2012 LITTLE CAESARS PIZZA BOWL
TV: ESPN - Mark Neely (play-by-play), Ray Bentley (color), and Jemele Hill (sideline)
Radio: Central Michigan IMG Sports Network - Don Chiodo (play-by-play), Brock Gutierrez (analyst) and (reporter)
Live Audio: CMU Sports Zone (free)
Live Video Webcast: WatchESPN (limited service)
CMU News and Notes
SETTING THE SCENE
• Winners of four of its last five regular season games, Central Michigan (6-6, 4-4 MAC) will look to keep that momentum going in the postseason when it takes on Western Kentucky (7-5, 4-4) of the Sun Belt Conference in the 2012 Little Caesars Pizza Bowl.
• The game, which will be played at Ford Field, the home of the NFL’s Detroit Lions, is scheduled for a 7:30 p.m. kick on Wednesday, Dec. 26.
• Central Michigan has never played Western Kentucky on the gridiron in program history but has faced Sun Belt Conference opponents on four occasions, including three times in bowl games.
• The first-ever meeting between the Chippewas and the Hilltoppers will be broadcast to a national television audience on ESPN with Mark Neely, Ray Bentley, and Jemele Hill calling the action.
CMU BOWL HISTORY
• Central Michigan is making its fifth bowl appearance in the last seven years and seventh overall.
• CMU has played in three previous bowl games in the city of Detroit, appearing in the Motor City Bowl from 2006-08, posting a 1-2 record.
• The Chippewas defeated Middle Tennessee State, 31-14, in the 2006 Motor City Bowl and fell to Purdue in 2007 (51-48) and Florida Atlantic in 2008 (24-21).
• CMU also played the 2006 and 2007 MAC Championship games in Detroit, going 2-0.
• CMU has faced Sun Belt Conference opponents three times in bowl games – Middle Tennessee State (2006 Motor City Bowl), Florida Atlantic (2008 Motor City Bowl), and Troy (2010 GMAC Bowl).
• Since gaining Division I status, CMU has previously appeared in a total of six bowl games – California Raisin Bowl (1990), Las Vegas Bowl (1994), Motor City Bowl (2006-08), and the GMAC Bowl (2010), posting a 2-4 record.
• Junior running back Zurlon Tipton is one rushing and two total touchdowns shy of tying the CMU single season mark, both set by Brian Pruitt in 1994.
• Tipton ranks seventh in the CMU single season rushing charts with 1,391 yards. If he attains his season average of 115.9 versus WKU, he would rise to No. 4.
• Two Chippewas are in the midst of streaks - Zurlon Tipton has rushed for more than 100 yards in six
consecutive games while senior receiver Cody Wilson has caught at least one pass in 41 consecutive games.
• Sophomore receiver Titus Davis needs 11 receiving yards to break into the top 10 in the CMU single-season receiving charts.
• Davis ranks tied for fifth all-time in single season receiving touchdowns with eight. He is two touchdowns shy of tying the CMU single season receiving touchdowns mark.
• Senior quarterback Ryan Radcliff is positioned to potentially move up in the CMU single-season charts top 10 in five categories (passing yards, passing attempts, passes completed, touchdowns, and total offense).
• CMU has scored 30 or more points in six straight games and is averaging 35.1 points in its six wins.
• The CMU defense finished the regular season by recording at least one interception in six consecutive
games, totaling 11 over that stretch.
BRZEZINSKI TO SERVE AS HONORARY CAPTAIN
• Mick Brzezinski (BRES-zin-ski) was a two-year starter at quarterback for the Chippewas from 1970-1971.
• While under center, Brzezinski led CMU to a record of 12-8 over two seasons.
• As a junior, he rushed for 389 yards and four touchdowns and threw for 775 yards and nine touchdowns.
• Before becoming a quarterback, Brzezinski recorded his first career touchdown at wide receiver, and also split time as a returner.
• A native of Berkley, Mich., he finished his career with 701 rushing yards, 1,201 passing yards, and accounted for 19 total touchdowns.
SCOUTING WESTERN KENTUCKY
• For the first time since becoming a bowl-eligible FBS member in 2009, Western Kentucky will play in the postseason, as it meets Central Michigan in the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl.
• The Hilltoppers were in the midst of a three-game losing streak before finishing the regular season on a high note with a 25-24 come-from-behind win over North Texas.
• Western Kentucky’s roster features the nation’s leader in all-purpose yards (2,977) in junior running back Antonio Andrews.
• He enters the game needing 274 yards to break the NCAA record for all-purpose yards in a season held by Barry Sanders.
• Andrews, a First Team All-Sun Belt selection, is WKU’s primary offensive weapon, as he has rushed for 1,609 yards and 11 touchdowns and is the team’s third-leading receiver with 34 catches for 411 yards and three scores.
• Keying the Hilltopper offense is senior quarterback Kawaun Jakes, who is completing 64.9 percent of
his passes and has thrown for 2,289 yards with 21 touchdowns and 11 interceptions.
• With 50 passing touchdowns for his career, he is tied for first in the WKU record book.
• Senior tight end Jack Doyle (47 receptions, 530 yards, 4 TDs) and sophomore receiver Willie McNeal (40 receptions, 506 yards, 6 TDs) are Jakes’ top two targets in the passing game.
• Two-time First Team All-Sun Belt linebacker Andrew Jackson leads the Hilltoppers in tackles with 116,
including 76 solos and 17.5 for a loss, and four forced fumbles.
• The secondary is headlined by junior Kiante Young (76 tackles, 6 PBUs) and sophomore Jonathan Dowling, who has a team-high six interceptions.
• Senior defensive end Quanterus Smith, the 2012 Sun Belt Defensive Player of the Year and the nation’s sack leader with 12.5, will not play in the game after injuring his knee late in the season at Louisiana-Lafayette.
HISTORY ON HARDWOOD
• Central Michigan has never faced Western Kentucky on the gridiron but the Chippewas notched a historic victory on the hardwood over the Hilltoppers on Dec. 11, 1986 in Bowling Green.
• Dan Majerle scored 23 points, Ervin Leavy had 19, and CMU shot 60 percent from the field to down No. 8 Western Kentucky, 73-65, the highest ranked opponent ever defeated by the Chippewas.
CMU’S ROSTER IS HOME GROWN
• CMU’s roster contains more players who hail from the state of Michigan than any other Division I program in the state, featuring 66.
• Michigan State ranks second with 52 followed by Michigan (46), Eastern Michigan (29), and Western
• Five Chippewas earned All-MAC honors in 2012: senior offensive tackle Eric Fisher (first team), junior running back Zurlon Tipton (second team), senior safety Jahleel Addae (second team), sophomore receiver Titus Davis (second team), and senior receiver Cody Wilson (third team).
• Fisher, who was an all-conference third-team honoree in 2011, started all 12 games this season, helping CMU average 6.2 yards per play, second best in the MAC.
• Tipton burst onto the scene in 2012, rushing for 1,391, the most by a CMU running back in 16 years, and 19 touchdowns.
• Addae, a three-time All-MAC honoree, is tied for the MAC lead with four interceptions.
• Davis, a Freshman All-American in 2011, leads CMU in receiving yards (860) and touchdowns (8) and ranks No. 1 in the nation in yards per reception (20.0) among receivers with more than 40 catches.
• Wilson, a four-time All-MAC honoree, leads CMU with 64 receptions and has caught at least one pass in 41 consecutive games.
• Fisher, who is widely considered to be the nation’s top senior left tackle and will likely be a first round
draft choice in 2013, was also named Second Team All-America by SI.com and Third Team All-America by the Associated Press.
• Phil Steele also honored four Chippewas on his All-MAC teams – Fisher (first team), Addae (second team), Tipton (second team), and Davis (third team).
2012 TEAM CAPTAINS
• Senior strong safety Jahleel Addae, senior defensive end Joe Kinville, and senior wide receiver Cody Wilson have served as Central Michigan’s captains for the 2012 season.
• The trio have combined for 96 starts over the course of their collegiate careers.
CMU AMONG THE NATION’S BEST
• Central Michigan has excelled in three key statistical categories throughout the 2012 season, which have proven to be a driving force behind its success.
• The Chippewas are among the nation’s best in red zone offense, penalties, and sacks allowed.
• CMU is ranked 15th nationally in red zone offense, converting on 40-of-45 trips inside the 20-yard line (89.6%) this season.
• The Chippewas have scored 29 touchdowns (18 run, 11 pass) and are 11-for-11 on field goal attempts inside the red zone.
• CMU led the NCAA for part of the season in penalties and, currently, only six teams in the nation have been flagged for fewer penalties.
• In 12 games, the Chippewas have been called for 49 penalties (4.1 per game) for 437 yards (36.4 per game).
• The Chippewas opened the season by going 10 consecutive quarters without a penalty.
• The CMU offensive line, led by seniors Eric Fisher, Darren Keyton, and Mike Repovz, along with the backs and tight ends provided quarterback Ryan Radcliff with excellent protection throughout 2012, allowing just 14 sacks in 12 games, which is tied for 20th in the nation.
• Radcliff, who is on the verge of throwing for 3,000 yards for the third straight season, was sacked on only approximately 3% of his dropbacks in 2012.
FISHER ANCHORS O-LINE
• Senior offensive tackle Eric Fisher has been a mainstay up front for CMU this season, starting all 12 games at left tackle.
• He anchors a line that helped the Chippewa offense average 6.2 yards per play, second best in the MAC, produce nearly 400 yards of offense per game, and score 30 or more points in the season’s final six games.
• CMU also ranks fourth in the conference in sacks allowed (14).
• A three-year starter and two-time winner of CMU’s Offensive Upfront Player of the Year Award, Fisher is widely considered to the top senior left tackle in the nation and is projected to be an early round selection in the 2013 NFL Draft.
• In 2012, he was named First Team All-MAC by the conference and Phil Steele and was selected Second Team All-America by SI.com and Third Team All-America by the Associated Press.
TIPTON HAVING BREAKOUT SEASON
• A Second Team All-MAC and two-time MAC West Offensive Player of the Week selection in 2012, junior running back Zurlon Tipton has put together one of the greatest rushing seasons in CMU football history.
• His 1,391 rushing yards rank seventh in the CMU single season record book and are the most compiled by a Chippewa running back in 16 years.
• Tipton’s 19 rushing and 20 total touchdowns this season are tied for the second most ever by a Chippewa.
• Tipton ranks second in the MAC and 12th nationally in points per game, averaging 10.0, and he is 14th nationally in rushing yards.
• His 243-yard rushing performance versus Akron ranks eighth all-time on CMU’s single game list.
• Tipton scored three rushing touchdowns twice this season and his four versus UMass were the most by a Chippewa player since 2009.
• The Detroit native finished the regular season by recording six straight 100-yard games and totaled seven in 2012.
WILSON HAVING STRONG SENIOR SEASON
• A three-time All-MAC receiver, Cody Wilson holds a prominent place in the CMU record book.
• With 220 receptions and 2,628 receiving yards for his career, he ranks third and fifth, respectively, all-time.
• This season, Wilson leads the team with 64 receptions and ranks second in receiving yards with 739 and receiving yards per game with 61.6.
• He recorded four 100-yard receiving games in 2012, including a season-high 111 yard-effort versus Ball State, a game in which he also caught a career-best two touchdowns.
• Testament to his consistency and reliability, he has had a reception in 41 consecutive games, a streak that is tied for second in the nation among active players.
• A versatile weapon and team-first player, Wilson also returns punt, for which he was recognized with Third Team All-MAC honors as a sophomore, and holds for kicks.
• Also an excellent student, he is a two-time Capital One Academic All-America® honoree.
• Active in the community, volunteerism, and with charitable works, Wilson is a two-time finalist for the
Wuerffel Trophy and was a nominee for the Allstate AFCA Good Works Team for the second consecutive
year in 2012.
• Consecutive games with at least one reception list:
|1.||Conner Vernon, Duke||47
|2.||Cody Wilson, Central Michigan
|Lanear Sampson, Baylor||41
|Taylor Stockemer, Arkansas State
RADCLIFF IN THE CMU RECORD BOOK
• A starter of 36 consecutive games, Radcliff’s 2,905 passing yards rank fourth in the MAC and his 20
touchdowns in 2012 are the second most of his career.
• He was at the forefront of CMU’s upset of Iowa, completing 74.3% percent of his passes while throwing for 283 yards and two touchdowns.
• He also starred versus Western Michigan, passing for 383 yards, the 10th highest single game total ever by a Chippewa.
• Radcliff ranks No. 2 in CMU program history in passing yards, pass attempts, pass completions, touchdown passes, total offense, and 300-yard passing games.
• All three of his years as a starter rank in the single season top 10 in yards passing, pass attempts, passes completions, touchdown passes, and total offense.
• Radcliff has also etched his name in the NCAA record books, as he is ranked 89th all-time with 9,664 career passing yards.
DAVIS’ STAR CONTINUES TO RISE
• In 2012, Titus Davis continued to emerge as one of the nation’s most dangerous offensive threats in his sophomore season, earning Second Team All-MAC honors.
• Davis leads the team with 860 receiving yards, eight receiving touchdowns, and a 71.7 receiving yards per game average.
• His eight scores equal his total from 2011 and rank tied for sixth on the CMU single season charts while his yardage total has him just outside the top 10 in the Chippewas’ record book.
• His 20.0 yards per reception average leads the MAC and ranks No. 1 in the nation among receivers with 40 or more receptions.
• Versus Western Michigan, Davis put together one of the greatest single game receiving performances in program history, catching 10 passes for 208 yards and two touchdowns.
• In that game, he accounted for 41% of CMU’s offense and totaled the third highest receiving yards all-time.
• With 16 receiving touchdowns in just 24 career games, Davis ranks tied for sixth in the CMU record book.
CHEROCCI AND BENTON LEADING THE DEFENSE
• Redshirt sophomore linebacker Justin Cherocci and redshirt junior linebacker Shamari Benton have made their presence felt on the defense in 2012.
• A former walk-on, Cherocci leads CMU and ranks fourth in the MAC in tackles, totaling 124, in 2012.
• Cherocci is also the nation’s leader in assisted tackles with 83.
• He recorded double digit stops in seven games and was CMU’s leading tackler in six.
• Versus Akron, he set career highs in both total tackles (15) and solo stops (9).
• Shamari Benton ranks second on the team and seventh in the MAC in total tackles with 117 in 2012.
• He leads CMU in solo tackles (50) and fumble recoveries (2).
• Benton recorded double digit stops in five games and was CMU’s leading tackler in six.
• He set a career high in total tackles versus Navy (14) and solo tackles against UMass (9).
ADDAE STRONG AT SAFETY
• A three-time All-MAC selection, senior strong safety Jahleel Addae leads CMU and is tied for tops in the MAC with four interceptions
• A Jim Thorpe Award preseason watch list selection, he has recorded 81 tackles, including 37 solos, had two sacks, and was second on the team with seven stops for a loss.
• Addae, a 2012 team co-captain, earned MAC West Defensive Player of the Week honors for his standout play in the Senior Day win over Miami, as he registered his second straight double digit tackle game, totaling 10, including seven solos and 1.5 for a loss, to go along with half of a sack, and an interception.
• A starter of 34 career games, Addae was recently named CMU’s Defensive Player of the Year for the
second straight season.
• For his career, Addae has compiled 294 tackles, including 15 for a loss, and eight interceptions.
SUCCESS STARTS UP FRONT
• A significant part of CMU’s offensive success in 2012 can be attributed to the play of a line that featured veteran leadership and maintained continuity for the predominance of the 2012 season.
• CMU’s starting five offensive linemen include three seniors who have combined for 94 career starts: Darren Keyton (35), Eric Fisher (33), and Mike Repovz (26).
• Four of the five starting offensive linemen started all 12 regular season games in 2012.
• Senior right tackle Jake Olson, who has missed the last 10 games with an injury and was replaced in the line-up by Repovz, also has 26 careers starts to his credit.
• Sophomore Andy Phillips started five games in his freshman season of 2011 and all 12 regular season
games this year.
• Redshirt freshman center Nick Beamish, who has also been in the starting line-up for all 12 games of 2012, will be a mainstay in the middle of the CMU line for the next three years.
CLASH AT KELLY/SHORTS SETS HOME ATTENDANCE RECORD
• The September 8th Clash at Kelly/Shorts between CMU and in-state rival Michigan State set a new stadium attendance record.
• An enthusiastic crowd numbering 35,127 turned out for the historic meeting, which featured the Spartans’ firstever visit to Mount Pleasant.
• The seating capacity at Kelly/Shorts Stadium was increased prior to the 2012 season with the addition of bleachers to the student section (2,450) and the installation of suites (180) on the east concourse, both of which remained in place throughout the 2012 season.
• Previously, the largest crowd inside Kelly/Shorts Stadium was 30,302, set on October 18, 2008, a 38-28 win over Western Michigan.
• The top 5 Kelly/Shorts Stadium crowds:
|1.||35,127||Sept. 8, 2012||MSU 41, CMU 7|
|2.||30,302||Oct. 18, 2008||CMU 38, WMU 28|
|3.||30,027||Nov. 10 2006||CMU 31, WMU 7|
|4.||29,822||Oct. 24, 1998||CMU 26, WMU 24|
|5.||29,732||Sept. 18, 1982||BGSU 34, CMU 30|
|6.||29,321||Oct. 30, 1982||CMU 42, Ohio 18|
|7.||28,547||Oct. 17, 1982||CMU 18, WMU 18|
|8.||28,463||Sept. 22, 1984||CMU 38, WMU 19|
|9.||27,895||Oct. 8, 1994||CMU 35, WMU 28|
|10.||27,813||Oct. 11, 1986||CMU 18, WMU 10|
NEW UNIFORM COMBINATIONS WORN IN 2012
• Eight uniform combinations, including all-black and all-gold uniforms, for the 2012 Central Michigan football season were unveiled prior to the season.
• Designed by adidas, the new uniform line features four outfits with the same color jersey and pants - black, gold, maroon and white - and four additional combinations created from mixing and matching the gold, maroon and white items.
• Also revealed along with the black uniform was a new black helmet with a matte finish and a tapering maroon and gold stripe down the middle.
• The traditional maroon helmet was worn with the other seven combinations.
• A different jersey combination was worn for each home game with no one outside the locker room knowing what it is until warm-ups.
2102 SCHEDULE NOTES
• For just the third time in the modern era, Central Michigan played seven homes games during the 2012 season.
• CMU opened the season with back-to-back home games for the first time since 2002.
• CMU had two Big Ten opponents on the schedule for the first time since the 2008 season.
• The 2012 season marked the 15th consecutive year the Chippewas have played at least one Big Ten opponent.
• CMU hosted a Big Ten opponent this year (Michigan State) in Kelly/Shorts Stadium for the first time since Indiana visited Mount Pleasant in 2005.
• CMU played MAC and FBS newcomer UMass for the first time in program history in 2012.
• CMU played three straight road games (at Iowa, Northern Illinois, and Toledo) followed by four
consecutive home contests (Navy, Ball State, Akron, and Western Michigan).
FUTURE NON-CONFERENCE OPPONENTS ANNOUNCED
• Striving to not only challenge the team but provide Chippewas fans with exciting games to attend and
view, CMU has secured series with top-quality nonconference opponents from the ACC, Big Ten, Big 12,
and Mountain West Conference.
• Coming to Mount Pleasant in the coming years will be North Carolina State (2014), Oklahoma State (2015), UNLV (2016), and Kansas (2018).
• The Chippewas will also take on North Carolina State (2013), UNLV (2013), Kansas (2014, 2017), Oklahoma State (2016, 2018), and Ohio State (2016) on the road.
NINE CMU GAMES AIRED NATIONALLY IN 2012
• Including the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl, nine Central Michigan football games will have been broadcast
nationally in 2012.
• Contests versus Southeast Missouri State (Aug. 30), at Northern Illinois (Sept. 29), at Toledo (Oct. 6), and against Ball State (Oct. 20) and Western Michigan (Nov. 3) were streamed online on ESPN3.
• The Clash at Kelly/Shorts with Michigan State on September 8 was aired on ESPNU while CMU’s game
versus Navy on October 12 was shown on ESPN2.
• The Little Caesars Bowl contest versus Western Kentucky will mark CMU’s first appearance on ESPN this season.
• Since the start of the 2007 season, CMU is 21-20 in 41 appearances on the ESPN family of networks (ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, ESPN Plus, ESPN Regional, ESPN3).
• The Chippewas made their fourth all-time appearance on the Big Ten Network on September 22 when it knocked off Iowa, 32-31, at Kinnick Stadium in Iowa City.
• CMU is 2-2 on the BTN, topping Indiana, 37-34, in 2008 and Iowa, 32-31, in 2012 while falling to Purdue (32-25) in 2008 and to Northwestern in (30-25) in 2010.
• Six former Chippewas currently reside on NFL rosters: linebacker Nick Bellore (New York Jets), wide receiver Antonio Brown (Pittsburgh Steelers), defensive back Josh Gordy (Indianapolis Colts), defensive end Cullen Jenkins (Philadelphia Eagles), offensive lineman Joe Staley (San Francisco 49ers) and linebacker Frank Zombo (Green Bay Packers).
• Staley, a 2011 Pro Bowler, and Zombo, a member of Green Bay’s 2010 Super Bowl championship team, recently captured division crowns with their respective teams and are headed to the playoffs.
• Brown and Gordy and their teams remain alive for a playoff berth with two weeks remaining in the 2012 regular season.