It's tough to believe, but 2022 has officially ended. As we flip the calendar to 2023, we wanted to reflect on our top moments from all over the Mid-American Conference this past year. We each selected our top five moments, and we left it pretty vague. We know not everyone will agree with our picks, so if you don't please sound off in the comments! Let's hear what your best moments of 2022 were! Thank you for a great 2022, we can't wait to give you more #MACtion in 2023 and beyond. AJ's Top Five #MACtion Moments:
Ball State Men's Volleyball MIVA Quarterfinal Team
What a year the Ball State Men's Volleyball program had this season. Finishing the season 23-4 overall and 12-2 in the MIVA, good for a first-place finish. The Cardinals have always had a solid men's team program, even when I was a student I attended a ton of games. This last season was a special one, with the men making it to the semifinals of the NCAA tournament where they faced the Hawaii Warriors, coming up short 3-2. Nevertheless, the men put BSU and Muncie on the map last season and they look to do the same in 2023.
Central Michigan Baseball Regional Qualifier
After going 43-19 overall and 30-7 in the Mid-American Conference, CMU won the MAC tournament and punched their ticket to play in the Gainesville Regional, where they took on the #13 Florida Gators twice and the Liberty Flame. A game one loss to Florida 7-3, they followed that loss with a 3-2 win over Liberty in 12 innings. They would face the Gators again in their elimination game but would come up just a little short, losing 6-5 to end their season. Not often does a MAC program get the chance to make it to Omaha to play in the College Baseball World Series but the Chips certainly came close and gave it their all in Gainesville.
Carson Steele vs Toledo
It's no surprise how talented Carson Steele is and how good of a season he had. 1,556 yards on the season and 14 rushing TDs, but his performance in a HUGE game vs MAC champion Toledo Rockets was one that was an eye-opener. Steele tallied up 198 rushing yards on 28 carries and 3 TDS and averaged 7.1 yards a carry. The Cardinals did end up falling short 28-21, but Steele came away with the most memorable performance of any tailback against the best overall defense in the MAC. Carson Steele has entered the portal, and wherever he ends up, that team is getting a true weapon at tailback.
Samson Evans vs Arizona State
It's no surprise that when a MAC school upsets a P5 program it's a BIG deal. Every year there seems to be an upset that catches the attention of the late-night media and that would be the case for Eastern Michigan vs Arizona State during their week 3 matchup out in the desert. This put Samson Evans on the map and a legitimate RB in the conference, with 36 carries for 258 yards and 1 TD. He finished the season with 1,166 and 15 TDs. Oh, and the win over Arizona State was nice too, with the Eagles winning 30-21. Of note: Herm Edwards was fired immediately after this loss.
Ohio vs Fordham
With a final score of 59-52, this takes the cake in my Top 5 because this had to have EASILY been the most entertaining game of the season. Fordham an FCS program out of the Patriot League finished 9-3, 5-1 in the conference, took the trip to Athens and pushed the Bobcats (fresh off back-to-back losses to Iowa State and Penn State) to their limit. With a combined 1,332 yards of total offense (640 yards for Fordham, 692 for the Bobcats), and more than 100 yards of penalties for both squads, the fireworks BOOMED as the eventual MAC East champions secured the win, while Kurtis Rourke set the school record for most passing yards (537). This was a game for the ages and sits at number one.
Alex's Top Five #MACtion Moments:
Bowling Green vs Toledo
I genuinely hate writing this as a Toledo guy, but props are given when props are due. The Falcons entered the Glass Bowl as a 15.5-point underdog, and punched the eventual MAC Champions in the mouth, racing out to a 21-0 lead in the second quarter. Not to be completely embarrassed on their home field, the Rockets charged back with backup QB Tucker Gleason, to make it a 7-point game at the half. Storming back, the Rockets took a 1-point lead with 1:45 left in the game, and that was just enough time for Matt McDonald to knife through the Rockets' defense and hit Ta'Ron Keith with a 42-yard pass for a score to secure the Falcon's first win in the Glass Bowl since 2008.
Akron-Kent State Men's Basketball Championship Game
This game had a LOT of fanfare after Akron knocked off regular-season champion Toledo and Kent State knocked off defending tournament champion Ohio. While the rivalry game always adds fuel in any major game, the storyline was centered around Kent State, who had four players suspended prior to the title game due to locker room videos following their win over the Bobcats. Akron took full advantage as the four seed and absolutely BLASTED the Golden Flashes 75-55, in a game that wasn't even that close. The Zips had four players reach double-digit points while holding Kent State to one player hitting double-digits. The Zips went to the NCAA Tournament where they would lose 57-53 to UCLA, but this MACCG was WILD and deserves a spot in the top five.
BGSU Women's Volleyball
The Falcons Volleyball team winning the MAC certainly wasn't a surprise to those who follow, but it was HOW they did it that caught my eye. After attending my first-ever MAC Volleyball game, I was HOOKED. First, mad props to Coach Danijela Tomic for giving us the opportunity to come cover matches this year. This team compiled a 22-10 record, and a wild 15-3 MAC record to secure a share of the MAC regular season title and an opportunity at regular season revenge against Ball State. After a truly back-and-forth MAC tournament title game, the Falcons took it to set five and stole the final set and the NCAA automatic bid from the host Cardinals. They would go on to face #22 Western Kentucky and lose in the first round of the NCAA tournament, but this team played with heart and lots of talent across 32 games.
Toledo Women's Basketball vs #14 Michigan
Toledo beats Michigan in Ann Arbor... where have we heard that one before? Away from the gridiron, the Rockets took care of business on the hardwood, taking down the previously undefeated Wolverines at the Crisler Center. Toledo came out and had a 50% field goal percentage, and dominated from beyond the three-point arch, outshooting Michigan 46.7% to 25%. Toledo led by as much as 13 points, and held off the Wolverine's aggressive comeback bid, with five Rockets hitting double-digit points. After a one-point loss to Penn State and a brutal blowout loss to Duke at home, the Rockets adjusted for their trip up north to secure the win.
Eastern Michigan Famous Idaho Potato Bowl Win
This one easily earned the top spot. a 35 y35-yearear bowl win drought, ana 9-win season, and a share of the MAC West title? EMU Football completed iitst best season since 1987, the same year they last won the MAC Championship. While they fell short of that goal this season, it is apparent that Chris Creighton is doing amazing things with this program. The bowl win proved it, spanning a 3535-year year bowl win drought. The best part? The last bowl win was against the very same San Jose St team they played in the Potato Bowl. Call it destiny, call it whatever you want, but this win goes down in MAC history as one of the most epic, most dominant non-conference wins in EMU history. A year that included a win over a PAC-12 school was capped by a 41-27 bowl game win. The Eagles are soaring high.
What are your #MACtion moments from the year? Let us know on twTwitteritter at @CollegeSportPod!