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Central Michigan receivers Corey Willis, Brandon Childress won’t play vs. Syracuse

Two of the Chips’ main targets won’t be available at all this Saturday.

NCAA Football: UNLV at Central Michigan Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

Through two weeks of the regular season, the Central Michigan Chippewas have the 13th-best passing offense in college football, at an average of 360 yards per game. However, that attack took a major hit with Tuesday’s two-parter of terrible news.

CMU will be without second-leading receiver Corey Willis and fifth-leading receiver Brandon Childress against the Syracuse Orange. Willis, a senior, had 16 catches for 183 yards and a touchdown heading into this game. He logged two grabs against the Orange back in 2014 when the teams met in Mount Pleasant, Mich.

Childress had just five catches for 52 yards and a score this year, but had 23 catches for 327 yards and a touchdown as a freshman last year.

Willis and Childress were the team’s first- and fourth-leading receiver last season. Central Michigan’s third-leading receiver from 2016, tight end Tyler Conklin, is also unavailable for Saturday.

For whatever reason, Syracuse has yet to face a full-strength Chippewas squad for any game in this three-game series. In 2014, Thomas Rawls (now of the Seattle Seahawks) missed the game following a criminal issue. For the 2015 game, leading rusher Martez Walker also failed to play against SU.

In place of Willis and Childress, 2017’s leading receiver Mark Chapman will be the primary passing target for Michigan transfer quarterback Shane Morris. Beyond Chapman, it’s less proven options like Eric Cooper and Cameron Cole. You never root for injuries, but on paper, facing an inexperienced receiving corps. should make things a little easier for the Orange’s struggling secondary.