A Central Michigan defender undercuts Bowling Green's Chris Bullock in the second half. The Falcons fell to 3-5 on the season.
BOWLING GREEN - Every team that takes on Central Michigan understands the importance of keeping all-purpose quarterback Dan LeFevour in check.
Bowling Green State University clearly knew it before the two Mid-American Conference foes met yesterday at Perry Stadium.
Trying to actually accomplish such a plan proved to be more than the Falcons bargained for as LeFevour accounted for 275 total yards while leading the Chippewas to a 24-10 win before a crowd of 10,042.
LeFevour rushed for 128 yards on 22 carries and completed 16 of 22 passes for 147 yards and two touchdowns, which proved to be more than enough to lead CMU (7-1, 5-0 MAC) to its seventh straight victory.
"Any time you play a dual-threat quarterback, it's a big problem, a big challenge," safety Jahmal Brown said. "I think we had a pretty decent game plan. It was a matter of going out and executing.
"We missed a lot of tackles today, and we had a few mistakes. When you play a team as good as Central Michigan, you have to limit those mistakes."
The Falcons (3-5, 2-2 MAC) didn't make their job any easier by turning the football over twice in the red zone.
Quarterback Tyler Sheehan passed for 341 yards while completing 35 of 55 passes, but he was intercepted by CMU's Josh Gordy with the Falcons trailing 14-7 and threatening to score late in the second quarter.
Wideout Chris Wright was guilty of the Falcons' other key turnover when he fumbled a carry off an inside handoff play inside the Chippewas' 15-yard line with just over six minutes left in the third quarter and BG trailing 17-10.
Committing errors against CMU, a team that hadn't lost to a MAC East Division opponent in 16 games, proved damaging in the Falcons' effort to win on their home turf for only the second time in four chances this season.
"Certainly a lot of the mistakes we made are a result of the quality of the competition," Coach Dave Clawson said. "Central is 7-1 for a reason.
"They find ways of getting off the field in the red zone, whether it's turnovers or getting third-down stops and teams missing field goals. That's a credit to them that they are a good football team, and we're not the first team they've done that to."
Wide receiver Freddie Barnes came through with the Falcons' lone touchdown when he cradled a 24-yard touchdown pass from Sheehan to tie the score at 7 with 11:26 remaining in the second quarter. The country's leading receiver added to his reception total by pulling in 14 passes for 172 yards, which gives him 99 catches for 1,054 yards on the season.
Barnes said they missed out on too many opportunities against the Chippewas, who sacked Sheehan three times and hurried him often.
"Offensively, we have to do a better job with coming away with points," Barnes said. "Our goal is to go down and score touchdowns. That's definitely something we need to go work on. It was tough because those were critical points in the game. We drove all the way down field on their defense. They're pretty good [defensively] in the red zone, but at the same time, I feel like if we did our job it would have allowed us to put some more points on the board."
LeFevour directed four CMU scoring drives. Antonio Brown finished off two of them. Brown capped off CMU's first scoring drive with a six-yard touchdown run to give the Chippewas a 7-0 lead with 11:04 left in the opening quarter. He also pulled in a pass from LeFevour for a 29-yard touchdown reception to give CMU a 14-7 lead midway through the second quarter. The touchdown completion was LeFevour's 1,000-career pass completion.
LeFevour guided the Chippewas on two scoring drives after halftime to extend CMU's 14-10 halftime lead.
Oftentimes, the Chippewas quarterback kept drives alive by eluding would-be tacklers on his way to racing toward a first down marker or avoiding a sack and delivering a pass to one of his receivers for a first down.
"He's a really good athlete and, in some cases, he was a better athlete than the guy trying to tackle him," Clawson said. "What he did to our guys, he's done his whole career and he's done all year."
LeFevour, who stands 6-foot-3 and weighs 238 pounds, seemed able to do whatever was necessary against a Falcons defense that has had trouble slowing quarterbacks equally effective running or passing.
"The big thing with LeFevour is, you see his stats and you see him on film, you don't really realize the size that he has until you see him in person," Brown said. "Trying to tackle him, he's a big guy, and he runs hard. It wasn't so much an elusiveness. It was just the fact that he's big and we had guys underestimate his strength."
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