CMU beats Bobcats to win MAC title
DETROIT — The Mid-American Conference has produced quarterbacks good enough to play in the NFL over the past decade: Ben Roethlisberger, Byron Leftwich and Chad Pennington.
Dan LeFevour looks ready to join the list.
LeFevour had a pair of record-breaking touchdown passes in the first half, helping Central Michigan beat Ohio 20-10 on Friday night in the MAC championship game.
He set a major college football mark for combined touchdowns passing, rushing and receiving in the first quarter with his 147th. He threw for another score late in the first half to break Pennington’s MAC record and give the Chippewas a 17-7 lead.
“He’ll definitely leave his legacy,” Central Michigan coach Butch Jones said.
LeFevour’s 14-yard TD pass to Cody Wilson in the first quarter broke the mark set by Hawaii’s Colt Brennan in 2007 and matched by Texas Tech’s Graham Harrell in 2008.
The senior from Downers Grove, Ill., has rushed for 46 touchdowns and caught one TD pass.
“When you play four years in a spread offense, you’re going to get a shot at some of those,” said LeFevour, who obliged university president Kathy Wilbur and several others by stopping to pose for postgame pictures on the field.
When you win as much as Jones has over the past three years at Central Michigan, schools with openings — perhaps such as Marshall — are going to try to hire him away.
Would it be tough to leave?
“Central Michigan means something to me,” Jones said, dodging a reporter’s question.
The Chippewas (11-2) are expected to play in the GMAC Bowl on Jan 6.
Central Michigan didn’t do much offensively after halftime against Ohio, but held on to win the conference title for the third time in four years and MAC-best seventh since 1975.
“It wasn’t pretty, but we found a way to win,” Jones said.
LeFevour was 28 of 39 for 255 yards with two TDs and an interception. He also ran for 51 yards.
Central Michigan’s Bryan Anderson extended his NCAA all-division record with a catch in his 53rd straight game and finished with seven receptions for 54 yards and a TD.
Ohio (9-4) likely will make a return trip to Detroit for the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl on Dec. 26.
“We obviously would like to come back,” said coach Frank Solich, who has revived his career by turning around the Bobcats after getting fired at Nebraska.
Theo Scott was 10 of 23 for 138 yards and Terrence McCrae had seven receptions for 141 yards and caught a 29-yard pass from wide receiver Taylor Price on a trick play that pulled Ohio within three late in the first quarter.
Ohio’s Noah Keller had 16 tackles, setting a MAC championship game record, and freshman Matt Weller matched the school’s single-season record with his 20th field goal that made it 20-10 in the third.
“Our kids made it a ballgame,” Solich said.
Ohio had a chance to win its first MAC title since 1968.
“We’re not too far off and we’re making progress,” Solich said.
CENT. MICHIGAN 20, OHIO 10
Ohio 7 0 3 0 — 10
Cent. Michigan 10 7 3 0 — 20
CMU—C.Wilson 14 pass from LeFevour (Aguila kick), 5:22.
CMU—FG Aguila 25, 1:26.
Ohio—McCrae 29 pass from T.Price (Weller kick), :04.
CMU—Anderson 8 pass from LeFevour (Aguila kick), :17.
CMU—FG Aguila 19, 9:01.
Ohio—FG Weller 36, 5:36.
First downs 16 28
Rushes-yards 29-108 41-126
Passing 167 255
Comp-Att-Int 11-27-0 28-39-1
Return Yards 0 0
Punts-Avg. 4-35.3 3-35.0
Fumbles-Lost 1-1 0-0
Penalties-Yards 6-60 9-80
Time of Possession 23:18 36:42
RUSHING—Ohio, Garrett 8-42, Th.Scott 9-36, Harden 4-17, T.Price 3-10, Davidson 3-4, Tettleton 2-(minus 1). Cent. Michigan, Schroeder 16-72, LeFevour 17-51, Volny 3-12, A.Brown 2-0, Team 3-(minus 9).
PASSING—Ohio, Th.Scott 10-23-0-138, Tettleton 0-3-0-0, T.Price 1-1-0-29. Cent. Michigan, LeFevour 28-39-1-255.
RECEIVING—Ohio, McCrae 7-141, Brazill 1-19, Goulet 1-5, T.Price 1-2, Garrett 1-0. Cent. Michigan, A.Brown 8-66, Anderson 7-54, Schroeder 5-53, Poblah 4-44, C.Wilson 3-27, Blackburn 1-11.