Chippewas Start The Engines, Win Motor City Bowl

Dec. 26, 2006

DETROIT (AP) -Central Michigan did enough at the start of each half to win its first Division I-A bowl.

Ontario Sneed scored twice early and Doug Kress returned an interception for a touchdown on the opening possession of the second half Tuesday night, helping the Chippewas beat Middle Tennessee State 31-14 in the Motor City Bowl.

"You always want to set the tempo early in the game," Sneed said. "Their defense had trouble matching up with us the way we were running and passing the ball."

Central Michigan (10-4) was led by interim coach Jeff Quinn, who was promoted three weeks ago when Brian Kelly was wooed away by the Cincinnati Bearcats. The Chippewas lost the 1994 Las Vegas and 1990 California Raisin Bowls.

The Blue Raiders (7-6) played in a Division I-A bowl for the first time in their eighth season at college football's highest level.

Sneed's 1-yard run and 29-yard reception gave the Chippewas a 14-0 lead with 5:53 left in the first quarter and Kress' 56-yard return put the Mid-American Conference champions ahead by three TDs early in the third.

The Blue Raiders held Central Michigan to minus-6 yards on its first two drives in the second half, then DeMarco McNair's 6-yard run made it 28-14 early in the fourth quarter.

Central Michigan botched a field goal attempt on the ensuing possession, giving the Sun Belt Conference co-champions hope until McNair was stuffed at the line on a fourth-and-1 from their 29 with 5 1/2 minutes left.

That stop set up Rick Albreski's 43-yard field goal to make it 31-14.

The Chippewas kept Middle Tennessee State on its heels with a balanced offense.

Dan LeFevour threw for 162 yards and a score and ran for 69 yards and a TD. Sneed ran for 48 yards and caught six passes for another 48 yards.

Clint Marks was 25-of-37 for 251 yards with two interceptions. Desmond Gee had nine receptions for 63 yards and returned a punt for 39 yards to set up the Blue Raiders' final score.

Central Michigan defensive end Dan Bazuin, an NFL prospect, had a scare with a knee injury in the first half, but returned after a halftime evaluation. Bazuin's pressure on Marks forced an early and errant throw, helping Kress make an interception that he returned easily for a score.

The 10th Motor City Bowl, featuring a team from Michigan for the first time, drew a record crowd of 54,113 at the home of the NFL's Detroit Lions.

"People laughed at us when we started this bowl," Motor City Bowl CEO George Perles said. "I don't think people can do that anymore."



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