Friday, September 3, 2010

Total Domination: CMU beats Hampton 33-0 in home opener

By Anthony Fenech, Senior Reporter || September 03, 2010

They weren’t glamorous, those first two points of the Dan Enos era at Central Michigan, scored courtesy of a foot-delivered safety from a lost Hampton University punter.

And they didn’t mean much, not in the final score of a season-opening 33-0 Chippewas shutout victory, but when Pirates punter Jordan Stovall kicked a stray football through Hampton’s end zone early in last night’s first quarter, after a long snap sailed high over his head, the Chippewas could breathe.

“It loosened me up,” said a smiling Enos after his first career victory as a head coach. “That meant we weren’t getting shut out.

“I thought it was appropriate,” he continued. “With the way the defense played, they deserved it.”

And after the ensuing kickoff, when sophomore Cody Wilson raced 81 yards on the return, virtually untouched in front of the Hampton sideline, the Chippewas could breathe a little easier.

A play later, running back Carl Volny tallied CMU’s first touchdown of the year, on a two-yard run up the middle. Two plays later, the Chippewas special teams unit forced and recovered a Hampton fumble on the kickoff. And two plays after that, following the shortest of touchdown runs by Parris Cotton, the Chippewas had a 16-point lead, one that would prove to be safe and secure.

“We won,” said Enos. “And that was our entire goal.”

There was no heavy breathing out of the 17,311 in attendance at Kelly/Shorts Stadium Thursday night. No upstart team from Hampton, Va., testing the new-look Chippewas in their first game against a NCAA Bowl Subdivision opponent and no blemishes on the report card of a rock-solid CMU defense.

There was business to be taken care of, and in a business-like fashion, the Chippewas passed the first test of the 2010 season.

“I was very happy with our effort and the attention to detail,” Enos said. “I know these guys will get better too.”

In his first collegiate start, sophomore quarterback Ryan Radcliff guided the offense to five scoring drives, threw for a touchdown, rushed for another, and finished with 242 yards on 20-for-34 passing.

“I definitely got a lot more comfortable out there by just being out there and building game chemistry with the guys,” Radcliff said.

The defense, led by senior linebacker Nick Bellore’s game-high seven tackles, allowed only 129 Pirates yards, and snuffed out the only Hampton trip into the CMU red zone, three minutes before the half, with a deflected interception by senior safety Bobby Seay.

“That was huge,” said Bellore of the interception. “There was a little adversity there. It was a long drive and we were able to get the pick.”

CMU’s defense forced two turnovers and allowed less than 50 yards on the ground and fewer than 100 through the air.

“Our defense was able to keep getting the ball back,” said Enos. “They played very well.”

Offensively, Cotton, a junior, had arguably his best game in a Chippewas uniform, turning in career bests in both attempts and yards, rushing for 94 yards on 18 carries.

“It was no surprise he looked as explosive as he did,” said Enos.

Complementing him was Volny, who gained 58 yards on 11 attempts. CMU totaled 168 rushing yards in the game.

“I told both those guys they should drink about 50 Gatorades tonight,” said Enos. “We’re going to have to run the ball the entire year and manufacture ways to do it.”

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