Central Michigan Outlasts Ohio
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5:00 – This contest for the MAC Conference Championship may fly under the radar of most college football fans, but those who miss may miss a record being broken. Central Michigan quarterback Dan LeFevour is currently tied with Colt Brennan and Graham Harrell for most total touchdowns in FBS history (146)—a record he will most likely break in this game.
5:09 – A poor snap and a poor punt after a three and out; clearly, that is not the start Ohio wanted.
5:10 – Speaking of poor starts, LeFevour throws a pick on the Chippewas first play from scrimmage, but he's bailed out by a defensive pass interference penalty.
5:13 – Wide receiver Bryan Anderson just extended his own FBS record of fifty-three consecutive games with a reception—another reason why these non-BCS teams deserve coverage too.
5:16 – The Bobcats brought the house, linebacker Noah Keller got to LeFevour, forced him to throw off his back foot, and safety Patrick Tafua came up with the easy interception to delay the new total touchdown record; Ohio needs to keep the pressure on LeFevour to stand a chance tonight. (It's also worth noting that Ohio leads the FBS in takeaways.)
5:21 – The refs got that call right, Terrence McCrae's left toes were just barely out of bounds when he made that reception—tough break for the Bobcats because that option was executed very well in order for McCrae to get that open.
5:26 – Wow. ESPN's "crack" camera crew was badly fooled on that fake by LeFevour—and so was the Ohio defense.
5:29 – There it is; Cody Wilson hauls in the record-setting touchdown. Congratulations to Dan LeFevour.
7-0 Central Michigan
5:35 – After barely stepping out of bounds last time, McCrae makes a reception far away from the boundary—and he was just as open.
5:36 – That is definitely a lateral…and Central Michigan's ball.
5:40 – Rod Gilmore, ESPN color man, says he would count this as a stop for the Ohio defense; well, considering the Bobcats kept the Chippewas out of the end zone, that is probably an accurate statement. (Rolls eyes.)
10-0 Central Michigan
5:44 – The Ohio offense has 24 total yards in this first quarter; considering the firepower shown by Central Michigan, the Bobcats better start moving the ball…and fast.
5:45 – Right on cue, McCrae—the only bright spot for Ohio's offense so far—hauls in a long pass to make the Bobcats' first quarter output slightly more respectable.
5:46 – Wow. On the very next play, with just seconds remaining in the quarter, the Bobcats pull out the razzle-dazzle and McCrae was wide open for the touchdown. This writer is not superstitious and will never take credit for what occurs on the field, but this all happened to transpire right after he wrote that Ohio needed to start generating some offense.
END FIRST QUARTER. CENTRAL MICHIGAN LEADS 10-7.
5:58 – LeFevour is 6'3" and his center still managed to snap it too high; that said, LeFevour should've thrown that ball away—he knows better than that.
6:00 – Ohio is flagged for a defensive facemask penalty on 2nd and 27; that's too bad because the Bobcats have been doing a good job defending their territory so far.
6:02 – The Chippewas can't take advantage of the penalty and settle for another field goal—which is missed. This red zone inefficiency—which the Bobcat defense deserves some credit for—is why Ohio is still in the game.
6:06 – Ohio needs to stop attempting screen passes; the first one led to a turnover and quarterback Theo Scott just overthrew the second one.
6:09 – Terrence McCrae is the player of the game so far; when is Central Michigan going to start taking him seriously?
6:21 – After a very uneventful second quarter, the Chippewas are putting a drive together in the waning minutes—mostly due to LeFevour's running ability.
6:25 – Ohio tried to blitz again, but the screen was set up; running back Bryan Schroeder took the pass and did the rest—touchdown Chippewas. No, actually not—a false start was called. What took so long? Anyway, despite the call, scouts should take note of LeFevour's ability to adjust; the last time he had defensive players in his face, he threw a pick off his back foot; here, he drew the defense, then hit his back in the open field.
6:28 – The penalty only serves as a delay; the Chippewas convert 3rd and 13 and then Anderson catches a touchdown.
17-7 Central Michigan
6:31 – After a short kickoff, the Bobcats get in position to take a shot at the end zone before halftime, but it yields nothing.
HALFTIME. CENTRAL MICHIGAN LEADS 17-7.
6:36 – After a fast start, the game became quite uneventful and underwhelming. Central Michigan should be ahead by more than ten points, but the Ohio defense has hung tough in their own territory and are the main reason the Bobcats are this close. If Theo Scott can continue to play through his leg problems and Terrence McCrae keeps making plays, then Ohio has a legitimate shot at winning this game.
6:59 – The Ohio defense has not been able to get off the field; they've only gotten two third down stops all game and it looks like they're about to pay the price again.
7:02 – There are some who will decry Schroeder for not trying to stretch the ball past the goal line, but considering his team's success on third down, there was no sense in risking a fumble in a close game.
7:03 – Well, at least the Bobcats chose the best possible time to get a third down stop, but the Chippewas still should have gone for it on fourth down; you've got a mobile quarterback that can get out of the pocket and make something happen, so why keep it a two score game with this golden opportunity in front of you?
20-7 Central Michigan
7:10 – Theo Scott can run too—even with his current ankle problem—and that, along with continuing to get the ball to McCrae, will be essential for Ohio to stage a comeback.
7:14 – The Chippewas take a turn at territorial defense and hold the Bobcats to a field goal—keeping it a two score game.
20-10 Central Michigan
7:27 – Great run by Scott, especially tip-toeing along the sidelines to get to the first down marker; his athleticism has been a strong point this quarter, but McCrae has been silenced.
END THIRD QUARTER. CENTRAL MICHIGAN LEADS 20-10.
7:35 – Defensive holding on the Chippewas nullifies an interception; the Bobcats have hung around all game—now is the time to lunge out of the shadows and pounce on Central Michigan.
7:38 – Instead of pouncing, the Bobcats take a nap on offense and have to give the ball back to the Chippewas.
7:46 – Scott breaks loose again for a huge gain; if he and McCrae could have been on fire at the same time, this might be a completely different game.
7:49 – Both quarterbacks have had trouble getting rid of the ball; now, freshman kicker Matt Weller is going to have to attempt a field goal from 51 yards—he has the leg, but it's always difficult from this range.
7:50 – Weller misses and that may be the game.
8:01 – LeFevour punts for the Chippewas and nothing disastrous happens; it would probably be a fun idea if the game was out of reach, but it is far from over.
8:06 – Scott misfires another short pass—those have been poisonous and, sometimes, fatal for the Bobcats.
8:07 – 4th and 9 with the MAC Championship on the line…
8:08 - …and McCrae finally gets himself back in the game and makes a huge catch for a life-saving first down.
8:09 – Unfortunately, Scott's legs are still giving him trouble and he has to come out; win or lose, he has fought like a warrior tonight.
8:10 – Central Michigan is, smartly, putting pressure on Ohio backup quarterback Tyler Tettleton, but at least he knew to throw the ball away.
8:12 – 4th and 11 with the MAC Championship on the line (again)…
8:13 - …and the Chippewas are called for pass interference; the Bobcats' pulse is still beating, but just barely.
8:14 – Now McCrae looks cramped up; the hill to climb for Ohio is rocky enough as it is, but now they might have to do it without their two best players in tonight's game.
8:17 – 4th and 5 with the MAC Championship on the line (yet again)…
8:18 - …and Scott, just back into the game, finds space to run for the sticks, but defensive end Larry Knight gets a hold of his arm and drags him down to all but clinch the MAC Championship for the Central Michigan Chippewas.
GAME OVER. CENTRAL MICHIGAN WINS 20-10.
A second half that consists of two field goals does is not exactly ideal for deep analysis. Much of what can be said about the game was already referenced at halftime. Ohio's defense played very well in only giving up twenty points, but their offense never had more than one player making an impact at the same time and, thus, the Bobcats could never get the opposing defense off balance long enough to get closer.
For Central Michigan, that is three MAC Championships in the last four years. Dan LeFevour did not have his best game, but he did enough things to lead his team to victory and broke the all-time total touchdown record at the FBS level—which is a huge accomplishment no matter what school you play for. Additionally, it was quite heartwarming for him to express how much another conference title means to him and his teammates; sure, it may be a small conference, but for these players, it's all they have.
Just remember, there might not be BCS slots available to teams like these, but that does not mean they won't play like there are.