Dec. 2, 2007
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Despite falling to the Boilermakers earlier this season, the two-time defending Mid-American Conference champion Central Michigan Chippewas will provide Purdue with an intriguing matchup in the Dec. 26 Motor City Bowl.
While both quarterbacks will rely heavily on their arms, Chippewa quarterback Dan LeFevour is one of only a handful of quarterbacks in the nation to rush for more than 1,000 yards this season. On 155 attempts, LeFevour has rushed for 1,008 yards, an average of 6.5 yards a carry, and 17 touchdowns. Not only does LeFevour rank 14th in the nation in total passing with 3,360 yards, but he ranks 51st in the nation in total rushing yards.
LeFevour is protected by one of the strongest offensive lines in the country. Although Central Michigan has attempted 522 passing attempts this season, the offensive line has allowed only 16 sacks on the year, good for 16th in the nation and tops in the conference.
At his passing disposal, LeFevour relies heavily on wide receivers Bryan Anderson and Antonio Brown. Anderson and Brown both rank in the top 30 nationally in receptions a game, combining for an average of 14 catches a contest. Brown, only a freshman, leads the team with 98 receptions and Anderson leads the team with 1,003 yards and seven scores.
Not only is Brown a threat offensively, but he's also dangerous on special teams. Brown averages nearly 28 yards a kickoff return, which ranks 22nd in the nation and has returned one for a score. On punt returns, Brown averages 11 yards a return.
Defensively for Central Michigan, linebacker Red Keith leads the Chippewas with 139 tackles on the year, which is 16th in the country. Fellow linebacker Ike Brown has 100 tackles on the year, including 10.5 for loss. Defensive end Frank Zombo leads the team with 7.5 sacks and defensive back Josh Gordy has four interceptions.
The Chippewas finished the year with an 8-5 record, including a 7-1 conference mark. On Saturday, Central Michigan clinched their second straight MAC title with a convincing 35-10 victory over Miami (Ohio). In all of their victories this year, the Chippewas have scored 35 points or more.
In his first season as Central Michigan's head coach, Butch Jones has guided the Chippewas to one of the most prolific offensive seasons in school history. Jones previously was a coach at Central Michigan from 1998-2004, serving in several capacities including offensive coordinator, before leaving to become wide receivers coach at West Virginia. In January 2007, he became Central Michigan's new head coach.
Purdue coach Joe Tiller is 3-0 all-time against Central Michigan, including a 45-22 victory earlier this season. The lone common opponent each school has faced has been Toledo, with both schools scoring 52 points. Central Michigan allowed 31 points while Purdue allowed 24.
The Motor City Bowl will be played at 7:30 p.m. on Dec. 26 at Ford Field in Detroit. The game will be televised by ESPN.