Friday, November 5, 2010

CMU seeking fifth consecutive win against Broncos

By Anthony Fenech, Senior Reporter || November 5, 2010

Nick Bellore has been at Central Michigan for four years.

He has played in 50 games, won 30 of those, and has beaten Western Michigan three times.

“Everyone understands how much this means to the community,” he said.

Dan Enos has been at CMU for less than a year.

He has coached in nine games, won two of those, and hasn’t yet played the Broncos.

“I know how important this game is to not only the team, but to the alumni base and the community,” he said.

Both entered this season with lofty goals. A conference championship. A bowl berth. A winning season.

But as the calendar flipped from September to October and now November, those goals have gone by the wayside.

First, the Chippewas were eliminated from championship contention. Then, a winning season went out the window. And after last week’s loss to Bowling Green, a bowl berth became out of reach.

But tonight, at Kelly-Shorts Stadium, the 2-7 Chippewas will have a chance to deliver on what has become an expectation in Mount Pleasant: beating Western Michigan.

“Obviously we haven’t had the kind of success we had hoped for,” said Bellore Wednesday, two days before the final home start of his career. “But this is something we can look back on and be really proud of.”

And both the senior linebacker and rookie head coach know what this rivalry is all about.

“It’s always been a point of emphasis,” said Bellore, who ranks third in CMU history with 451 tackles, just 39 shy of the school record. “I understood exactly what was going on my freshman year in terms of what this meant.”

And his first-year head coach is no different.

“This game has been emphasized since we’ve arrived,” Enos said, noting that the team has taken time in both spring and fall camps to prepare for the game. “We’ve put a lot into this.”

This time around, the script has been somewhat flipped.

The Chippewas enter the game riding a four-game win streak against the Broncos, but sliding on a six-game losing streak of their own this season.

The Broncos come in at 3-5, and fresh off a near-upset of conference-leading Northern Illinois, falling victim to a tipped interception on the game’s final drive.

Still, the game means as much as it did last year, the year before that, or the 80 years before that.
“We all know,” Bellore said, “From freshman to fifth-year seniors, that this is a must-win game and we have approached it that way.”

Enos said practice this week was very physical and very spirited.

“We’re desperate,” he said. “We’ve been desperate for weeks now. We’re hungry for a win, it doesn’t matter if it’s Western – this week just happens to be Western – but we need to get back to our winning ways.”

And a victory would do just that, for both seniors and underclassmen.

“It’s a building block for our program,” Bellore said. “It’s looked on every year and it’s vital we win.”

And for Enos, who will get his first taste of the rivalry, tonight’s game isn’t just another one of a dozen on the season.

“It’s the only way I know how to tackle rivalry games,” he said.

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