Brown's 4th Quarter Kick Return Sparks Comeback
by CFP Staff
January 6, 2010
Central Michigan defeated Troy 44-41 in double-overtime in the GMAC Bowl in one of, if not the most, exciting games of the bowl season.
Central Michigan fell behind 31-19 midway through the 4th quarter on DuJuan Harris' 1-yard run and the outcome was looking bleak for the Chippewas. But Anthony Brown returned the following kickoff 95 yards to cut the lead back to 5 and provide a giant spark to the Central Michigan sideline.
Little did anyone know - the fireworks were just beginning.
After a Troy punt backed up the Chippewas to their own 15-yard line, Dan LeFevour completed 8-of-11 passes on an 85-yard march to the endzone that ended with Bryan Anderson's amazing catch of a low throw on a 4-yard pass at the goal line. For good measure and a three-point lead, LeFevour threw to Kito Poblah for the 2-point conversion and CMU was up 34-31 with 1:17 left in the game.
Troy may have had the fork stuck in them, but they weren't done. QB Levi Brown, who matched LeFevour all night, needed just two plays to get his Trojans from their own 37 to the Chips' 29 and Michael Taylor's 46-yard field goal sent the game into overtime.
Central Michigan needed just three plays to go ahead 41-34 on a 13-yard run by, who else but, LeFevour. Troy answered on its fifth play with Shawn Southward's 1-yard run.
Troy immediately went on offense and, after nearly winning the game on a throw that went through the hands of Jerrel Jernigan in the right corner of the end zone, Taylor's 32-yard field goal attempt was blocked by Vince Agnew.
The Chippewas ran the ball to the Troy 19-yard line to set up a 37-yard game-winner and Andrew Aguila drilled it down the center for his 5th make of the game.
Aguila was also good on field goals from 28, 35, 44 and 42. He missed a first quarter attempt from 46 yards on the Chippewas first series. Taylor missed a 34-yarder for Troy on the game's opening drive.
For the second year in-a-row, a blocked field in overtime directly contributed to a Troy bowl loss. Southern Miss blocked the Trojans' attempt to tie the game in OT in last year's 30-27 loss at the New Orleans Bowl.
The win put an exclamation point on Central Michigan's first 12-win season (12-2) as a Football Bowl Subdivision member (formerly called 1A). CMU went 12-1 in 1974 when it captured the Division II championship, the second-highest level in football at that time. The school moved into Division I the next year.
Central Michigan's previous high for wins at this level was 10 which was established in 1977 and last obtained in Brian Kelly's last season in 2006. Ironically, that mark falls in Butch Jones' final season. And just as Kelly was gone to Cincinnati before the Chippewas 2006 bowl game, Jones had already split for Cincinnati before this year's bowl contest. Steve Stripling, the defense associate head coach under Jones, served as interim head coach in this game.
Troy achieved 9 wins (9-4) for the first time in its short FBS history that began in 2001.
Both teams went undefeated in their respective conferences. Troy was 8-0 in the Sun Belt and Central Michigan was 8-0 in the MAC (9-0 including the conference championship game).
LeFevour completed his remarkable career by completing 33-of-55 passes for 395 yards. He threw for a TD, ran for a TD and threw 1 INT. His FBS record of 150 total touchdowns includes 102 by passing, 47 rushing and 1 receiving.
Troy's Levi Brown was 31-of-56 for 386 yards with 1 TD and 0 INT's. Brown was also in his last game with Troy. This season, the 2-year starter set school and Sun Belt Conference single-season records for passing yards (4,254) and total offense (4,261).
Central Michigan's Antonio Brown and Troy's Jernigan had stupendous nights, as well. Brown's 403 all-purpose yards included 13 catches for 178, 4 rushes for 22 and 7 kick returns for 203. Jernigan amassed 350 all-purpose yards with 9 catches for 154, 6 rushes for 39 and 7 kick returns for 157.
Harris led Troy runners with 112 yards and 2 TD's on 14 carries. Bryan Schroeder had 73 yards on 13 carries for Central Michigan.
This was Central Michigan's 2nd bowl win ever as it improved to 2-4. Troy's bowl record dropped to 1-3.
It was the second double-overtime game in GMAC Bowl history. In 2001, Byron Leftwich rallied Marshall from a 38-8 halftime deficit to beat David Garrard and East Carolina 64-61 in 2 OT's.