Lew Nichols III rolls again as CMU locks up Michigan MAC trophy with 31-10 win over EMU

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On Senior Day in Mount Pleasant, it was a redshirt freshman who starred, as Detroit Cass Tech product Lew Nichols III continued his electric 2021 in Central Michigan's 31-10 victory over Eastern Michigan. Nichols rushed 44 times for 194 yards and a touchdown, bringing his season rushing total to 1,710 yards, tops in the nation. Nichols’ effort Friday also boosted his per-game average to 142.5 yards, more than six yards better than No. 2 Kenneth Walker III of Michigan State. Nichols also had two catches for 39 yards.

He wasn’t the only Chippewa with a big day as CMU (8-4, 6-2 MAC) claimed the Michigan MAC trophy after sweeping WMU and CMU for the first time since 2017. Marion Lukes returned the opening kickoff of the second half 100 yards for a touchdown, and JaCorey Sullivan caught two touchdown passes — a 9-yarder late in the first quarter, followed by a 26-yarder early in the fourth — as part of a four-catch, 46-yard day at Kelly-Shorts Stadium. CMU’s defense was also dominant, holding EMU to just five yards rushing, thanks to minus-45 yards on seven sacks against Eagles QB Ben Bryant.

Sep 4, 2021; Columbia, Missouri, USA; Central Michigan Chippewas running back Lew Nichols III (7) runs the ball against the Missouri Tigers during the first half at Faurot Field at Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 4, 2021; Columbia, Missouri, USA; Central Michigan Chippewas running back Lew Nichols III (7) runs the ball against the Missouri Tigers during the first half at Faurot Field at Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

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Bryant was 24-for-35 for 221 yards passing and no interceptions, but he didn’t throw for a TD. The Eagles’ lone touchdown came on a 2-yard run by Samson Ev early in the third quarter. EMU entered Friday’s game with a chance for its first eight-win season since winning 10 games and going to the California Bowl in 1987. The Eagles (then the Hurons) won that bowl, for their only Division I postseason victory. They should have a shot at another, however, as EMU became bowl eligible with its win over Toledo earlier this month.

The Chips are also going bowling, with their second eight-win season in three years under coach Jim McElwain, who was hired following a 1-11 2018. Nichols just missed his third straight 200-yard rushing game; he has seven straight 100-yard outings, in which the Chips have gone 6-1.

Contact Ryan Ford at rford@freepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @theford.

This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Lew Nichols rolls as CMU locks up Michigan MAC title with win over EMU