Chippewas Hard to Figure Out

Central Michigan has been completely schizophrenic this season.

The Chippewas are either getting blown out or dropping some serious points on their opponents. And trying to determine which will happen at Clemson on Saturday isn't all that easy.

Central Michigan began the season with brutal, lopsided losses to Kansas, Purdue and Football Championship Subdivision North Dakota State, which is currently ranked No. 1 in that division.

However, the Chippewas have scored 140 points in their last three games and are 3-0 in conference play.

One thing is for certain, Central Michigan sophomore quarterback Dan LeFevour starting to come into his own in the hurry-up spread offense.

He is the current USA Today National Player of the Week after completing 30-of-39 passes for 251 yards and two touchdowns, while also running for 100 yards and four touchdowns in his team's 47-23 win over Army.

In LeFevour's last two games, he's combined to complete 60-of-77 passes (77.9 percent) for 611 yards and seven touchdowns. He's also rushed 30 times for 246 yards and five touchdowns.

In not even two years, he's already become the school's all-time leader in touchdown passes.

On the season, LeFevour is completing 66.5 percent of his passes for 1,749 yards and 13 touchdowns. He only has five interceptions. At the same time, he's averaging 6.0 yards per carry and has gained 440 yards and scored eight touchdowns.

"Dan really understands the game and does a tremendous job of managing the offense." Chippewas coach Butch Jones said in a national newspaper. "The players and coaches have an enormous amount of confidence in his ability."

Jones als said the sudden turnaround by his team is directly related to sudden improvement of the offensive line.

"It's a great security blanket," he said this week to a newspaper in Michigan. "The quarterback can get back there, get his feet set and he knows he's going to have ample time to throw the ball."

Unique concept, isn't it?

However, while LeFevour is setting records offensively, the defense has been downright awful. How else can you explain giving up an average of 34.7 points per game overall and an incredible 45 points per game on the road?

Central Michigan is ranked 110th in total defense, giving up a ridiculous 475 yards per game. And the yards are coming equally through the air and ground.

But on the bright side, its defense has gotten better, giving up just 20 points per game over the past three weeks and forced seven turnovers against Army.

"We had a lot of guys playing out of position (in the secondary) due to injuries, but we're really a lot healthier there now," Jones said.

But Clemson isn't Army or Toledo or Ball State or Northern Illinois and it remains to be seen how the new and improved Chippewas handle their biggest test of the season.

"If that team (Clemson) is not a Top 25 team, then I don't know what a Top 25 team looks like," Jones said. "They have one of the most imposing defensive lines I have seen."

Nonetheless, stranger things have happened. Just ask California, Michigan and Southern Cal.

"I thought earlier this season in our non-conference games, especially against Purdue, that our kids came out a little awestruck and were hoping to compete instead of expecting to win," Jones said. "I think now they have more confidence and should be better prepared to compete against Clemson."

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