Leading 7-0 at the half, the Chippewas (8-5, 7-1 MAC) scored four second half touchdowns and cruised to a 35-10 victory over Miami University (6-7, 5-3 MAC), winning their second consecutive MAC Championship.
It was Central Michigan's sixth MAC football title since beginning conference play in 1975. It was the first MAC title though for first- year CMU head coach Butch Jones, who was doused with water by a joyous band of Chippewa players in the game's final minute..
"Winning the championship didn't hit me until the water hit me," Jones said. "It's a great feeling but like I always say, it's not about me, it's about the kids."
The Chippewas opened the scoring in the first quarter when CMU quarterback Dan LeFevour connected with wide receiver Kito Poblah on a 3-yard touchdown pass. Poblah made a one-handed grab over a Miami defender in the right corner of the end zone to give CMU a 7-0 lead with 1:28 remaining in the first stanza.
The Miami defense tightened up though and held the Chippewas scoreless in the second quarter. In the second half though, LeFevour, who was named the game's MVP, took control. He rushed for 124 of his game leading 170 yards and scored two touchdowns on runs of 21 and 28 yards
The 28-yard TD scamper with 4:48 remaining in the game gave CMU a 35-10 lead and LeFevour 1,008 yards rushing for the season. LeFevour joins former University of Texas quarterback Vince Young as only the second player in Division I (Football Bowl Subdivision) history to compile 3,000 yards passing and 1,000 yards rushing in a season.
"It's really not about me," LeFevour said, "the offensive line did a great job opening holes today and all season long."
"He's the type of guy - I don't know if you can stop him altogether," Miami head coach Shane Montgomery said of LeFevour. "He's going to get his yards; he's big enough, he broke some tackles. I thought our defense probably defended him as wsell as we could through two-and-a-half quarters."
The RedHawks got on on the board with 6:23 remaining in the third quarter on a Nathan Parseghian 38-yard field goal to trim CMU's lead to 7-3.
The Chippewas took a commanding 14-3 lead less than two minutes laterthough on a 21-yard touchdown run by LeFevour, who scrambled down the right sideline and nudged the ball across the goal line before being pushed out of bounds.
"We wanted to put the ball in Dan's hands a little bit more in the seond half and the offensive line did a great job of blocking," Jones said.
LeFevour also completed 24-of-34 passes for 185 yards, including the first quarter TD pass to Poblah.
CMU running back Ontario Sneed added 67 yards rushing, including TD runs of 1-yard and seven yards in the fourth quarter. Miami's lone touchdown, a 12-yard strike from quarterback Daniel Raudabaugh to Armand Robinson, was sandwiched between Sneed's two touchdown runs.
Winning back-to-back MAC Championships was especially gratifying for the CMU players, according to senior linebacker Red Keith.
"This year meant more because winning back-to-back (championships) is very difficult," Keith said. "Also, we fought through so much adversity all season long and it's just a great feeling to be champions."
With the win, CMU has accepted an invitation to play in the 2007 Motor City Bowl Dec. 26 at Ford Field against a yet-to-be-determined Big Ten opponent. The Chippewas could play Michigan State, Indiana or Purdue. An announcement is expected Sunday on who will play CMU in the Motor City Bowl.