Central Michigan might have raised a few Bulldog eyebrows because of their bowl performance against Purdue (51-48 loss). The offense, which averaged 34.8 points per game last season, is particularly intriguing because quarterback Dan LeFevour returns as one of only two players in NCAA history to throw for over 3,000 yards and rush for over 1,000 yards in a single season.
Hmmm...returning 16 starters and a ton of offensive firepower....could this be a dangerous team coming into Athens?
A look closer reveals that they averaged only 22.75 points per game against BCS teams in four match-ups (Kansas, Clemson and Purdue...twice). Most of those points came against a Purdue squad that was ranked 50th-75th nationally in every major defensive category of interest.
As Sportsline.com's CMU preview shows, these guys have a defense that teeters around keystone cops territory. Last year, they gave up 303.5 yards passing per game (118th in nation), 460 total yards per game (109th in the nation), and 36.93 points per game (111th in nation). They lost three key performers from a defense that struggled, and their returning defensive line averages 246.5 pounds.
Points Allowed Defensively Last Season:
- vs. Kansas: 52 points
vs. Purdue (regular season): 45 points
vs. North Dakota State: 44 points
vs. Ball State: 38 points
vs. Clemson: 70 points
vs. Kent State: 32 points
vs. Eastern Michigan: 48 points
vs. Akron: 32 points
This is the perfect defense to face if you are breaking in young wide receivers and a patchwork offensive line. Particularly against a pass rush that finished 94th in the nation in sacks last year.
Are you at all nervous?