October 30, 2009

The Preview: BC/Central Michigan

After last week's debilitating loss in South Bend, the Eagles now have their last out of conference matchup against 7-1 Central Michigan out of the MAC. The Eagles need to focus on this week's game after their letdown against Notre Dame, a game they easily should have won.

Enter Dan LeFevour, a Davey O'Brien semifinalist, who is prepared to give this stout BC defense all they can handle. Who is Dan LeFevour you may ask? Well, he only leads all active players with 132 career touchdowns, and he's fifth in the nation in completion percentage (70%) this season. For his career, LeFevour is first in completions, attempts, and total offense, second in passing yards and tied for third in touchdown passes among active Division I quarterbacks.

In addition to his tremendous passing records, he also ran for 1,100 yards and had 19 rushing touchdowns in 2007. Sure he plays in a smaller conference, against weaker opponents, yet you simply cannot overlook these numbers. He's guaranteed to have his name called in next year's NFL draft. And BC's only job on defense is to shut him down. On to the preview. . .

When Central Michigan runs: Advantage CMU

I swear I don't have a man-crush on Dan LeFevour, but guess who the leading rusher is for the Chips? LeFevour has nine touchdowns and 578 yards rushing so far on the season. There are plenty of designed running plays for him, even as they spread the field. Dan is pretty quick, and has the ability to get to the corner in a hurry. This poses another disadvantage to playing soft coverage for the BC defense.

One pet play that the Chips like to run is putting receiver Antonio Brown in motion, then handing him the ball as he runs a sweep to the wide side, with a pulling guard leading the way. Alex Albright and Jim Ramella need to keep their contain and stay upfield in order to keep the Chips running game inside.

When Central Michigan passes: Advantage CMU

The Chippewas run a quick passing offense, with LeFevour relying heavily on a three step drop out of a spread formation. Dapper Dan has a great ability to step up in the pocket to avoid the rush, and deliver the ball before the receivers comes out of their break. Central Michigan's passing game lives on the short stuff, and LeFevour is able to make quick decisions out of five-wide sets. CMU loves to draw the defensive backs up to stop the shorter routes, then run double moves to open up the receivers down the field.

I'm still not sure why the Eagles don't bring their cornerbacks up to jam on the line of scrimmage, but that's why Bill McGovern gets the big bucks. If you give this offense eight yards to set up shop, they will burn you every time. BC was able to keep Jimmy Clausen in check last week, and there's no doubt that they will be up to the task again, however I would venture to say that LeFevour is more efficient in this offense. Clausen destroyed the Eagles on short-to-medium routes last week, and I'm not sure if McGovern is the type of coach to adjust his style to who he's playing.

Look out for CMU receiver Bryan Anderson, who has a streak of 48 straight games with a catch, the longest active streak in the country. The all-time record is 51 games. Antonio Brown leads the team with 48 catches for 544 yards and seven touchdowns. Between Anderson, Brown, andKito Poblah the Chips have three receivers with over 30 receptions so far this season.

DeLeon Gause is questionable for the Eagles, and that could lead to a major advantage for CMU if the Eagles are missing one of their best cover men.

When BC Runs: Advantage CMU

Central Michigan ranks 32nd in the nation against the run, and a major reason for that ranking is #46, middle linebacker Nick Bellore. Bellore has an innate ability to distinguish runs from passes, and is able to find his way underneath blockers to get to the ball carrier.

Defensive end Larry Knight is another player to watch. Last week he had two sacks to go along with three tackles for losses. The 6'4" senior end has the speed to get outside with his pass rush, and he should give Anthony Castonzo all he can handle.

With Josh Haden's departure,Montel Harris is now the only option for the Eagles in their running attack. Harris should be eager to make up for the goal line fumble last week, but I expect the Chips to load up the box and force Uncle Dave to beat them with his arm.

When BC Passes: Advantage BC

Dave Shinskie - inexperienced true freshman or grizzled 25-year old former minor leaguer? Shinskie certainly played the part of an amateur last week, as his last two interceptions put the nail in BC's coffin in South Bend. He gets a chance to make up for it this week against the 64th best passing defense of Central Michigan.

The Chips can be exploited on defense, as they give up 216 yards per game in the air. One name to be on the lookout for is defensive back Josh Gordy. He's a four year starter with three interceptions so far this season. Expect him to be lined up opposite Rich Gunnell on Saturday.

The Eagles passing game was firing on all cylinders last week against Notre Dame, aside from Shinskie's interceptions. If Uncle Dave can make his decisions in a timely manner, the Eagles should have no trouble airing it out.

Special Teams: Advantage BC

Ryan Quigley nailed three punts inside the twenty at South Bend, and has been a great asset in establishing field position for the Eagle defense. A big key to this game is for the Eagles to keep CMU pinned deep in their own territory.

Central Michigan kicker Andrew Aguila is only 8 of 12 from field goal range, and has missed two extra points so far this season. The Chippewas are also near the bottom of the national rankings in kickoff return yardage and kick return defense. Don't be surprised to see BC get an easy score on special teams.

Stats Central

Central Michigan is 15th nationally in points allowed (15 per game), 15th in 3rd down conversions (47%), and 7th in red zone defense with 28 attempts, that have resulted in only 10 touchdowns and 9 field goals (68%).

The Chippewas have lost 7 turnovers all year; however they just have 8 takeaways.

CMU has out-scored its eight opponents by a total of 100 points in the first half. The Chippewas have out-scored opponents by a combined 64-19 in the first quarter and 106-51 in the second quarter, and CMU has led games by an average score of 21.3-8.8 at halftime in 2009.

CMU has held five of its last six opponents scoreless in the first quarter. That means you don't want to come out flat against them in case you were wondering.

Vegas Vantage Point: BC +5.5


The Chippewas have proven that they can win on the road as they did in week 2 against Michigan State, with Dan LeFevour completing a miraculous come from behind victory. Central Michigan is on the cusp of becoming a Top-25 team with a win at the Heights.

BC needs to get to the quarterback, something they've failed to do all season. LeFevour is the real deal, and the Eagles better hope they play up for this game.

I see Central Michigan coming out to a hot start, then a dramatic BC comeback, with Shinskie atoning for his play last week.

BC 24, Central Michigan 23

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