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2007 Motor City Bowl - Purdue vs Central Mich
Purdue WR Dorien Bryant
Purdue WR Dorien Bryant
Posted Dec 25, 2007

Now the bowl season really starts to get cranked up, and while the 2007 Motor City Bowl, a rematch of Purdue vs. Central Michigan, might not get the juices flowing, it'll be a nice appetizer for the rest of the week. If nothing else, it'll have plenty of offense with Dorien Bryant and the Boilermaker offense ready to explode.

Purdue (7-5) vs. Central Michigan (8-5)

Dec. 26th, 7:30 pm, ESPN

Get Tickets for the Motor City Bowl 
- 2006 CFN Motor City Bowl Preview
- New Mexico Bowl Prediction & Box Score 

2007 Motor City Bowl History, Each Team's Best Bowl Moments, & More

National Rankings
Central Mich. Purdue
Total Offense
22nd  447.92 ypg 35th  423.33 ypg
Total Defense
106th  450.23 ypg 60th  385.33 ypg
Scoring Offense
26th  33.77 ppg 31st  32.92 ppg
Scoring Defense
107th  35.85 ppg 47th  24.75 ppg
Run Offense
34th  182.85 ypg 77th  136.08 ypg
Run Defense
72nd  165.38 ypg 55th  149.42 ypg
Pass Offense
32nd  265.08 ypg 17th  287.25 ypg
Pass Defense
111th  284.85 ypg 72nd  235.92 ypg
Turnover Margin
43rd  0.23 32nd  0.33
Central Mich
at Kansas L 52-7
Toledo W 52-38
at Purdue  45-22
N Dakota St L 44-14
No Illinois W 35-10
at Ball St W 58-38
Army W 47-23
at Clemson L 70-14
at Kent St W 41-32
at W Mich W 34-31
E Mich L 48-45
at Akron W 35-32

MAC Championship
Miami Univ. 35-10
at Toledo W 52-24
East Illinois W 52-6
Cent Mich W 45-22
at Minn. W 45-31
No Dame W 33-19
Ohio State L 23-7
at Michigan L 48-21
Iowa W 31-6
Nwestern W 35-17
at Penn St L 26-19
Michigan St L 48-31
at Indiana L 27-24
Position Ratings
relative to each other
CM 5 highest
1 lowest
5 Quarterbacks 4
3.5 RBs 4
3.5 Receivers 4.5
3 O Line 3.5
2 D Line 3.5
3 Linebackers 3.5
1.5 Secondary 3
3.5 Spec Teams 4
3 Coaching 3.5

Ugh ... a rematch. And a bad one, too.

Motor City Bowl officials might be ecstatic to get a Big Ten team, but instead of getting Michigan State and the home angle, which would've put more butts in the seats, they get Purdue, who beat Central Michigan 45-22 on September 15th in a game that wasn't even as close as the final score might indicate. The Boilermakers got out to a 38-0 lead before taking the foot off the gas and allowing CMU to bomb its way back in the game, but does that mean the world will be excited to see a rematch?

There's 1,048 reasons to tune in. That's the number of yards gained by the two teams in the first game.

The Motor City Bowl will be a lot of things, but it's not going to be dull. Even if it's a Purdue blowout, it'll be a fun blowout. Of course, things rarely go as planned in rematches. Maybe Purdue comes in overconfident and doesn't take the game seriously. Maybe CMU comes up with its best defensive performance of the season. No matter how it turns out, there will be lots of yards in a huge game for both conferences.

This is the MAC's showcase game considering this is when its champion is supposed to shine, and in a tough year for the league, a win over a Big Ten team would do wonders going into the rest of the bowl season. For the Big Ten, a loss to a MAC team, especially in a rematch game, would be devastating for the already awful national reputation. As bad as a loss would be for the Big Ten, it would be even worse for Purdue.

On a little bit of a hotseat after a few years out of the Big Ten title race, Purdue head man Joe Tiller probably can't afford a fourth straight bowl loss. Three years ago, his Boilermakers suffered a painful late collapse to Sam Keller and Arizona State in the Sun Bowl. Last year, they came up with one of the bowl season's most lifeless performances in a 24-7 clunker to Maryland in the Champs Sports Bowl. While there haven't been a whole bunch of big wins over the last few years, a win over CMU would make it two straight eight-win seasons for Tiller.

CMU has had a strange, uneven season, rocking in MAC play going 8-1 with a blowout 35-10 win over Miami University in the championship. However, the team was beyond awful in non-conference play with a win over Army, and blowout losses to Kansas, Purdue, North Dakota State, and Clemson by a combined score of 211 to 57, or 57.75 to 14.25. Led by star QB Dan LeFevour, the offense was a scoring machine in MAC play, but the defense, the worst in the league, often gave up yards just as quickly. Expect more of the same against the Boilermakers.

Don't expect a defensive battle in any way and don't expect anything other than eye candy for the die-hard bowl fans. There will certainly be more important, more interesting games as the bowl season goes on, but for at least a little while, this could be the most explosive.

Players to watch: Central Michigan begins and ends with Dan LeFevour, the sophomore do-it-all quarterback who's been the best player in the league over the last few years. He has to get going from the opening snap to take advantage of the average Purdue linebacking corps and try to open things up on the inside for Justin Hoskins, who's coming back from an ankle problem, and Ontario Sneed. This is a speedy Boilermaker defensive front that'll do everything possible to keep LeFevour from getting to the outside, but it'll be the offense that can do the best job of forcing CMU to throw the ball more. In the first game, Purdue got up so quickly that LeFevour had to start throwing, and while he threw for 364 yards and two touchdowns, he only ran for 26. If he runs for 100 yards, Purdue will be in big trouble.

Purdue will try to control the game with a strong running game that didn't get enough credit or attention throughout the year. Kory Sheets has a nice mix of speed and power with 832 yards and nine touchdowns this year, including 144 yards and two scores in the first meeting with the Chippewas. Junior Jaycen Taylor missed a portion of the season, but when he came back in mid-October, he turned into a key cog again with a 157-yard, two touchdown day against Northwestern while providing a bit more speed than Sheets. With CMU forced to pay attention to these two, holes should open up for the Purdue passing game.

This will be the final game in the great career of Purdue WR Dorien Bryant, who has 287 career catches for 3,483 yards and 21 touchdowns to go along with his kick and punt return duties. He'll be the main focus of the CMU secondary, but he should be able to run free across the middle if the safeties have to cheat up to handle Sheets and Taylor. With Selwyn Lymon, one of the team's most explosive threats, kicked off the team, Bryant and tight end Dustin Keller should combine for at least 15 catches.

One of CMU's shining stars in the loss to Purdue, and the team's best defensive player, was senior LB Thomas Keith, who made 11 tackles in the first meeting and finished with 139 stops on the year. A good-sized hitter and sure tackler who everything funnels around, he's not going to make a bunch of plays all over the field, but he'll stop everything that comes his way. It'll be his job to keep Sheets and Taylor from breaking off big runs and allow the safeties to hang back and deal with the Boilermaker receiving corps.

Central Michigan will win if... Purdue doesn't care. While Michigan State is off playing Boston College and Indiana is playing Oklahoma State, Purdue, among the lower-level Big Ten bowl teams this year, gets a MAC team it already beat. They can say all they want about taking this game seriously, going to Detroit for a throwaway bowl like this isn't like going to Tempe or Orlando. Central Michigan has the type of explosive attack that can score in a hurry and get out to a big lead of Purdue comes out lethargic. If the CMU offensive line can give LeFevour time, and if the defense can come up with a few early stops, the first quarter could be a shocker.

Purdue will win if... it gets the running game working right away and there aren't a lot of mistakes. Purdue has done a good job all season long of keeping the turnovers in relative check, and this game can't be any different. With the exception of quarterback, the Boilermakers are far more talented and far better in all other areas, so it'll take something extraordinary to blow this. That'll start with controlling the tempo from the start, getting a few early scores, and get Taylor and Sheets rumbling for a full sixty minutes to counter the inevitable backlash from the CMU offense at some point. Defensively, Purdue has to use its athleticism to swarm LeFevour and avoid getting pounded on. If the team's head is into it, it should be able to end this by halftime.

What will happen: Purdue will go through the motions and be in for more of a fight than it wants early on, but in the end, the CMU defense will break down for a long stretch and get tagged for a big run. It might take a quarter or so, but the Boilermakers will come up with at least 20 points or more in a row to blow up a decent battle. LeFevour will throw for well over 300 yards, but Purdue will crank out over 500 yards of total offense using a balanced attack to get the win.

Line: Purdue -9 ... CFN Prediction: Purdue 48 ... Central Michigan 30

2007 Motor City Bowl History, Each Team's Best Bowl Moments, & More