CMU seniors go out in style with GMAC Bowl win Print E-mail
Written by Mike Smith   
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Central Michigan's senior class helped guide the Chippewas to more wins (38) than any MAC football program over the last four years. File photo.
MOBILE, Ala. - If they didnt save their best for last, they sure came close.
Central Michigans senior class capped off its stellar gridiron run with a dramatic 44-41 GMAC Bowl double overtime win over Troy (9-4) Wednesday at Ladd Peebles Stadium.

Both teams scored seven points in the first overtime, but junior cornerback Vince Agnew opened the door for a CMU victory when he raced around end to block a Trojans field goal attempt in the second overtime.  After picking up six yards on three plays, Central Michigan (12-2) turned to senior kicker Andrew Aguila, who converted the 37-yard game-winner.

Aguila and quarterback Dan Lefevour played key roles in the victory. Both are members of a senior class that posted 38 wins the most of any Mid-American Conference program - over the last four years.

Aguila had five field goals and Lefevour added to his legendary career with a gritty effort that included 395 passing yards and his 150th touchdown. He also ran for a score. The performance moves him into second-place in NCAA history with 15, 853 yards of total offense.

Another key contributor to the win was Antonio Brown. The junior not only led Central Michigan receivers with 13 catches for a career-high 178 yards, he also scored on a seven-yard run and returned a kickoff 95 yards for a touchdown.

The kickoff return came at a crucial point of the game for CMU. Through three-and-a-half quarters, the Chippewas had scored just one TD (Browns seven-yard third quarter run) while settling for Aguila field goals on four other drives.

DuJuan Harris one-yard TD run with 8:01 put the Trojans up 31-19 with 8:01 left. Brown, however, caught the ensuing kickoff and took it back for a score. It was the second kickoff return for a TD in Browns career and fifth special teams touchdown in his three seasons at CMU.

Troy and CMU both came into the contest with high-powered offenses capable of scoring in bunches. Central Michigan ranked 16th nationally (FBS) in scoring (33.15 ppg.), while Troy was just one spot back with a 33.08 ppg. average.

Surprisingly, the two offenses sputtered through a first half that ended with Troy holding a 10-9 lead.

Harris nine-yard reception at 3:52 of the first quarter was the only TD before intermission. The Trojans added a 28-yard Michael Taylor field goal, and Aguila put three kicks (28, 35, 44-yards) through the uprights.

Shawn Southwards one-yard run for a Troy touchdown opened a second half in which the two teams combined to score 49 points.

Aguila hit is fourth field goal (42 yards) of the game and Brown added his third rushing TD of the season as CMU took its first lead of the game (19-17) with 2:46 left in the third stanza.

Troy reclaimed the lead with a 9-play, 72-yard drive, capped by Harris six-yard run with 23 seconds left in the quarter.

The 5-7, 195-pound junior from Brooksville, Fla., who averaged 8.0 ypc. while picking up 112 yards, added his second TD of the game on Troys next drive. However, the 31-19 advantage lasted 13 seconds the time it took Brown to return the ensuing kickoff 95 yards.

Central Michigan stopped the Trojans on their next drive, but Will Goggans 32-yard punt left CMU - down 31-26 -  85-yards from the Troy goal line with 4:28 remaining.

After taking five steps back with a false start penalty, LeFevour launched the drive forward with a 27-yard pass to Brown.

LeFevour connected with Brown three more times and also found three other receivers during an 11-play drive. Bryan Andersons diving catch on a four-yard play provided what Chippewa fans hoped would be the winning score with 1:17 remaining.

Troy, now trailing 34-31, had other ideas and its own standout quarterback. Levi Brown, who completed 31-of-56 for 386 yards and a touchdown, moved the Trojans into field goal position with two passes.

The first went to Jerrel Jernigan for 23 yards, advancing Troy to the CMU 40. Jernigan kept Central Michigans defense busy all night. The 5-9, 184-pound junior led Troy with nine receptions for 154 yards. He also rushed six times for 39 yards and contributed another 157 yards on seven kick returns.

Browns second pass of the drive went to Tebiarus Gill and gave the Trojans a first down at the CMU 29. That, however, was as far as Troy could get.  Three straight incompletions forced a field goal attempt, and Taylor delivered with a 46-yarder to tie the score.

Taylor had another chance to tie the game in the second overtime, but Agnew came through with his block. Ironically, the Trojans also lost in last years R & L Carriers bowl on a blocked field goal try in overtime.

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