Running back Ontario Sneed carried 10 times for a season-high 121 yards, including an electrifying 44-yard touchdown run on the first play from scrimmage, leading Central Michigan (5-3 overall, 5-0 MAC) to a 31-14 win over Bowling Green (4-4 overall, 3-2 MAC) Thursday night.
"The O-line did a great job blocking," Sneed said. "We've been practicing that play. It's a tackle pull, I read off the tackle and took it outside."
Sneed's touchdown run was set-up by Eric Fraser, who returned the opening kickoff 50 yards to the BGSU 44-yard line.
Fraser made another big play later in the first quarter when he intercepted an Anthony Turner pass and returned it 47 yards for a touchdown, giving the Chippewas a 14-0 lead with 3:14 remaining.
"My family was watching back home so I didn't want to drop it," said Fraser, a native of Burnaby, British Columbia. "It was probably the longest 47-yard run of my life."
CMU built a 17-0 lead in the second quarter when kicker Rick Albreski booted a career best 48-yard field goal.
The lead was short-lived though, as BGSU's Freddie Barnes scored two second quarter touchdowns on a 6-yard pass from Turner and a 1-yard run, closing the gap to 17-14 at halftime.
CMU head coach Brian Kelly was not pleased with the play of his team near the end of the first half.
"I challenged our football team at halftime for the first time this season," Kelly said. "We didn't handle ourselves well with the lead. We turned the ball over and Bowling Green took advantage and got back in the football game. I was most proud of the way we responded in the second half."
Following a scoreless third quarter, lightning struck for CMU on the second play of the fourth quarter.
Struggling to move the ball deep in its own territory, CMU quarterback Dan LeFevour found Obed Cetoute open over the middle and he outran two Falcon defenders for an 88-yard touchdown reception. The score increased the Chippewas lead to 24-14 with 14:06 remaining.
Bowling Green took the ensuing kickoff and marched to the CMU 7-ayrd line where the drive stalled. The Falcons attempted a 24-yard field goal but Cetoute blocked it and the score remained 24-14 in favor of the Chippewas.
CMU responded with an 80-yard, 11-play drive that culminated with a 15-yard touchdwon pass from LeFevouer to Justin Gardner that sealed the win for the Chippewas.
LeFevour finished the night 15-of-25 passing for 212 yards and two touchdowns
With the victory, CMU stays unbeaten at 5-0 and alone in first place in the MAC West. The last two CMU teams to begin the MAC season with a 5-0 record, in 1979 and 1990, both went on to win the MAC Championship.
"This puts us in position," Kelly said. "There are going to be three bowl games in this league, you just want to be there when they're passing out invitations."
The Chippewas don't play again until Nov. 4 when they visit Temple. CMU returns to Kelly/Shorts Stadium Friday night Nov. 10 for its home finale against arch-rival Western Michigan.
Big Plays Lead to CMU Win Over BGSU, 31-14
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