Nov. 27, 2006
ATHENS, Ohio - The Bobcat football team will go for its first MAC title since 1968 when it faces Central Michigan in the 2006 MAC Championship Game at Ford Field in Detroit on Thursday, Nov. 30. Kickoff on ESPN is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.
The Bobcats and Chippewas finished the season with identical 7-1 MAC records to win their respective divisions. It is the first time either team has played in the MAC title game.
Ohio will put its seven-game winning streak on the line Thursday. The Bobcats' seven-game winning streak is the longest since the 1968 squad won its first 10 outings before losing to Richmond in the Tangerine Bowl.
The Bobcats have won nine games in a season for the first time since the 1968 squad was 10-1. Ohio's seven MAC victories are the most in program history.
Junior running back Kalvin McRae (Decatur, Ga.) has rushed for more than 100 yards in a school-record seven consecutive games, including 180 yards last week against Miami. McRae has run for 1,139 yards this season, second-best in the MAC in both total yards and yards per game (94.3). McRae is the first Ohio player since Arnold Welcher in 1975 and 1976 to amass 1,000 rushing yards in consecutive seasons (1,153 in 2005). He currently ranks fourth on the Ohio single-season yardage list, 177 yards shy of setting the school mark (1,315 - Steveland Hookfin, 1998). McRae has already tied the Bobcats' single-season records for most rushing touchdowns in a season (14) and most 100-yard games in a season (8). His yardage total is the most ever by a Bobcat junior.
The Ohio defense is ranked among the MAC leaders in most statistical categories. The Bobcats are the MAC's stingiest scoring defense, allowing only 16.2 points per game. Even with an extra game this season, the Bobcats defense has allowed fewer points (194 in 2006; 336 in 2005), fewer rushing yards (1,561 in 2006; 1,863 yards in 2005), fewer passing yards (1,938 in 2006; 3,115 in 2005) and fewer total yards (3,499 in 2006; 4,978 in 2005) than it did last season. Senior linebacker Tyler Russ (Stetsonville, Wis.) is the team's top tackler with 82 stops. Senior linebacker Matt Muncy (Miamisburg, Ohio) has 78 tackles, including 14.5 for loss. The Bobcat cornerback tandem of senior T.J. Wright (Beumont, Texas) and sophomore Mark Parson (Richmond, Va.) rank first and second, respectively, in the MAC, and fifth and seventh in the nation, with 1.58 and 1.42 passes defended per game.
For the second straight week the Bobcats will face a prolific passing offense. The Chippewas are second in the conference and 20th in the nation, averaging 247.2 yards per game. Thursday's game will also pit the MAC's number-one scoring defense against the number-one scoring offense. Entering the contest, CMU is averaging 29.50 points per game, 24th best in the nation.
Dan LeFevour has been the trigger man for the Chippewas dynamic offense. He has completed 63.0 percent of his passes (209-for-332) for 2,555 yards and 22 touchdowns with only nine interceptions. He has also run for 442 yards and six touchdowns, leading the MAC in total offense at 249.75 yards per game. Bryan Anderson has been his favorite target with 61 catches for 746 yards and five touchdowns. Running back Ontario Sneed, the team's leading rusher iwth 586 yards, has also caught five touchdown passes as has Justin Gardner. Marcel Archer has found paydirt on the ground a team-best seven times.
The CMU defense is allowing 353.17 yards and 24.0 points per game. Red Keith is the team's top tackler with 109 stops. His 9.08 tackles per game ranks 26th in the nation. Doug Kress is second with 94 stops. Daniel Bauzin leads the Chippewas with 11.5 tackles for loss and 8.0 sacks. He has also forced a team-high four fumbles. Pacino Horne has racked up a team-high four interceptions.
Central Michigan leads the all-time series with the Bobcats, 18-4-2. The series began in 1972.
The Bobcats have won two of the last three meetings, but prior to Ohio's two recent victories (2000, 2001), CMU went 14-0-1 between 1981-1994. The Chippewas won last year's meeting, 37-10, in Mount Pleasant. The victory stopped a two-game winning streak for the Bobcats in the series. Thursday's game will be the first meeting in the series held on a neutral field.
For ticket information, contact the Ohio Athletics Ticket Office at 1-800-575-CATS.