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2008 CFN Central
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2008 CMU Offense
2008 CMU Defense |
2008 CMU Depth
2007 CFN Central
Michigan Preview |
2006 CFN Central
It's easy to
forget now, but Central Michigan went from 1995 to 2004 with
just one winning season and was an afterthought in the MAC race
year after year. Now it's a superpower, and it did so with one
of the most bizarre seasons a conference champion could possibly
Thanks to the phenomenal Dan LeFevour, who came within one
rushing score of joining Tim Tebow as the only quarterbacks in
the 20-20 club (20 rushing touchdowns and 20 passing touchdowns
in the same season), Central Michigan had the MAC's top scoring
offense and was second in the league in total offense, averaging
a mere 1.5 yards fewer than Toledo. The defense, well, the
defense got their championship rings, too.
Head coach: Butch Jones
2nd year: 8-6
Off. 21, Def. 22, ST 2
Lettermen Lost: 17
Best CMU Players
2. WR Bryan Anderson, Jr.
3. WR Antonio Brown, Soph.
4. LB Nick Bellore, Soph.
5. OT Andrew Hartline, Sr.
6. RB Ontario Sneed, Sr.
7. RB Carl Vouchy, Soph.
8. SS Chaz West, Jr.
9. DE Frank Zombo, Jr.
10. CB Josh Gordy, Jr.
CFN Prediction: 6-6
2008 Record: 0-0
Sept. 6 at Georgia
Sept. 13 at Ohio
Sept. 20 at Purdue
Sept. 27 Buffalo
Oct. 4 OPEN DATE
Oct. 11 Temple
Oct. 18 Western Michigan
Oct. 25 at Toledo
Nov. 1 at Indiana
Nov. 8 OPEN DATE
Nov. 12 at Northern Illinois
Nov. 19 Ball State
Nov. 28 at Eastern Michigan
CFN Prediction: 8-4
2007 Record: 8-6
Sept. 1 at Kansas L 52-7
Sept. 15 at Purdue 45-22
North Dakota St
at Ball State
Oct. 20 at Clemson L 70-14
at Kent State
Nov. 6 at Western Mich W 34-31
Dec. 1 Miami Univ. W 35-10
Motor City Bowl
Dec. 26 Purdue L 51-48
The Chippewas led
the the MAC in run defense allowing 156.5 yards per game, but in a
nearly impossible statistical oddity, they still finished last in
the league in total defense because everyone was able to bomb away
on the nation's second-worst pass defense (only Rice allowed more
passing yards per game). Granted, many teams had to chuck on CMU
because they were down, had to keep up, or were in comeback mode,
but the defense really did have its problems.
Even so, CMU won its second straight league championship and is
among the favorites to come up with three in a row, but last year's
performance won't cut it. The 2007 MAC was weak, rebuilding, and
reloading. Now the conference is full of experienced, veteran teams
with enough solid contenders to knock off CMU on a given day. And
now that the bull's-eye is squarely on the Chippewas' back, it'll be
an every week battle to stay in contention.
While there are some major changes happening on defense, mostly in
personnel turnover, the offense should be even better. LeFevour is a
veteran junior who's starting to get a sniff from the NFL scouts,
Bryan Anderson and Antonio Brown form one of the nation's most
productive tandems, and Ontario Sneed, Justin Hoskins and Carl
Vouchy are good backs to balance things out. Yeah, CMU is beatable,
but you'll likely need to hang 40 on the board to do it.
Now, for the program that wasn't even on the radar a few years ago,
anything less than a MAC title will be a major disappointment. This
is the league's shining star and the type of fun team that BCS-fan
snobs will need to go out of their way to watch. Now if there's just
a little bit more defense ...
What to watch for on offense:
A little less running from LeFevour.
Several offensive stars, like Sneed, Hoskins and Anderson, were out
this spring healing up. While the attack needs all of them to run at
peak efficiency, the one guy it can't be without is LeFevour. While
the junior might put up Tebow-like numbers, he's not the bruiser
like the Heisman winner. At 6-3 and 226 pounds, LeFevour is hardly a
lightweight, but with excellent backs to carry the ground game,
there should be a few less carries for the star of the show.
What to watch for on defense: The pass defense. It has stunk
for the last two seasons and CMU still won MAC titles. The coaching
staff is trying to patch up the leaks with excellent tackling corner
Chaz West, who hits like a linebacker but also covers like one,
moving to strong safety where he should blossom into an All-MAC
star. It's not like there isn't talent in the secondary, Josh Gordy
is a good corner, there just needs to be a bit more production.
The team will be far better if … there's more pressure
from the defensive front. It's the domino effect. If the line can
get into the backfield more often and get to the quarterback,
something it had a rough time doing last year, the secondary will
get more of a break and there will be better production against the
pass. Frank Zombo and Antrione Archer are good ends, and now they
have to start racking up the sack totals.
The Schedule: If the defending MAC champions are going to
repeat, they’re going to have a tough road to do it, literally. The
Chippewas have to go on the road for four of the final five games,
with the one home game the easiest of the bunch against Eastern
Michigan. The end, along with only playing seven conference games,
might mean they have to own the first half of the season, especially
against MAC teams getting Toledo, and Northern Illinois at home.
Best Offensive Player:
QB Dan LeFevour.
The two-year numbers are astounding. 65% completion percentage. 6,683
passing yards, 53 touchdowns, 23 interceptions, 1,643 rushing yards with
26 touchdowns with a 5.1-yard-per-carry average, and two catches for 34
yards and a score. Oh yeah, and two MAC titles. In a league that has
seen in recent years talents like Ben Roethlisberger, Byron Leftwich,
Omar Jacobs and Bruce Gradkowski, LeFevour, if he has one more big year,
is about to be the greatest quarterback to ever play in the league.
Best Defensive Player: Sophomore LB Nick Bellore. The defense had
a big hole at linebacker, and Bellore stepped in and cleaned up
everything All-MAC stars Red Keith and Ike Brown didn't get to. Bellore,
the 6-1, 234-pound man in the middle, made 102 tackles as a true
freshman and now will be the leader of the corps, and possibly the
defense, as the main stopper against the run.
Key player to a successful season: Sophomore DT Sean Murnane. The
team has won with bad pass defenses before, and the secondary should be
a bit better this year, but the Chippewas can't win another MAC title if
the run defense is struggling. Gone is All-MAC star tackle Stephen
Friend and in comes Murnane, an undersized inside player checking in at
a plucky 6-1 and 237 pounds. The defense isn't big up the middle, so
Murnane has to prove he can hold up.
The season will be a
... it's threepeat time. After the last two years, and with the loaded
offense returning, nothing less than another MAC title will sit well.
There's too much talent, the coaching is too good, and LeFevour is too
fantastic to shoot for anything lower.
19 vs. Ball State. There will be several landmines to sidestep if CMU
wants to get to another title game, but beating the Cardinals will be
the biggest issue. Get a big bag of chips, a comfy chair, and enjoy the
ride as Nate Davis and the Cardinals should be able to match LeFevour
and the high-octane Chippewas yard for yard in what should be a terrific
2007 Fun Stats:
- Fourth down
conversions: Opponents 18 of 31 (58%) – Central Michigan 6 of 21 (29%)
- Average yards per game: Opponents 303.5 yards – Central Michigan 267
- Fumbles: Opponents 25 (lost 12) – Central Michigan 15 (lost 10)