2006 MAC Championship: Central Michigan vs. Ohio
By Douglas Kroll
Less than a week after they thought they had lost their head coach to Iowa State, the Chippewas of Central Michigan will head to Detroit for the Marathon MAC Championship game against Ohio. As for the status of Brian Kelly, hell still be calling the shots along the sidelines on Thursday at 7:30. In an interesting twist, CMU has also accepted a bid to the Motor City Bowl which means that the Chippewas will play their final two games of the season on the same field in Detroit.
Saturdays contest has been a long time coming for both the Bobcats and Chippewas. For Central Michigan, it will be its' first postseason football game since 1994, and its first MAC Championship game ever. Ohio will also be making its' first trip to the conference championship. Both teams have had excellent seasons, with CMU posting its' highest win total since that 1994 championship season, winning eight games, while Ohio totaled nine winsits' most since 1968 when they went undefeated. In an odd twist, it will be the third time in four seasons that both teams in this championship game are making their first appearances in the title game.
The series between the two schools hasnt been very close, with the Chippewas holding a commanding 18-4-2 record against their MAC rival. But to Ohios credit, it had been uglier than that before the Bobcats won the 2000 and 2001 games by a combined score of 86-6. However, CMU won the last meeting 37-10 in 2005.
For Central Michigan, they are led by freshman quarterback Dan LeFevour, who is looking to become the first freshman QB to lead his team to a MAC Championship since 1982. LeFevour has been excellent in his first collegiate campaign, completing 63-percent of his passes, racking up 2,555 yards, averaging 212 yards per game, and tossing 22 touchdowns. Not to mention he also has the ability to take off and run, scoring six times on the ground while gaining about 35 yards per game.
Ohio will also be in new territory this week, and its a pretty big deal. Frank Solich will be leading his Bobcats to their first bowl game since 1968. Ohio has accepted a bid to the GMAC Bowl. The Bobcats have been able to get it done with defense, allowing only 16 points per game. The offense is a balanced attack, led by running back Kalvin McRae who has averaged just about 95 yards per game and scored 14 touchdowns. Senior quarterback Austen Everson has struggled this season, having thrown one more interception than a touchdown, 7-6. Everson also only averages a little over 100 yards per game through the air.
Douglas Kroll is an independent contributor to College Football Poll.com.