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HomeSportsUT
Published: Thursday, 11/12/2009

Central Michigan rips UT

BY ZACH SILKA
BLADE SPORTS WRITER

MOUNT PLEASANT, Mich. - Central Michigan's Dan LeFevour was up to his old,

record-breaking ways and became the latest quarterback to overwhelm the University of Toledo defense.

The Rockets had no answer for the dual-threat senior signal-caller, who led the Chippewas back from an early 14-7 deficit and accounted for six touchdowns in the 56-28 victory last night in front of 18,310 at Kelly/

Shorts Stadium.

LeFevour was 29-of-36 passing for 341 yards and two touchdowns. He also rushed for 19 yards and four touchdowns.

"This is very disappointing when you're trying to build a program," UT coach Tim Beckman said.

To make matters worse for UT (4-6, 2-4 Mid-American Conference), senior quarterback Aaron Opelt re-injured his right shoulder in the second half and did not return.

Toledo's Stephen Williams spins to avoid Central Michigan'sNick Bellore during a punt return in last night's game. Toledo's Stephen Williams spins to avoid Central Michigan'sNick Bellore during a punt return in last night's game.
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Opelt revealed after the game he suffered a partial tear in his rotator cuff Oct. 10 against Western Michigan. Before that, the team had classified the injury as a "bruise."

Beckman added that linebacker Beau Brudzinski will miss the rest of the season with a knee injury and receiver Stephen Williams suffered a right ankle injury.

"We had a couple guys get dinged up pretty good today," Beckman said.

With 11:52 left in the third quarter, Opelt was hit by CMU defensive end Frank Zombo on his right arm as he threw. The pass fluttered into the air and was picked off by defensive tackle Sean Murnane.

Meanwhile Opelt lay doubled over on the turf and eventually trotted off with his right arm tucked to his side.

Asked if he may have played his last down for UT, Opelt replied, "Definitely not."

"It's not any worse than it was," he added.

Although the final score was an ugly result for the Rockets, they at least offered hope for an upset early on.

Following freshman Eric Page's 38-yard return on the opening kickoff, UT capped an eight-play scoring drive at the 11:11 mark on Opelt's 14-yard pass to receiver Kenny Stafford in the back right corner of the end zone.

Stafford appeared to get the separation he needed on the fade route with push off on CMU free safety Eric Fraser, but the slight shove wasn't penalized, giving Stafford his second TD catch of the year.

Considering that the Rockets entered with a 4-0 record in games where they scored first, there was some reason for optimism.

But those contests didn't feature anybody named LeFevour.

Despite throwing his only incompletion of the first quarter on the drive, LeFevour still managed to move the Chippewas (8-2, 6-0) down the field just fine. His 33-yard pass to wideout Bryan

Anderson tied it at 7 with 8:54 left in the first quarter.

After a pair of punts, UT continued to demonstrate some fight and a little audacity.

On fourth and goal from the 1-yard line, the Rockets opted to keep their special teams unit on the sideline and go for the TD. The risk paid off on running back DaJuane Collins' plunge over left guard with 14:57 remaining in the half.

Beckman and his team showed plenty of jubilation after the score, but little did they know that would be the extent of their offense's production for quite some time.

Utilizing three UT turnovers in the second quarter, LeFevour rushed for three TDs and running back Bryan Schroeder scampered for another to give the Chippewas a 35-14 halftime advantage.

"We were just rolling out there at the beginning of the game," Collins said. "But we really hurt our team today with all the turnovers."

It wouldn't get much better for UT in the third quarter either, as LeFevour rushed for his 45th career TD, a school record, and tossed a 42-yard bomb to receiver Antonio Brown that made it 49-14 at the 1:40 mark.

"Considering all the great backs that have come through here, it's an honor to hold that record," LeFevour said.

The rout continued with

LeFevour on the field in the fourth quarter on Schroeder's six-yard TD run with 13:51 remaining.

UT finally ended CMU's run with Collins' one-yard plunge - his fourth straight game with a rushing touchdown - with

8:15 to play.

UT running back Morgan

Williams added a one-yard score, his first TD run of the season, with 4:22 left.

The Rockets gave up 507 yards of offense - the fourth time this season they've allowed at least 500 yards - while totaling 353 yards and committing five turnovers.

"When you're playing a team like that, you can't have those turnovers," Beckman said.

"Defensively, we're still giving up too many yards. Offensively, we're turning the football over and putting our backs against the wall."

Contact Zach Silka at: zsilka@theblade.com.



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