This Week’s MAC Schedule
Friday, Dec. 4th – 8:00 p.m. ET
2009 Marathon MAC Football Championship
Ohio vs. Central Michigan (ESPN2)
Ford Field – Detroit, Mich.
Quick Game Notes: West Division winner Central Michigan (10-2, 8-0) will play East Division winner Ohio University (9-3, 7-1) in the 2009 Marathon MAC Football Championship Game on Friday, Dec. 4 at 8:00 p.m. (ESPN2) at Ford Field in Detroit, Mich. Ohio won its fourth consecutive game with a 35-17 win over Temple on Friday, Nov. 27 to clinch the East title and a berth to play Central Michigan for the MAC Championship.
Five MAC programs are bowl eligible as Central Michigan (10-2), Ohio (9-03), Temple (9-3), Bowling Green (7-5) and Northern Illinois (7-5) all await the upcoming bowl schedule. The MAC has direct three bowl agreements with the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl, GMAC Bowl and International Bowl. Don’t be surprised if one or two additional MAC teams are added to the bowl mix this year as a few conferences will not have enough bowl eligible teams to fill their slots.
2009 MAC Specialty Award Winners:
Vern Smith Leadership Award Winner: Dan LeFevour, Central Michigan
Coach of the Year: Al Golden, Temple
Offensive Player of the Year: Dan LeFevour, Central Michigan
Defensive Player of the Year: Adrian Robinson, Temple
Special Teams Player of the Year: Antonio Brown, Central Michigan
Freshman of the Year: Bernard Pierce, Temple
Nick’s Pick for the MACC:
Ohio (9-3, 7-1 MAC) vs. Central Michigan (10-2, 8-0 MAC)
Friday, December 4, 2009 • 8:00 p.m. ET; Detroit, Mich. • Ford Field (65,000); ESPN2 • Announcers: Joe Tessitore (play-by-play), Rodney Gilmore (analyst), Quint Kessenich (sideline)
Nick’s Pick: Central Michigan 34 – Ohio 16
Central Michigan Notes:
Notes: Central Michigan ranks 14th in the nation in scoring offense (34.25 ppg) and 16th in scoring defense (17.83 ppg)…QB Dan LeFevour ranks ninth in the nation in pass efficiency with a 155.72 rating, 14th in total offense with 3,438 yards (286.5 ypg) and 25th in the country with 2,788 passing yards…WR Antonio Brown ranks eighth in the country in all-purpose yards with 2,093 (174.4 ypg) and 11th in the nation with an average of 7.4 receptions per game…LB Nick Bellore ranks tied for 24th in the nation with 112 tackles (9.3 per game). Central Michigan has reached 10 wins for just the fifth time in program history. The 2009 season marks the third time the program has won 10 games during the regular season. Central Michigan is one of just 13 teams nationally to win at least 10 games this season. The Chippewas’ senior class will go into the record books as one of the most successful senior classes in school and Mid-American Conference history — The senior class has accounted for 29 victories against MAC opponents, the second most of any senior class in conference history. Central Michigan’s 36 victories over the past four seasons are the most of any MAC program during that time. This is the first senior class since 1980 to win at least eight games in four straight seasons, including a perfect 4-0 record against rival Western Michigan, the first Central Michigan senior class since 1987 to sweep the Broncos. This is the only senior class at any current MAC program to play in four straight bowl games. The Chippewas finished the regular season a perfect 8-0 against Mid-American Conference opponents. It is the first unbeaten, untied MAC season in program history. The 1979 Chippewas finished 8-0-1 against MAC opponents.
Ohio leads the MAC with a +14 turnover differential…LB Noah Keller ranks 14th in the nation with 122 tackles (10.17 per game)…Gerald Moore ranks tied for eight in the country with six interceptions for an average of .50 per game…This game will mark the 27th meeting all time between Ohio and Central Michigan, with the Chippewas’ leading the series 20-4-2…Ohio’s four wins came in 1972, 1979, 2000 and 2001. Ohio’s defense has been among the nation’s best from a statistical standpoint and the national numbers bear that out. The Bobcats lead the nation in turnovers forced (35) are tied for third in fumble recoveries (16), fifth in kickoff return yardage defense (17.72), sixth in turnover margin (1.17) and tied for seventh in passes intercepted (19).
Senior safety Patrick Tafua is tied for first nationally in fumbles recovered per game (0.36). Ohio head coach Frank Solich (32 wins) is now fifth on the program’s all-time victories list with the win over Temple. Next up is Jim Grobe who won 33 from 1995-2000. Solich will look to equal Grobe’s win mark in his 62nd game in Athens, while Grobe reached win 33 in game #67. Don Peden tops the list with 121 wins from 1924-46. The Bobcats have made tremendous strides in taking care of the football this season. Dating back to the 2008 season finale at Miami, Ohio had as many or fewer turnovers as the opposition in nine straight contests before that streak was snapped in the 20-17 win at Ball State. Ohio’s zero turnovers against Temple marked the first time the program had a turnover-less game since the 48-37 loss at Akron on Nov. 7, 2007.
A total of 26 repeat selections from last year’s All-MAC team highlights this year’s postseason football awards in the Mid-American Conference. Central Michigan senior quarterback Dan LeFevour was tabbed as the winner of the 28th Vern Smith Leadership Award, as voted on by the conference head coaches. The award is presented annually to the conference’s top football player in honor of Vern Smith, the former University of Toledo Athletic Director.
LeFevour led the Chippewas to an 8-0 conference record, 10-2 overall, and is tied with Graham Harrell (Texas Tech) and Colt Brennan (Hawaii) for the most total touchdowns of any player in Football Bowl Subdivision history with 146 touchdowns (99 passing, 46 rushing, 1 receiving). LeFevour is the conference career leader in total offensive yards (15,140), attempts (1,669), completions (1,110), passing yards (12,255) and is tied for second in touchdown passes (99).
In other awards voted by the MAC News Media Association, Temple was recognized with three awards including Coach of the Year, Al Golden, Freshman of the Year with running back Bernard Pierce and Defensive Player of the Year with defensive end Adrian Robinson. Central Michigan also was recognized with two honors as Offensive Player of the Year went to Dan LeFevour and Special Teams Player of the Year went to kick returner Antonio Brown.
Pierce, a freshman running back from Ardmore, Pa., helped ignite the Temple offense this season as the Owls ranked 21st in the country in rushing with an average of 192.3 yards per game. Pierce led the MAC and ranked 13th in the nation in rushing with 1,308 yards on 224 carries and 15 rushing touchdowns.
LeFevour, a senior quarterback, led the Chippewas’ in rushing with 157 carries for 650 yards (4.1 avg.) and 14 rushing touchdowns and was 257-of-362 passing for 2,788 yards and 25 touchdowns. LeFevour ranked ninth in the nation in passing efficiency (155.72 rating) and ranked 25th in the country with 2,788 passing yards.
Robinson, a sophomore defensive end from Harrisburg, Pa., was part of a Temple defense that ranked 20th in the nation in run defense and allowed only 108.3 yards per game. Robinson led the MAC and tied for tenth in the country with 12 sacks on the year. In addition, Robinson totaled 42 tackles, 12 tackles for loss, five forced fumbles and one interception.
Brown, a junior kick returner from Miami, Fla., had 20 punt returns for 270 yards (13.5 avg.) and two touchdowns and also added 27 kickoff returns for 550 yards (20.4 avg.). Brown ranked eighth in the country in all-purpose yards with 2,093 yards (174.4 ypg).
Golden, in his fourth season as head coach at Temple, guided the Owls to a 9-3 overall record, 7-1 in the MAC. Golden led the program to nine consecutive wins during the season and has revamped the football program during his four seasons in Philadelphia. Since arriving at Temple, the Owls have improved in wins each consecutive season under Golden, with one win in 2006, four wins in 2007, five wins in 2008 to nine wins in 2009.
Temple led the way with eight first team selections, followed by Central Michigan with six first team selections. Overall, Temple set the pace with 15 honorees, followed by Ohio with 12 and Central Michigan with 11.
Defensive Back Barry Church (Toledo) becomes one of only three players in MAC history to be named a four-time All-MAC first team selection. Church joins P Dave Zastudil, Ohio University (1998-2001) and QB Brian McClure, Bowling Green (1982-85) on this list.
Those who made their third consecutive first team selections were DB Davonte Shannon (Buffalo) and PR Antonio Brown (Central Michigan). Players who made their second consecutive first team selections were WR Naaman Roosevelt (Buffalo), DL Frank Zombo (Central Michigan) and LB Nick Bellore (Central Michigan).