New Mexico Bowl: 3 Players To Know On The CMU Chippewas
The Aztecs face Central Michigan University in the New Mexico Bowl. Let’s get to know some of the Chippewas’ key athletes.
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The Aztecs head to their tenth straight bowl game against the Chippewas in pursuit of a fourth 10-win season in five years.
Albuquerque, NM- Aztecs fans: it’s time to go bowling again!
San Diego State (9-3, 5-3 MW) had a respectable season. They once again flirted with greatness before losing the West Division to Hawaii. The Rainbow Warriors went on to play in the Mountain West Championship before getting flogged by the Boise State Broncos. Would the Aztecs have fared better? Probably. Instead, though, the Aztecs followed up Hawaii’s disappointing loss with a meaningful win over one-time nemesis BYU.
What matters now is another 10-win season for San Diego State.
Standing between the Aztecs and a middling New Mexico Bowl victory is Central Michigan University (8-5, 6-2 MAC). Located undoubtedly somewhere between Eastern Michigan University and Western Michigan University, is… you guessed it: CMU, the home of the Chippewas.
If you’re like most Aztecs fans who don’t know much about Central Michigan University, let’s take a look at some of their top talent.
THREE PLAYERS TO KNOW ON CENTRAL MICHIGAN UNIVERSITY
1. Quinten Dormady, QB
Dormady, a 6’5″ 219-lb. fifth year senior, was recently a Houston transfer who started his career at Tennessee. His journey has spanned five years, three schools, 22 games and an improbable ascent at a school that went 1-11 during 2018.
Dormady transferred to CMU on Dec. 11, 2018, just weeks after the Chippewas finished 1-11 and replaced coach John Bonamego with Jim McElwain. With McElwain and Dormady, CMU rebounded with an 8-4 record this season going 6-2 in the MAC.
One of the issues Dormady had at Tennessee was throwing interceptions at inopportune times. It ultimately moved him down on the depth chart.
Dormady has been plagued with injuries, including a shoulder problem that required season ending surgery at Tennessee. He then transferred to Houston, but before he was healthy, another quarterback, D’Eriq King was put in his place and threw for just under 3000 yards that season
Eligible for a medical redshirt — and another transfer, to Central Michgian, Dormady has helped CMU transform itself. Nonetheless he did sustain injury this season as well.
On the first drive against Wisconsin, Dormady was sacked on third down. Three drives later, he was intercepted and limped off the field. He didn’t return in the 61-0 loss to the Badgers because of a knee injury that held him out four weeks.
CMU went 2-2 in Dormady’s absence.
He became the starter again upon his return against New Mexico State and won five of six games after reclaiming the starting role. He capped it off by completing 70% of his passes against Northern Illinois (75%), Ball State (71.1%) and Toledo (78.9%). He threw for five touchdowns and one interception in that span.
2. Kalil Pimpleton, WR
Pimpleton, is a 5’9″, 175-lb. sophomore wide receiver and special teams punt returner. He had a major breakout season this year.
His style is fast and explosive. Pimpleton was named to the MAC All Conference First Team at BOTH receiver and punt returner.
The West Michigan native played football at Muskegon High School and graduated from the Big Reds in 2016.
He was a three-star prospect and wound up accepting an offer to Virginia Tech in early May of 2016. As a freshman, the wide receiver recorded just five games played ,and after one season with the Hokies, Pimpleton felt his best option for football would be to transfer schools.
He elected to become a Chippewa.
Now, Pimpleton is one of the key offensive factors in CMU’s historic turnaround.
Pimpleton led the conference in both receptions (73) and receiving yards (771) and also caught six touchdown passes. His 9.0-yard punt return average ranked second in the league.
3. Jonathan Ward, RB
Ward is a 6’0″ 202-lb senior running back. He is on the Mid America Third All-Conference Team for offense. Coaches and players both agree he should have made Second Team- if not First Team.
Ward missed two games due to a shoulder injury suffered against Wisconsin in Week 2. Despite missing the pair of games against Akron (Sept. 14) and Miami (Sept. 21), he still broke the 1,000-yard threshold by totaling 1,056 yards and 15 touchdowns in 164 carries.
Ward has versatility in catching passes. In the 10 games Ward played, he caught 28 passes for 284 yards and a touchdown, a 64-yarder against Eastern Michigan (Oct. 5).
Not only has Ward been one of the best in the conference, but he has also done it in fewer games and splitting carries with junior Kobe Lewis. Ward has been imperative to the Chippewas’ success this season.
He has led the Chippewas to the biggest turnaround in the country from last year to this year. Ward, too, had one of the biggest turnarounds after finishing 2018 with just 212 yards rushing in nine games.
A fourth notable player is mid-linebacker Michael Oliver, who made the All-MAC Conference Second Team.
If the Aztecs defense can keep the pressure on the Chippewas offense, San Diego State will have the edge in this game.
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