5 Thoughts - 2008 Motor City Bowl
Central Michigan QB Dan LeFevour
Central Michigan QB Dan LeFevour
Posted Dec 27, 2008

Florida Atlantic beats Central Michigan 24-21 ... 5 Thoughts on the 2008 Motor City Bowl

5 Thoughts ... 2008 Motor City Bowl

Florida Atlantic 24 ... Central Michigan 21

GAME REVIEW: FAU hangs on late
- 2008 CFN Motor City Bowl Preview | 2007 Bowl Preview

2008 Motor City Bowl Player Profiles, Histories, & More

1. When the Dan LeFevour Fan Club convenes, I’ll be staying home. I’m not wowed by the Central Michigan quarterback. Sure, he’s got the numbers and can certainly make plays with his legs, but in terms of the total package that pro types look for, he looks an awful lot like a system guy who’s feasted on plenty of bad MAC defenses. Admittedly, I can only watch LeFevour at length for two or three games a year, but his Motor City Bowl performance was telling. His footwork in the pocket is inconsistent. He sails a lot of passes. And he’s unproven beyond the short and intermediate stuff. In other words, he’d benefit from another year in Mt. Pleasant rather than leaving school with a year of eligibility on the table.  - By Richard Cirminiello

2. Central Michigan head coach Butch Jones is likely to be second guessed and third guessed after taking a big chance in the fourth quarter, when the team was down by 11, to go for a touchdown instead of take the almost certain field goal, but that was hardly the team's biggest issue. Much will be made around Florida Atlantic about how Rusty Smith had a great day, and CMU will almost certainly be barking about getting hit by a key roughing the passer call, while Dan LeFevour took a few big shots that were never called. But the difference in this game came down to the Florida Atlantic offensive line in the final three minutes. With CMU's offense rolling, and after an ill-advised and unsuccessful onside kick, all the defense had to do was come up with a stop, give LeFevour the ball back, and hope to still have one of the two timeouts left in the bank to go on a march for a game-tying field goal. But instead, FAU's offensive line, particularly the right side, blew the Chippewas off the ball for five straight plays, Charles Pierre twisted and turned his way to 34 yards and three first downs, and the Owls had the game won. The FAU offense that relies so much on passing and precision ended up closing by being more physical than a defense banking on seeing the running game. And now FAU, and the Sun Belt, has a huge win to offset the Troy loss to Southern Miss. -
By Pete Fiutak
3. I stand here in complete amazement of Florida Atlantic’s Howard Schnellenberger. The guy was the offensive coordinator when the Miami Dolphins had their perfect season…36 years ago. He won a national championship with the Miami Hurricanes a quarter-century ago. And here he is, on the brink of his 75th birthday, still reaching milestones. In what might be his crowning achievement, Schnellenberger has won back-to-back bowl games at Florida Atlantic, the program he helped give birth to less than a decade ago. In an era when Joe Paterno and Bobby Bowden are the favorite sons of the AARP, it’s easy to lose sight of what’s been taking place in Boca Raton. By upsetting Central Michigan in Michigan, Schnellenberger is now 6-0 in bowl games, a record among NCAA head coaches.  -
By Richard Cirminiello

4. I was touting this game all along as the potential for fun and excitement with two great quarterbacks, high octane passing offenses, and little expected from the defenses. Instead, it became a good defensive battle until late with plenty of intrigue in a competitive game down to the end. Not to sound like Mr. Up With Bowls, but a close game like this turned out to be might be a better advertisement for the MAC and Sun Belt than a blowout by either side would be for the league with the winning team. I know the numbers. I know that the MAC and Sun Belt just don't bring in the readers and don't have the fans of one big-time BCS team, but fans of college football might have watched this game and realized that sometimes it can be fun to watch the non-big boy teams play. It doesn't have to be Florida - Alabama every week for there to be good games. - By Pete Fiutak

5. Officiating decisions and currently existing NCAA football rules played a huge role in deciding this game. First of all, the officiating crew applied the letter of the law by throwing a roughing the passer flag against Central Michigan, which was immediately followed by a Florida Atlantic touchdown on a home-run pass from Owl quarterback Rusty Smith. CMU and quarterback Dan LeFevour weren't so lucky when an FAU defender landed on LeFevour's helmet long after a play ended. On this occasion, the refs applied the spirit of the law and withheld the yellow laundry as a result. The Chippewas would get stopped, and would have to settle for a field goal.
Now, about the football rulebook:
Late in the third quarter, CMU receiver Antonio Brown took an end-around 72 yards for a touchdown. FAU jumped offside on the play, but at the Owl 20, Central Michigan receiver Kito Poblah--blocking downfield--committed an offensive face mask penalty.
The officiating crew properly applied the existing rules. The offside penalty and the face mask penalty offset, requiring the down to be replayed. The point of mentioning this series of events is to show that the rulebook needs to be changed.
If FAU had not jumped offside, Central Michigan would have gained a first down at the FAU 35, because Poblah's face mask penalty (15 yards, of course) would have been marked from the spot of the foul, which was the Owls' 20. Let's make this clear, then: If the defensive team (FAU) had not committed a penalty, the offensive team (CMU) would have gained 37 yards.
But since FAU did make a mistake and commit a penalty, the offense did not receive the benefit of a 37-yard gain.
Very simply, the rulebook needs to be changed: If a big downfield play involves a blocking penalty, that penalty cannot be treated as an offsetting foul. Those in charge of reshaping and tweaking the rulebook need to look at other similar situations in which penalties enjoy a level of equivalence they do not in fact deserve. -  By Matthew Zemek