This year's GMAC Bowl, through special arrangements, features the MAC champions from Central Michigan against the Sun Belt champions from Troy.
CMU head coach Butch Jones (27-13 in 3 seasons) won't be on the sidelines as he was announced on December 16 as the new head coach at Cincinnati where he replaces Brian Kelly. Jones also replaced Kelly at Central Michigan when Kelly took the Cincinnati job. Steve Stripling will serve as interim head coach. He was the associate head coach-defense and coached the defensive ends under Jones.
Troy head coach Larry Blakeney is 153-76-1 in his 19th year at Troy and overall.
Central Michigan ranks 17th in the nation in scoring offense with 33.15 points per game. QB Dan LeFevour ranks 10th
in the nation in passing efficiency (154.04), 13th in total offense (288.0 ypg) and 20th in passing yards (3,043).
Antonio Brown ranks 11th in the nation in all-purpose running (167.62 ypg), 14th in punt returns (13.5 avg.) and 22nd in receiving yards (1,020).
LeFevour threw two touchdown passes in the MAC Championship Game to set the FBS career record for total touchdowns with 148, topping the previous record of 146 shared by Texas Tech's Graham Harrell and Hawaii's Colt Brennan. Brennan set the mark in 2007 and Harrell tied it in 2008. Among active players, Florida’s Tim Tebow has the second-most career total touchdowns with 141.
Bryan Anderson has caught at least one pass in each of the 53 games he has played during his career, an NCAA record across all divisions. He broke the previous record of 51 straight games in the regular season finale against Northern
Central Michigan has reached 11 wins for just the second time in program history. The 1974 Division II national
championship team finished 12-1. The Chippewas are one of just eight teams nationally with at least 11 wins entering bowl season.
Central Michigan will finish with a winning record for the fifth straight season, the longest current streak in the Mid-American Conference. The 1987-91 seasons marked the last time the program finished above .500 in five straight seasons. The 2009 season marks the fourth straight year that the Chippewas have won at least eight games. The 1977-80 seasons marked the last four-year run of at least eight victories.
Central Michigan has outscored its 13 opponents by a total of 159 points (270-111) in the first half. The Chippewas have outscored opponents by a combined 98-33 in the first quarter and 172-78 in the second quarter, and have led games by an average score of 20.8-8.5 at halftime in 2009. Additionally, CMU has held eight of its last 11 opponents scoreless in the first quarter.
Central Michigan is led on defense by LB Nick Bellore (112 tackles, 10.5 tfl, 3 sacks, 2 ff), DL Sean Murnane (45 tackles, 6 tfl, 2.5 sacks, 1 ff) and DB Josh Gordy (36 tackles, 1 tfl, 3 int.).
Troy is celebrating the 100th anniversary of the start of football in 2009. The first game was played on Nov. 5, 1909, and ended in a 0-0 tie against a team from Union Springs. Troy will be playing football in the month of January for the first time in program history. The 38 days between games in one season will also be the second-longest such stretch in program history, trailing only the 40-day stretch before its appearance in the 2004 Silicon Valley Classic.
The Trojans won their fourth consecutive Sun Belt Conference this year. The league title is the 19th in the history
of the program. Troy is the first team to go 8-0 in Sun Belt play and the Trojans have their first nine-win season as a member of the Football Bowl Subdivision.
Troy has scored at least 40 points in six consecutive Sun Belt games to finish the season and averaged 41.3 points in eight league games this year.
QB Levi Brown continued to carve his name into the annals of Troy, and Sun Belt, football with another record-setting performance in leading the Trojans to a convincing 47-21 victory over FAU, clinching Troy’s fourth consecutive Sun Belt title. Brown broke his own school record by passing for 477 yards against the Owls, completing 27-
of-36 attempts, and hitting three touchdowns.
Brown owns the Troy and Sun Belt Conference single-season records for passing yards (3,868) and total offense
(3,887). The Troy season passing record had stood for 41 years, since Sim Byrd set the original mark of 3,569 in 1968. The total offense record was set in 2007 by Omar Haugabook. The Sun Belt passing yards record was set by Rusty Smith of FAU in 2007 with 3,688 yards.
Brown will go into the Trojans’ bowl game needing just 28 pass attempts for a new school season record and just
two completions. Haugabook set both marks in 2007 when he completed 291-of-475 attempts. Brown will also enter bowl season with a streak of 10 straight games with at least one TD pass, which is the 10th longest active streak in the nation. In addition, Brown needs just 132 passing yards in the bowl game to become the first player in Troy or Sun Belt history to pass for 4,000 yards in a season. Should he reach that plateau, it would be the 41st such season in NCAA FBS history and he would be the 31st player to reach that milestone in a single season.
RB Shawn Southward has carried 100 times for 574 yards and 10 TD's. WR Jerrel Jernigan has 62 receptions for 947 yards and 4 TD's.
Troy is led on defense by LB Bear Woods (138 tackles, 18 tfl, 3 sacks), DE Brandon Lang (69 tackles, 10.5 tfl, 7.5 sacks, 3 ff) and DB Bryan Willis (66 tackles, 0.5 tfl, 4 int.).
Central Michigan is just 1-4 in bowl games. Troy is 1-2. The showdown will be the first between the schools and just the third for Troy against a current member of the MAC. The Tojans dropped a 34-21 decision to Northern Illinois in the 2004 Silicon Valley Football classic and lost to Bowling Green 31-14 earlier this year. The Trojans will host Bowling Green to open the 2010 season.