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Know your foe: Week 5 Central Michigan

The School:

The "Central Michigan Normal School and Business Institute" opened over an office downtown Mount Pleasant in 1892. Their mission was to train eighth grade graduates for several weeks, or months, prior to them beginning their careers as teachers. Basically CMU started out as a High School aimed at getting 9th grades to be professional educators in a semester.

By 1959 the school had grown to 40 buildings and supported an enrollment of 4,500 students. Because of its growth and academic diversity it was renamed Central Michigan University. Today it offers a broad catalog of 150 programs and 3,000 classes for nearly 30 thousand students.

CMU Athletics:

CMU takes their mascot name from the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe, a Tribe with which the university holds a very positive relationship. It was the Saginaw who came to the schools aid when in 2005 the Chips were placed on the NCAA's list of schools with "hostile and abusive" nicknames. With the aid of the Saginaw CMU was able to mount a successful appeal to their placement and retains their name to this day.

Central Michigan had great success as a division II program, winning the national football championship in 1974 (and being voted runner up twice). They also placed second in men's swimming and diving (1958), and in NCAA Division II Baseball (1971).

Of late CMU has been one of the more dominant teams in Mid American Conference Football and the play of their Quarterback Dan Lefevour has will probably keep them on the national radar when draft talk begins in earnest later this season. They have won two of the last three MAC championships and have been to three straight bowl games.

In 2009 the Chips will be sporting a new look, their revamped uniforms have drawn some sharp criticism from fans, specifically the use of yellow pants.

Series history and last meeting:

These two teams never met before Buffalo joined the Mid American Conference in 1999, since that time they have played five games with Central Michigan being the victor in four of the contest. The Bulls sole win came in 2004 when P.J. Piskorik had one of his best games as a UB Quarterback leading UB to a convincing 36-6 win in Amherst. This seasons match up, the sixth in the series, will mark the fifth time Buffalo has had the home field advantage.

Last years meeting was one of the more emotionally crushing defeats Buffalo suffered all season. While it was Dan LeFevor's hundred yard rushing game that did most of the damage the game was won for the Chips when Ontario Sneed put Central Michigan up by nine points with less than three minutes to go.

Drew Willy would lead a UB scoring drive and after a successful onside kick he drove the Bulls within a 46 yard FG of victory. With time expiring the kick went off the right upright depriving UB of what would have been a signature victory. The Bulls did play a far tighter game than anyone expected and got in their fair share of quality hits on the Chips

Whats Changed for them:

One of the reasons they are expected to win the conference is because not much has changed for Central Michigan, MAC teams can expect the same foe they have faced for the past three seasons. They will run the same offensive and defensive sets with the same key personnel, remaining just as hard to beat as before.

The only area of real concern for CMU may have rebuilding their offensive line. With the graduations of Andrew Hartline and Greg Wojt along with the unexpected departure of Joe McMahon the chips will put Lafevour. Ontario Sneed will be a noticeable loss, he was a potent receiving threat out of the backfield but with so many skill players returning Central Michigan should not have too much trouble easing someone new into that role. On defense the Chips are losing the center of their line and some of their depth with starters Casey Drocha, and Tredale Kennedy along with backup Mark Dietz all graduating.

Why to be Optimistic:

The upgrades on defensive line may be more important in this contest than in any other the Bulls faced last season. Lefevour ran for one hundred yards last season against a UB defense who typically struggle against dual threat quarterbacks, this year a faster more athletic line against a greener CMU line may allow better containment.

If UB can limit the damage that Lefevour does with his legs and nobody steps up to fill Ontario Sneed's role UB can hold CMU under 30 points, at under 30 points UB will be in this game particularly if they can take advantage of the holes in the center of CMU's defense. Maynard may be able to do some real damage to the Chips on the ground and if Thermilus can get his hands together out of the backfield by this point in the season his style of running will do very well against Central Michigan.

Why to be Pessimistic:

Position for position CMU is a more talented football program and even with Drew Willy playing an exceptional game last year we came up short. For UB to beat the Chips they are going to have to drop at least 30 points few teams in the MAC managed that against a defense that returns all its linebackers, defensive backs, and outside linemen.

Game Category (Very Important):

Every conference game is very important but unless it gets to common opponents the UB/CMU game wont factor into any kind of conference tie-breaking. Perhaps the fact this is one of our home games is as important a factor as we can get.


CMU 34 - UB 20