September 13, 2009

MSU/CMU Game Review

Another chapter in the Central Michigan football program has officially been written. Saturday saw the Chippewas knock off Michigan State 29-27 in an instant classic that had it all. After an out of character night against Arizona last week, the potent CMU offense came alive and accounted for over 400 yards of total offense against one of the Big Ten's stingiest defenses. The stars showed up and performed as Dan LeFevour, Bryan Anderson and Antonio Brown all made significant plays and put their imprint on the outcome of the game. ChippewaCountry was present at Spartan Stadium on Saturday and came away with these game thoughts:

*Can't say enough about the job Andrew Aguila did. Despite missing an earlier field goal in the game, he kept his composure and his confidence and ended up nailing the game winning field goal, all after he was iced twice due to the penalty. The onside kick was a work of perfection, exactly how coaches envision an onside kick when they call for it. To cap it off, Aguila drilled an MSU player in the back on the final kickoff with three seconds left in the game to halt any chance the Spartans would have had at a miracle.

*Official attendance at the game was 76,211. Great showing by the CMU faithful as maroon and gold was well represented.

*The run defense was once again solid. MSU tried and tried to establish a running game, but CMU came up with timely stops and forced the Spartan quarterbacks to beat them. John Williams was once again a force and a hobbled Sean Murnane played like a warrior. Steve Winston also was a stalwart.

*Great game management by the CMU coaches. Once the offense got rolling, they used the clock well and played at a fast pace that had the Michigan State defense tired and substituting inexperienced players.

*The offensive line sure came back and redeemed themselves. Jake Olson was once again a monster and played a terrific game, not only in pass protection but the run game and blocking on screens. Colin Miller was an anchor and consistently was at the next level making blocks. And, how about the improvement of Rocky Weaver? After a baptism by fire experience against Arizona, he played a solid game on Saturday and showed he can be an effective tackle. Jeff Maddux was his usual consistent self and had a few pancake blocks. Allen Ollenburger had his moments as well, although he missed a key block on Greg Jones during a screen pass in 4th quarter that would have resulted in a large gain. Overall, this entire unit looked much improved from week one.

*The seniors stepped up and delivered tremendous performances. Not only did they play well, they showed leadership. One play in particular that stood out was when Kirkston Edwards was hit late on a kickoff and proceeded to get into a shoving match with an MSU player. Senior Tommy Mama ran over, got in Edwards face and guided him towards the CMU sideline. In the long run plays like that add up and negate costly penalties.

*LeFevour sure bounced back from an up and down 2nd half of 2008 and first week of this season. He played poised, made terrific decisions with the ball and kept numerous plays alive with his legs and vision down field. It's obvious that he took the Arizona loss hard and wanted to prove a point against MSU. He can now also cross of that elusive BCS victory off his to do list.

*Cody Wilson made an appearance and played well, catching a few passes and showing his sure hands.

* Paris Cotton came in and sparked the offense with a few runs and a huge touchdown catch. Him and Bryan Schroeder really showed they have the ability to be pass catching threats from the running back position.

*The special teams return coverage was very questionable in the first half. MSU started way too many possessions past the forty yard line and were able to cash in with points when they had good field position. The coverage improved ten fold in the second half and it was a big reason MSU only tallied 10 second half points.

*I thought Tim Brazzel really had a strong game from the linebacker position. He made several sideline to sideline plays when MSU tried to stretch the field in the running game and really used his speed as an asset.

*The decision to go for two points and win the game as a team decision and a mutual call. Coach Jones was quoted as saying he looked every member of the offense in the eye and asked them what they wanted to do, and they all wanted to go for the win.

*TE David Blackburn[/db[ made a few nice catches and was a blocking force. He is used a lot in motion on running plays and showed he has the ability not only block at the line, but be an effective lead blocker.

*[db] Kito Poblah once again showed why he is developing into a top flight wide receiver. He had a few lapses during the first half, but looked focused in the second half and caught some huge passes on the final drives.

Overall, this victory is huge for a number of outside reasons, but more importantly is the Chippewas first win of the season and keeps them out of a possible 0-2 record. CMU is now 3-4 all-time against MSU and have won their last two games against the Big Ten (Indiana last year). The Chippewas will next host Alcorn State on September 19th in the home opener.

Stick to ChippewaCountry for the latest in CMU athletics and recruiting.

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