Central Michigan Downs MTSU
by Mike Mitchell
Interim coach Jeff Quinn led Central Michigan past Middle Tennessee 31-14 for its first bowl win (1-2) in history in front of a Motor City Bowl record crowd of 54,113.
The Blue Raiders were vying to help their conference, the Sun Belt, complete the bowl season 2-0 after Troy upended Rice 41-17 in the New Orleans Bowl for the league's second bowl win in its short existence. But Central Michigan jumped out to a 14-0 lead and was never seriously challenged.
After Middle Tennessee cut the lead to 14-7 in the second quarter, head coach Rick Stockstill tried to catch the Chippewas off-guard with an onside kick. However, it was recovered by Central Michigan and the Chippewas quickly converted the great field position into a touchdown. Just 39 seconds after MTSU had found new life,
its onside kick helped CMU re-open a 14-point lead and the Blue Raiders failed to get any closer the rest of the game.
Quarterback Dan LeFevour scored that touchdown on a 9-yard scamper to the right, part of his 69-yard rushing performance. He added 162 yards passing with a 29-yard TD pass to Ontario Sneed.
Quarterback Clint Marks was 25-of-37 for 251 yards for Middle Tennessee, but two interceptions and 10 penalties didn't help the Blue Raiders' cause.
Central Michigan finished the season 10-4 without the head coach that led them to their first MAC title and bowl appearance since 1994. Brian Kelly resigned December 3 to take over the program at Cincinnati.