The Chippewas traveled to Massachusetts for Friday’s game looking for a win over UMass (1-11) that would allow the Chippewas to become bowl game eligible for the first time since 2009.
The Chips ended the first quarter with a 7-0 lead when Zurlon Tipton finished off an impressive ten play drive with a 1-yard TD run.
Ryan Radcliff was able to lead the Chippewas with a touchdown pass to Connor Odykirk on their opening drive of the second quarter. Although the Chippewas led 14-0 midway through the second quarter, UMass wasn’t giving up. The Minutemen were able to march down the field on two of their drives and tie the score at 14-14 heading into the locker room at halftime.
The Minuteman continued to gain momentum and play with intensity as came they scored a touchdown on their opening drive of the second half, and took their first and only lead of the game. Zurlon Tipton was able to tie the game for the Chippewas on their following drive, and the Chips would never look back.
Zurlon Tipton regained the lead for the Chips by scoring his third rushing TD of the day with under two minutes remaining in the third quarter. Tipton’s TD gave the Chippewas their second lead for the game, and served as a game changing play for the Chippewas. As the Chippewas entered the fourth quarter with a 28-21 lead, they began to feel a sense of victory, but remained focus from start to finish.
Saylor Lavalli killed all hope for the Minutemen when he rushed into the end zone for a 6-yard TD that gave the Chips a 35-21 lead. As most CMU players and fans began to celebrate the much needed win, Zurlon Tipton kept his eyes on the end zone. Tipton was able to break away from the Minutemen’s defense for a 61-yard touchdown run that gave him four rushing touchdowns for the game.
The Chips went on to defeat the University of Massachusetts with a final score of 42-21. After an up-and-down season, the Chippewas are now 6-6 and are bowl eligible for the first time under Coach Enos. The Chips have finished their previous two seasons with an overall record of 3-9, so reaching a 6-6 record this season is certainly a positive sign for Coach Enos and the football program at Central Michigan.
Junior, Zurlon Tipton finished a remarkable season with 185 rushing yards and four touchdowns on Friday’s game. Tipton has rushed for at least 100 yards in six straight games, and earned his place in history on Friday’s game with 1,391 total yards for the season, and holds the seventh best season in Central Michigan history. Although Zurlon Tipton will still be on their roster next year, the Chippewas will certainly miss the leadership and talent of seniors Ryan Radcliff and Cody Wilson.
The Chips were able to make an unlikely postseason run into a reality by winning four of their last five games of the season, and allowed them to achieve their season-long goal of becoming bowl game eligible.
Fire up Chips!