Sep 18, 2021; Baton Rouge, Louisiana, USA;  LSU Tigers wide receiver Kayshon Boutte (1) makes a 2 yard touchdown reception against Central Michigan Chippewas defensive back Donte Kent (19) during the first half at Tiger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

LSU leans on passing game, breezes past Central Michigan

Max Johnson threw five touchdown passes and host LSU raced to a 35-7 halftime lead on its way to a 49-21 victory against Central Michigan on Saturday night.

Johnson completed 26 of 35 passes for 372 yards and five touchdowns passes in less than three quarters of play. Freshman Deion Smith totaled 40 receiving yards and two scores. Kayshon Boutte caught his sixth touchdown this season. Freshman Jack Bech and junior Devonta Lee also hauled in touchdown passes.

Johnson threw a 21-yard touchdown pass to Lee to complete a nine-play, 93-yard drive on the Tigers’ first possession of the third quarter, increasing their lead to 42-7.

The Chippewas (1-2) answered when Devonni Reed intercepted Johnson and returned the ball 20 yards for a touchdown that cut the lead to 42-14 at the end of the third quarter.

Freshman Garrett Nussmeier replaced Johnson on the next LSU series, just as he did in the fourth quarter last week when a 34-7 victory against visiting McNeese State was similarly assured.

Daniel Richardson’s 18-yard touchdown pass to Joel Wilson pulled CMU within 42-21 before Corey Kiner’s 5-yard touchdown run for the Tigers completed the scoring with 7:19 left.

Johnson hit Smith with a 28-yard touchdown pass on the first possession of the game.

On the ensuing possession Andre Anthony returned a fumble 32 yards for a touchdown and a 14-0 Tigers lead.

The Tigers made it back-to-back takeaways when Major Burns intercepted Jacob Sirmon, but a fumble and two penalties pushed them backward until the punted.

Johnson and Smith teamed on a 40-yard touchdown pass and a 21-0 lead.

Sirmon bounced back with a 78-yard touchdown pass to JaCorey Sullivan that cut LSU’s advantage to 21-7 at the end of the first quarter. Sirmon completed 17 of 24 for 156 yards before giving way to Richardson late in the third quarter.

Johnson tossed a 2-yard touchdown to Boutte and a 20-yarder to Bech to increase the lead to 35-7 at halftime.

— Field Level Media

Sep 4, 2021; Columbia, Missouri, USA; Missouri Tigers running back Tyler Badie (1) scores a touchdown as Central Michigan Chippewas linebacker Nick Apsey (32) attempts the tackle during the first half at Faurot Field at Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Missouri gets past Central Michigan to win season opener

Tyler Badie compiled 224 all-purpose and scored two touchdowns to lead the Missouri Tigers past the Central Michigan Chippewas 34-24 Saturday in Columbia, Mo.

Missouri quarterback Connor Bazelak completed 21 of 31 passes for 257 yards and two touchdowns.

The Chippewas played without head coach Jim McElwain, who underwent an appendectomy earlier in the week. Assistant head coach Tim Skipper guided the team in his absence.

Jacob Sirmon, a transfer from Washington, completed 23 of 46 passes for 292 yards and one touchdown in his first start for Central Michigan. Lew Nicholls III rushed for 135 yards and a touchdown.

Central Michigan piled up 465 offensive yards, but two interceptions and 10 penalties for 80 yards undermined its upset bid.

Missouri scored just 29 seconds into the game. After Bazelak hit a 63-yard pass to D’ionte Smith, Badie scored on a 12-yard run.

Central Michigan immediately countered with a five-play, 75-yard drive to tie the game 7-7. Sirmon capped it with a 7-yard touchdown pass to JaCorey Sullivan.

The Chippewas moved ahead 14-7 with 6:08 left in the first half. Nicholls got the 88-yard drive rolling with a 27-yard run and he capped it with an 18-yard TD burst.

The Tigers responded with Bazelak’s swing pass to Badie for a 30-yard touchdown. Then Harrison Mevis hit a 53-yard field goal to put Missouri up 17-14 at the half.

Elijah Young’s 32-yard touchdown run pushed Missouri’s lead to 24-14 in the third quarter.

With Sirmon knocked out of the game for one play, back-up quarterback Daniel Richardson threw a 6-yard touchdown pass to Sullivan to cut the lead to 24-21 with 11:52 left.

Bazelak’s 2-yard touchdown pass to tight end Niko Hea restored Missouri’s 10-point lead.

Marshall Meeder’s 51-yard field goal cut Central Michigan’s deficit to 31-24, but Mevis answered with a 44-yard field goal with 59 seconds left.

–Field Level Media

Dec 21, 2019; Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA; Central Michigan Chippewas head coach Jim McElwain reacts in the fourth quarter against the San Diego State Aztecs during the New Mexico Bowl at Dreamstyle Stadium. San Diego State defeated Central Michigan 48-11.  Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Central Michigan coach Jim McElwain (appendectomy) may miss opener

Central Michigan coach Jim McElwain is likely to miss Saturday’s game at Missouri after undergoing emergency appendectomy surgery on Wednesday.

Assistant head coach Tom Skipper is leading preparations for Central Michigan’s season opener.

There is no timetable for McElwain’s return, though Skipper would love to see the 59-year-old make a swift recovery.

“We are hoping, praying it’s one of those 24-hour deals and then he gets back with us, we get on the plane and we go play the game,” Skipper told reporters. “But Coach Mac has prepared us for situations like this. I’ve been with him a long time, and he’s always talking about ‘setbacks are temporary.’ So we’re moving forward as a team.”

Skipper also coaches the team’s linebackers.

McElwain is in his third season with the Chippewas. He went 3-3 in the shortened 2020 season and is 11-9 at the school.

McElwain is best known for his 2 1/2-season stint as coach of Florida, when he went 22-12 and was forced out at midseason in 2017. He also coached Colorado State from 2012-14.

McElwain has a 55-37 career mark in nine seasons.

–Field Level Media

Dec 31, 2018; Annapolis, MD, USA; Cincinnati Bearcats quarterback Desmond Ridder (9) and quarterback Hayden Moore (8) and quarterback John Keller (16) pose with the Military Bowl Championship trophy after the game against the Virginia Tech Hokies at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Scott Taetsch-USA TODAY Sports

Central Michigan QB John Keller out of hospital after shooting

Central Michigan quarterback John Keller was released from the hospital on Friday, nearly four weeks after being shot in the chest.

Keller was shot after a fight broke out at an off-campus party in Mount Pleasant, Mich., early April 24 and transported by helicopter to Hurley Medical Center in Flint, about 90 miles away.

“Very thankful to be heading home today,” he tweeted. “First, I have to thank god and I want to thank all of you for the prayers and support as they have been answered on this tough road. Thank you Hurley for saving my life. Blessed”

His stay in the hospital included being placed on a ventilator and several days in the intensive care unit.

Kenneth Thomas, 21, of Detroit, was arrested April 27 and charged with 10 felony counts, including two counts of assault with intent to murder. It is alleged that after he was asked to leave the party he retrieved a gun from a vehicle, then returned to the apartment and fired multiple times.

Keller, of North Canton, Ohio, began his college career at Cincinnati before transferring to Pearl River Community College in Mississippi. He announced his commitment to Central Michigan in January 2020 and sat out last season due to NCAA requirements. He has three years of eligibility remaining.

Fellow student Tyler Bunting was shot in his side and was released from the hospital earlier.

–Field Level Media

Sep 9, 2017; Lawrence, KS, USA; General view of the Central Michigan Chippewas helmet before the game against the Kansas Jayhawks at Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports

Arrest made in shooting of Central Michigan QB

An arrest was made in the weekend shooting of Central Michigan quarterback John Keller, who remains in critical but stable condition at a Michigan hospital.

Kenneth Thomas, 21, of Detroit, was arrested Tuesday and arraigned Wednesday in Isabella County on 10 felony counts, including two counts of assault with intent to murder, according to mlive.com.

The charges stem from an incident early Saturday at an apartment complex in Union Township, Mich., where CMU football players were having a party.

A fight apparently broke out after a group that included Thomas was kicked out of the party. Witnesses told police that Thomas returned to a vehicle and retrieved a gun and fired multiple times into the apartment, according to the criminal complaint.

Keller, 20, was shot in the chest. He was airlifted to a hospital in Flint and his condition is said to be improving, per an update to a GoFundMe page set up to help with medical costs.

“John continues to fight for his life at Hurley Medical Center and prayers are needed now more than ever,” said Lauren Rhodes, who organized the GoFundMe account. “John took heroic actions to prevent (the assailant) from entering into the building to shoot other individuals. John is a hero and he deserves our support and prayers during this time.”

Keller, of North Canton, Ohio, began his college career at Cincinnati before transferring to Pearl River Community College in Mississippi. He announced his commitment to Central Michigan in January 2020 and sat out last season due to NCAA requirements. He has three years of eligibility remaining.

Fellow student Tyler Bunting, 23, was shot in his side and is expected to be released from the hospital soon, Sheriff Mike Main told reporters.

–Field Level Media

Sep 9, 2017; Lawrence, KS, USA; General view of the Central Michigan Chippewas helmet before the game against the Kansas Jayhawks at Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports

Central Michigan QB in critical condition after shooting

Central Michigan quarterback John Keller is hospitalized in critical condition after being shot at a party, police said.

Keller, 20, was shot in the chest after a fight broke out at an off-campus party in Mount Pleasant, Mich., at about 1 a.m. local time Saturday, according to the Isabella County Sheriff’s Department.

Keller was transported by helicopter to Hurley Medical Center in Flint, Mich., and is “fighting for his life,” according to a GoFundMe page set up by his family to help with medical expenses.

A second person was also wounded during the shooting, according to authorities. No suspects had been identified or apprehended as of Sunday morning.

Keller, of North Canton, Ohio, began his college career at Cincinnati before transferring to Pearl River Community College in Mississippi. He announced his commitment to Central Michigan in January 2020 and sat out last season due to NCAA requirements. He has three years of eligibility remaining.

–Field Level Media

Steelers' Antonio Brown seeking new deal

After a statement 2014 season, Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown appears ready for a pay raise.
According to FOX Sports’ Mike Garafolo, Brown will not partake in the team’s optional offseason workouts and could hold out of mandatory camps in effort to obtain a new contract.
The former sixth round draft choice from Central Michigan garnered All-Pro honors this past season after accumulating 1,698 yards and 13 touchdowns on 129 receptions, combined with a 10.6-yard average and one touchdown on punt returns.
The issue from an organizational perspective?
In 2012, Brown signed a six-year, $43.04 million deal. He’s slated to earn $6 million next season, with the tally rising to $8.25 million in 2016 and $8.71 in 2017.
While the player’s case is strong, the report begs the question: Does he deserve to be further compensated with half the life of his current agreement still in place?
The player’s stance?
Since signing his second NFL contract, it’s difficult to argue many (if any) receivers have been as effective as Antonio Brown. Over the three-year duration of his current deal, he has amassed 3,984 yards and 26 touchdowns on 305 receptions — production well above his pay grade.
As a baseline, the Green Bay Packers retained receiver Randall Cobb at four-years, $40 million ($10 million average) during this offseason. While Cobb’s numbers stand immense, they still pale in comparison to those of Brown (who currently average $7.2 million a year).
Conversely, the Steelers front office could lean on the fact that it rewarded Brown handsomely after just two seasons as a pro, before the significant production increase.
And, of course, the organization can also hold him to his contract.
Regardless of your stance as a viewer at home, the situation has rapid potential to become one of the primary storylines to follow with mandatory camps just over the horizon.
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