Chippewas Host Hampton in 2010 Season Opener

Ryan Radcliff

MOUNT PLEASANT - Central Michigan lifts the curtain on the 2010 football season at Kelly/Shorts Stadium Thursday night when the Chippewas host Hampton.

Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. The CMU Sports Network pregame show begins at 6 p.m. The radio broadcast also can be heard live for free online. Live video of Thursday's game will be streamed through the CMU Sports Zone on CMUChippewas.com.

The season opener marks the debut of Dan Enos as the Chippewas' head coach. Enos is the first Central Michigan mentor since Herb Deromedi in 1978 to make his coaching debut at home; Deromedi also was the last Chippewa head coach to win his first game on the CMU sidelines.

"Everyone in our program is excited to get on the field Thursday night," Enos said. "Our players are chomping at the bit to play somebody else. We've been going at each other pretty good now for the last several weeks.

"On the personal side, I'm very proud to be the head coach here and just very anxious to get going with the season," Enos added. "I can't wait until Thursday night to come running through those doors with those guys."

CMU and Hampton are meeting on the gridiron for the first time. It is the first game in program history against a Bowl Subdivision opponent for Hampton, while CMU has never before played a Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference opponent.

The Chippewas are seeking their fourth straight win in a home opener and sixth straight win at Kelly/Shorts Stadium dating back to last season.

Five starters return to a CMU defense that led the Mid-American Conference in points allowed (18.9 ppg) last season. The unquestioned leader of the group is middle linebacker Nick Bellore. The senior co-captain enters 2010 with more career tackles (382) than any other active player in the Bowl Subdivision, and he has started each of the first 41 games of his career.

For first time since 2005, someone not named Dan LeFevour or Brian Brunner will start a game at quarterback for the Chippewas. Sophomore Ryan Radcliff will make his first career start Thursday night after playing in seven games in a backup role in 2009.

Radcliff's top target figures to be senior receiver Kito Poblah, who has caught a pass in 24 consecutive games. Poblah enters 2010 already 10th in school history with 110 career catches.

Donovan Rose is entering his second season as the head coach at his alma mater. Rose led the Pirates to a 5-6 overall mark in 2009.

Hampton's defense, which surrendered just 19.4 points per game in 2009, is anchored by linebacker Julio Sanchez. The 2009 MEAC Defensive Player of the Year, Sanchez ranked second in the conference with 98 tackles last season.

Offensively, Hampton returns a pair of quarterbacks—junior David Legree and senior Herbert Bynes—who combined to throw for 1,790 yards and 15 touchdowns last season. Leading receiver Isiah Thomas (27 rec, 550 yds, 6 TD) also returns.

Following Thursday's opener, the Chippewas close the month of September with consecutive road games at Temple (Sept. 9), Eastern Michigan (Sept. 18) and Northwestern (Sept. 25). CMU's next home game is Oct. 2 against Ball State.

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