MOBILE, Ala. (AP)—Dan LeFevour finished with flair.
No. 25 Central Michigan’s relentless quarterback moved into second place on the career total yards list, accounted for two late touchdowns and scored one of his biggest wins in his last game by rallying the Chippewas to a 44-41 double-overtime victory against Troy in the GMAC Bowl on Wednesday night.
All in a night’s work for one of college football’s most overlooked quarterbacks.
“I just tried to stay cool, tried to stay calm and collected,” LeFevour said. “I tried to show that aura to my team and let them believe in me.”
And believe they did.
Antonio Brown started the rally with a 95-yard kickoff return. LeFevour followed with a touchdown pass to put the sluggish Chippewas (12-2) ahead with 1:17 left and scored from 13 yards out in the first overtime to set up Andrew Aguila’s 37-yard game-winning field goal after Central Michigan appeared to fade away.
LeFevour completed 33 of 55 passes for 395 yards and finished his career with 15,853 total yards, trailing only Hawaii quarterback Timmy Chang (16,910). He also moved into fifth place in the FBS in career completions and 10th in yards passing before being selected the game’s most valuable player.
It was the 10th 400-yard game of a decorated career. It also was vintage LeFevour, showing off everything he’s learned in four years.
“We’ve been in that position quite a few times in the last couple of years,” LeFevour said. “A lot of times last year, it didn’t go our way.”
He was harassed by Troy much of the game, watched receivers drop several passes and had minus-1 yards rushing through four quarters. Yet when it seemed like the Chippewas were fading, he snapped to attention and put on a nearly flawless drive to rally his team.
He completed 8 of 11 passes for 90 yards, hitting Bryan Anderson with a 4-yard touchdown for the lead with 1:17 left. He then completed another pass for the 2-point conversion to make it 34-31. The teams traded touchdowns in the first overtime with LeFevour scoring on a 13-yard misdirection run, then Vince Agnew blocked Michael Taylor’s 31-yard field-goal attempt to start the second overtime. Central Michigan played it conservative before Aguila set a GMAC record with his fifth field goal.
“I think Dan was a little uncomfortable most of the game, but he found a way to scramble and made plays,” Troy coach Larry Blakeney said. “That’s a tribute to him and their offensive unit.”
The Trojans (9-4) led much of the game behind DuJuan Harris’ three touchdowns. But after taking a 31-19 lead midway through the fourth quarter, they gave LeFevour and the Chippewas an opening.
The game-turning drive was in stark contrast to the rest of the night. The Chippewas and LeFevour were sluggish and plagued by small mistakes that kept Aguila busy. He hit from 28, 35, 44 and 42 yards in regulation, keeping Central Michigan in it until LeFevour rallied the team.
The game was expected to be an offensive duel between LeFevour and Troy’s Levi Brown, but Brown had a definite advantage early.
He completed 31 of 56 passes for 386 yards and became the 41st quarterback to pass for 4,000 yards in a single season. The senior opened the scoring with a 9-yard pass to Harris and was sharp on third down as the Trojans converted 13 of 20.
Harris rushed for 112 yards and scored rushing touchdowns of 6 and 1 yards. The last score midway through the fourth quarter appeared to put the Trojans out of reach, but Brown had different plans.
He took the ensuing kickoff up the right side and raced nearly untouched to the end zone to cut the lead to 31-26. He also scored on a 7-yard touchdown run and finished with 403 all-purpose yards (178 receiving on 13 catches, 203 on kickoff returns and 22 rushing).
“This is the moment people remember,” LeFevour said after a celebration at midfield. “For a lot of seniors, this will be the last time they play football. We wanted to end it the right way.”