The Chippewas (6-1 overall, 4-0 Mid-American Conference) scored twice in the final 1:20 of the first half to break a 13-13 tie en route to a 34-23 win at Western Michigan on Saturday.
The win is CMU's fourth straight in the series, the Chippewas' longest winning streak against their rivals since a five-game winning streak from 1983-87.
While the two teams combined for 923 yards of total offense, it was a play by the CMU defense that provided the biggest momentum swing of the contest.
Dan LeFevour connected with a wide-open Bryan Schroeder for a 15-yard touchdown pass to give the Chippewas a 20-13 lead with 1:20 left in the first half. Four plays after the touchdown, Nick Bellore intercepted WMU's Tim Hiller at the Chippewa 47-yard line and weaved his way back to the WMU 3-yard line with just 18 seconds remaining in the half. Schroeder plunged in from 2 yards out to give CMU a 27-13 lead at intermission.
Central Michigan tacked on a 9-yard touchdown pass from LeFevour to Antonio Brown early in the fourth quarter.
The Chippewas took a 3-0 lead on their opening possession. After forcing Western Michigan (3-4 overall, 2-2 MAC) into a three-and-out to open the game, CMU called on Andrew Aguila to convert a 37-yard field goal to open the scoring.
The Broncos evened the score at 3-3 on the ensuing possession, with John Potter converting the first of his three field goals to cap a nine-play, 55-yard drive.
After the CMU defense forced its third three-and-out of the first quarter, LeFevour hit a streaking Bryan Anderson for a 65-yard gain down the CMU sideline. The play set up a 2-yard dive by LeFevour that put the Chippewas back in front.
Aguila added a 40-yard field goal early in the second period that stretched CMU's lead to 13-3, but the Broncos scored 10 straight points—a 33-yard Potter field goal and an 18-yard touchdown throw from Hiller to Juan Nunez on fourth-and-2—to tie the score with 2:33 left in the first half.
The Chippewas' two scores in the half's final 80 seconds put them in front for good.
LeFevour finished 18-of-30 through the air for 238 yards and two scores. He also ran for 76 yards and a touchdown. Antonio Brown ran the ball eight times for 100 yards and caught a touchdown pass. Bryan Anderson became CMU's all-time leader in receiving yardage in the win. He finished with seven catches for 133 yards.
Matt Berning and Bellore led the CMU defense with 13 and 12 tackles, respectively. Bellore recorded two sacks to go along with his 50-yard interception return.
CMU is back on the road next weekend, visiting Bowling Green at noon. The game will be televised on ESPN Plus and ESPN GamePlan.
CMU Retains Victory Cannon with 34-23 Win
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