NCF Nation: Terrence McCrae

New Orleans Bowl Keys

December, 17, 2010
12/17/10
11:30
AM ET
Here are three keys for Troy and Ohio in the R + L Carriers New Orleans Bowl on Saturday night.

Ohio (8-4)

1. Use receiver Terrence McCrae to your advantage. The Bobcats are not what you would call a high-octane offense, but they do have one big advantage with McCrae: his size. At 6-foot-4, he is much bigger than starting Troy cornerbacks Jimmie Anderson (5-foot-9) and KeJuan Phillips (5-9). McCrae has nine touchdown catches this season, and Boo Jackson recently set the career mark for touchdown throws at Ohio.

2. Know where Troy defensive ends Mario Addison and Jonathan Massaquoi are at all times. The duo has combined for 20 sacks this season, second-best in the nation behind Chris Carter and Logan Harrell of Fresno State. Massaquoi was second in the league with his 11 sacks, but led the Sun Belt with 17.5 tackles for loss. Ohio has generally done a good job with line protection this season -- except for the regular-season finale against Kent State. The Golden Flashes had seven sacks.

3. Balance. Troy has had a hard time slowing down the run, and Ohio has been pretty decent behind Vince Davidson. The Bobcats are a very balanced team, and are going to need both Jackson and Davidson to have steady games to give Ohio its first-ever bowl win.

Troy (7-5)

1. Paging Jerrel Jernigan. It is safe to say the Trojans have the best overall player on their sideline in Jernigan, one of the top all-purpose players in the country. He is their top receiver, punt returner, kickoff returner and primary Wildcat option. What makes him so good is his speed and his ability to break tackles. Ohio cannot afford to miss bringing him down.

2. Help Corey Robinson. The redshirt freshman threw for 3,339 yards this season in the spread offense, but has had his share of ups and downs. He had six games this season in which he threw two or more interceptions. That is not going to bode well against Ohio, which is one of the best in the country in interceptions with 17 on the season. DuJuan Harris and the running backs need to establish themselves early.

3. Cut the silly mistakes. Troy leads the nation in penalties per game (8.75) and is second worst in penalty yards per game (76.8). Combine that with a negative turnover ratio, and you have the makings of an undisciplined team. You can bet these two areas have been emphasized leading into the game.

What to watch in the MAC this spring

February, 16, 2010
2/16/10
11:00
AM ET
Here's a breakdown of three issues facing each team in the MAC heading into the spring:

Akron Zips

Spring practice starts: March 24

Spring game: April 17

What to watch:

" New head coach Rob Ianello takes over an Akron squad that hasn’t had a winning season since 2005. The Zips struggled last year averaging 19.25 points per game on offense and gave up 28.75 points per game on defense. This spring's goal will be to find playmakers to bring both sides of the ball on par with the rest of the league.

" The Zips had a running back by committee system last year, but none of their backs had more than 250 yards. Two of the team’s top three rushers are gone and the rest are freshmen and sophomores. Ianello signed five tailbacks in his first class.

" The defense struggled to put pressure on the quarterback as the Zips finished with 11 sacks. Opponents scored touchdowns on 66 percent of opportunities inside the red zone. Shoring up the defensive line and the linebackers will be an emphasis this spring.

Ball State Cardinals

Spring practice starts: March 24

Spring game: April 17

What to watch:

" Sophomore quarterback Kelly Page tries to regain the starting role after missing the second half of the season with thumb surgery. The Cardinals were winless with him in the lineup, but he improved as the season progressed. Redshirt freshman Aaron Mershman will vie for the role in the spring before highly-touted recruit Keith Wenning joins the competition in the fall.

" Running back MiQuale Lewis and tight end Madaris Grant are both awaiting word from the NCAA about a possible sixth season. Both are team leaders and are the top players at their respective positions.

" Losing defensive coordinator Doug Graber is a blow to the Cardinals. Although he was only with the team for a season, the defense was one of the team's bright spots and got better as the season progressed. The Cardinals have yet to name a replacement.

Bowling Green Falcons

Spring practice starts: March 19

Spring game: April 16

What to watch:

" Replacing quarterback Tyler Sheehan will be one of the biggest chores since he took 95 percent of the snaps for the past three seasons. Aaron Pankratz was the backup last year and the leader heading into spring. But redshirt Matt Schiltz, walk-on Kellen Pagel and December enrollee Caleb Watkins will all be in the mix.

" Freddie Barnes was the Falcons best offensive weapon and it will be hard to find a replacement. Overall, the Falcons lose three of their top five receivers, and one of those returning is running back Wille Geter.

" Rebuilding the defense will be a priority after losing seven players, including the entire line backers corps and three-fourths of the secondary. There is a lot of young talent waiting, it is just a matter of gelling during spring ball.

Buffalo Bulls

Spring practice starts: March 20

Spring game: April 24

What to watch:

" Losing quarterback Zach Maynard, who decided to transfer last month, hurt their offense. He would have been the starter heading into the season, but now sophomore Jerry Davis and redshirt freshman Alex Dennison will duke it out this spring before two freshmen arrive in August.

" The Bulls have to replace top receivers Naaman Roosevelt and Brett Hamlin and have several candidates to do so. Juniors Terrell Jackson, Marcus Rivers and Ed Young, and redshirt freshmen Fred Lee and Alex Neutz will compete for playing time.

" New head coach Jeff Quinn is going to install a more wide-open offensive system at Buffalo, however finding the right guys to play it will be a challenge. There are athletes remaining at Buffalo, but the loss of players such as Maynard and Roosevelt will make the transition slower.

(Read full post)

SPONSORED HEADLINES