September 12, 2009
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Central Michigan 29, Michigan State 27. A lot of
ink pixels have been spilled the last three years over Dan LeFevour, prolific passer, gutsy runner and darkhorse Heisman contender (but not really), and for good reason given his numbers and the Chippewas' success in their conference. The one thing the premiere player in the MAC hasn't had, though, is a really impressive upset: Since LeFevour took over as the starter in 2006, Central Michigan was 1-10 coming into today against "Big Six" conference schools, by an average score of 43-23. The high-flying Chippewa offense was held below 20 points in five of those games, including a six-point effort last week at Arizona. Their only win in that category before the Spartans bit the dust today was a three-point win over Big Ten doormat Indiana last November.
LeFevour was great today -- 33-of-46 for 350 yards, three touchdown passes and three fourth quarter scoring drives for the comeback -- as he had to be, but the reality is it took the CMU defense to finally step up to get the team over the top: MSU had 315 total yards and only had three possessions in the entire second half.
And yes, that's bad for Michigan State; going back to last October, the Spartans are only averaging a hair over 300 yards total offense against I-A defenses and have now been held below 320 yards -- way, way below average, even by Big Ten standards -- in eight of those games. I would say this confirms how overrated the Spartans were in the preseason, but given the close calls and outright flops already by Ilinois, Iowa and Wisconsin, maybe MSU isn't that out place right now in the Big Ten.