If the Fiesta Bowl featuring Texas Christian and Boise State is the main event of non automatic qualifiers, the GMAC Bowl with Central Michigan and Troy is top under card bout. Both teams went undefeated in their conference and feature Senior quarterbacks who have a future in the NFL. While the more talented writers on Bleacher Report are breaking down the big games, I'll be previewing the best of the rest. Dan Lefevour versus Levi Brown is one of the best quarterback matchups of the bowl season and reason enough to tune in for this little gem.
January 6, 2010
#25 (AP) (#29 comp ave) Central Michigan Chippewas 11-2 (8-0) MAC Champions
The unquestioned leader of the Chippewas is Senior QB Dan Lefevour. This season Lefevour has completed 285 passes on 401 attempts, 71.1% for 3043 yards with an impressive 27 to 6 td to int ratio. Lefevour also lead the team in rushing, carrying the ball 174 times for 701 yards, 4.0 per carry and 14 tds. His 41 combined touchdowns should garner him a few third place votes for the prestigious Heisman Trophy.
When #13 isn't throwing or running himself, he'll be handing off to Sophmore Brian Schroeder and Junior Carl Volny. The tandem combined for 168 carries 874 yards (5.2 ypc) and 8 touchdowns.
Dan Lefevour's primary target is Junior WR Antonio Brown who caught 97 passes for 1020 yards and 9 touchdowns. Opposite of Brown will be Senior Bryan Anderson who grabbed 57 passes for 700 yards and 6 scores and Junior Kito Poblah who had 50 receptions for 631 yards and 4 tds.
The offense ranks #17 of 120 scoring 33.2 points per game and #33 overall racking up 416.9 yards per game. The offense is very balanced averaging 172.2 yards rushing (#42) and 244.8 through the air (#36). The Chippewas do a great job protecting the ball, having only 14 turnovers (6 fumbles, 8 ints) in 13 games.
Central Michigan's defense is much better than I had anticipated giving up only 17.2 points per game which ranks #14 in the nation. The Chippewas are #29 in total defense allowing only 326.7 yards per game, 119.3 rushing (#30) and 207.4 passing (#48). They don't force a lot of turnovers but are a +5 in turnover ratio for the season.
# 49 (comp ave) Troy Trojans 9-3 (8-0) Sunbelt Champions
The Trojans are lead by Senior quarterback Levi Brown who passed for 3868 yards while completing 64.7% (290/448) of his passes. He threw 22 touchdowns and 9 interceptions and a 149.4 quarterback rating.
The running game is lead by Freshman Shawn Southward and Junior DuJuan Harris. The duo has combined for 1045 yards on 237 carries, an average of 4.4 yards per carry and 18 touchdowns.
Brown and the Trojans stretch the field in the passing game and the main target is Jerrel Jernigan who lead the team with 62 catches and 947 yards. He was second on the team with 4 tds. Tebiarus Gill lead the team with 6 touchdown grabs and was second on the team with 44 receptions and 553 yards. Levi Brown will look to Senior Zack Marcum underneath. For the season, he had 33 grabs for 315 yards and a score. Senior Cornielius Williams and Sophmore Chip Reeves will also stretch the field combining for 40 receptions for 683 yards and 5 touchdowns, a healthy average of 17.1 yards per catch.
Troy's offense is explosive and ranks #3 of 120 in the nation racking up a whopping 478.5 yards per game, running for 147.5 yards per game (#61). The bulk of the Trojans offense comes from the passing game where they rank #4 throwing for an impressive 331.0 yards per game. Troy scores 33.1 points per game ranking them #18 in the nation.
The Trojan defense has taken its lumps this season giving up 28.6 points per game (#86) and 417.9 yards per game (#100), 140.2 on the ground (#54) but the weakness is the pass defense which ranks #117 of 120 allowing 277.8 yards per game.
There has been one common opponent this season, Bowling Green, who Troy visited to open the season and Central Michigan visited on October 24, game #8 for the Chippewas. Troy lost 31-14 in Bowling Green while Central Michigan downed the Falcons 24-10.
How I see it:
This is going to be a classic quarterback duel between two of the top Senior quarterbacks in the country. Dan Lefevour and Levi Brown are the players that NFL scouts will be looking at. The Trojans like to stretch the field with their passing game while the Chippewas like to use the passing game to control the ball.
I think this will be a high scoring game with two of the best offenses and quarterbacks in the country. The Chippewas will get a few more stops out of their defense and stops and turnovers will be the difference. Central Michigan protects the ball very well, and in the end, that will be the difference.
Central Michigan Chippewas 41 Troy Trojans 27
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