on the field did their job and made it a lot easier for me.”

Powered by an offensive attack that produced like the Chippewas of yesteryear, Central Michigan defeated EMU 52-14 in front of 20,348 fans in Ypsilanti.

Cotton’s three touchdowns, on a day where he ran for a career-high 209 yards on 21 carries, was more than enough for a stout CMU defense that rendered the Eagles offense powerless all game long.

With the Chippewas leading by a pair of touchdowns at the half, Cotton broke the contest wide open on a 61-yard touchdown run just a minute and a half into the second, streaking untouched down the CMU sideline for a 28-7 lead.

The score was his third of the day, after a 13-yard touchdown run in the first quarter followed by a one-yard run late in the second.

“I approach every game the same way,” Cotton said. “I’ll do everything I can to win.”

He averaged 10 yards per carry and added three receptions for 36 yards.

“The thing about Paris is that’s how he practices,” said head coach Dan Enos. “Full-speed, all the time. It doesn’t surprise anyone.”

Offense clicks

The sophomore combination of quarterback Ryan Radcliff and wide receiver Cody Wilson also enjoyed productive days as Central Michigan had its highest-scoring game since last season’s victory over Toledo.

The duo connected on a 21-yard touchdown pass late in the first quarter to open the scoring.

“It was nice to take some shots today and air it out a little bit,” Radcliff said. “I’m glad that was in our plans today.”

Wilson recorded three catches for 100 yards on the day, all in the first half. The touchdown was his second of the year.

After Cotton’s first touchdown run of the game with 47 seconds remaining in the quarter, Eastern Michigan responded with a two-yard touchdown run from running back Dwayne Priest, cutting the lead in half.

The Eagles were unable to muster any offense the rest of the way, save a 52-yard touchdown pass from Alex Gillett to Donald Scott halfway through the third quarter.

“I can’t say enough about them,” Enos said of the defense. “They hung in there and we were able to get after them.”

Never more so than when freshman linebacker Mike Petrucci returned a fumble for a 43-yard touchdown early in the fourth quarter, giving CMU a commanding 42-14 lead.

Junior linebacker Armond Staten recorded a team-high 13 tackles for the defense.

“We really challenged our players this week,” Enos said. “And they responded by playing well.”

Radcliff finished with 254 yards on 15-of-23 passing and threw for two touchdowns, including a 14-yard strike to senior wide receiver Kito Poblah at the 4:20 mark of the third quarter.

Redshirt freshman running back Zurlon Tipton returned from a two-game suspension with 55 yards on 11 carries, and scored on a 20-yard touchdown run late in the game.

“I thought we came back from our disappointing loss well,” Enos said.

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