November 24, 2009

Senior DE Larry Knight talks senior day

The upcoming game against Northern Illinois on Friday is important to Central Michigan for a number of reasons despite CMU having the MAC West title already locked up. First, it gives the Chippewas the opportunity to go undefeated in conference play and second, it's the last home game of the season and senior day, offering CMU the chance to send it's senior class out on a high note in their last home game as Chippewas.

One of those seniors is defensive end Larry Knight. Knight is currently second on the team in sacks with 2.5 and has added 6.5 tackles for a loss. He has seen the Northern Illinois Huskies plenty of times in his career and no meeting between the two showed how dangerous they could be then last season when the Huskies came back from a 30-6 deficit to tie the game before it headed into overtime. CMU would eventually win, but the Huskies proved they can never be counted out and cannot be taken lightly.

"They are just a great team period, they got great character. And they didn't back down even though we jumped out on them, you know they kept playing, so that speaks a lot about them and their coaching staff."

Northern Illinois comes into Fridays game with a 7-4 record overall, but fell to 5-2 in the MAC after a close loss to Ohio last weekend. That loss to the Bobcats put the MAC West title out of reach for NIU, but they are still a very strong team that uses a power rushing attack to control the pace of the game.

"They are a very physical team, we have to buckle down and be physical too," said Knight. "They come off the ball and try to punish you on every play, so that's something we have to be ready for."

CMU must also prepare for the return of Huskie quarterback Chandler Harnish, who is looking to return after being sidelined with an injury the past few weeks.

"He's a really good quarterback, he can run and I've noticed how much he has improved his throwing skills. He was a good passer, but he's a lot better now. And with him being a dual threat, that's kind of tough on a defense, and he presents that run/pass threat all at one time."

Not only will this Friday's game against Northern Illinois present a major challenge for Knight and the defense, it is also the last time the seniors will play at Kelly/Shorts Stadium.

"I'm just excited you know, to be with my teammate's period," said Knight. "Especially the defensive line, we all have a special bond and the team as a whole really has a special bond, and its just going to be great to have that experience with the entire team one more time."

It has been mentioned to ChippewaCountry by numerous players that this 2009 CMU team is the closest group any of the seniors has been around, and Knight reinforced those beliefs.

"Oh yeah, this is definitely the closest group," added Knight. "We get closer every year as a team and we pride ourselves on being a family and not just a football team, we're a football family. Every year we get closer and every year those bonds get closer, but that's a really big thing with this group."

While the Chippewas have a spot in the MAC Championship game already secured, a win over Northern Illinois would put CMU at 8-0 on the MAC and undefeated in conference play for the first time.

"It's a goal, you know as a football player or an athlete period that you want to win every game period, but a lot of times it's not possible. It's a big thing though, going undefeated".

Friday also features a contest between Ohio and Temple that will decide CMU's opponent in the MAC Championship game. Knight was asked about this game and responded just like a senior should.

"I'm thinking about Northern Illinois," smiled Knight. "I'm thinking about Northern Illinois, that's all I can think about right now."

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