NCF Nation: GMAC Bowl 2009 bowls

The Mid-American Conference’s bowl game losing streak has been broken.

Central Michigan’s 44-41 double-overtime win over Troy in the GMAC Bowl snapped a 14-game bowl losing streak that dated back to 2006.

The game, which featured just 19 combined points in the first half, was a fitting way to end the regular bowl season considering it’s the same way it started. Wyoming and Fresno State opened the bowl season with a double-overtime game in the New Mexico Bowl.

Troy had a field goal blocked in the second overtime, the second consecutive season the Trojans have lost a game on a blocked field goal in overtime.

How the game was won: Central Michigan kicker Andrew Aguila hit a 37-yard field goal in double-overtime. Central Michigan erased a 31-19 fourth quarter deficit to win its first bowl since 2006.

Turning point: After Troy took a 31-19 lead with 8 minutes left, Central Michigan receiver Antonio Brown ran a kickoff back 95 yards for a touchdown, swinging the momentum to Central Michigan.

Stat of the game: Troy and Central Michigan combined for 1,122 yards of total offense and quarterbacks Levi Brown and Dan LeFevour combined for 782 yards passing.

Co-player of the game: Central Michigan receiver Antonio Brown had 402 yards of total offense, including a 95-yard kick return for a touchdown that helped the Chippewas overcome a 31-19 fourth-quarter deficit. He also had had two big catches on the final drive of the fourth quarter that gave the Chippewas the brief lead. He finished the game with 178 yards receiving and 202 return yards on seven returns

Co-players of the game: Central Michigan quarterback Dan LeFevour led the Chippewas on an 85-yard drive for a score and then converted a two-point conversion to give CMU a 34-31 lead late in the fourth quarter. It was the seventh time in LeFevour's career that he had orchestrated a late fourth-quarter comeback. LeFevour also scored the first touchdown of overtime.

Unsung hero of the game: Kicker Andrew Aguila not only made the game-winning field goal in the second overtime, he’s the reason why Central Michigan was able to stay in the game in the first place. Aguila made four consecutive field goals before Central Michigan was able to get into the end zone late in the third quarter.

Record performance: Troy quarterback Levi Brown became the first quarterback in Troy and Sun Belt history to pass for 4,000 yards in a season. He’s also the 40th player in FBS history to accomplish the feat. Brown threw for 387 yards to give him 4,255 on the season.

GMAC Bowl preview

January, 5, 2010
The final nonautomatic qualifying bowl of the season will pit the Mid-American Conference champion against Sun Belt champion in the GMAC Bowl. Both of these teams have strong offenses and stout defenses, and though the teams come from different conferences with different styles, they are remarkably similar.

This game should be a nice wrap to a good bowl season.

WHO TO WATCH: Dan LeFevour, QB, Central Michigan

LeFevour has had a stellar senior season that could be capped by leading the Chippewas to their first bowl victory since 2006. LeFevour is a quality dual-threat quarterback who has excelled in both the running and passing game, and he’ll need both of those skills to compete against a stout Troy defense.

WHAT TO WATCH: Troy’s offense

The Central Michigan defense, which is much improved from a year ago, will have its hands full with quarterback Levi Brown and the Troy offense. Brown ranks second in the country in total offense with 323.92 yards per game, and the Troy passing offense ranks fourth in the country with 331.00 yards per game. The Chippewas have not seen as prolific a passing offense as Troy’s.

WHY TO WATCH: This is a championship game of sorts

These teams were specifically matched to create a championship game between the Mid-American Conference and the Sun Belt Conference to determine an unofficial champion of the lower half of the non-AQ conferences. This game will have a lot of offense and it will showcase two senior quarterbacks who might be playing at the next level next year.

PREDICTION: Both of these teams are underrated for what they’re able to do on the field and both have dominated their conference competition. However, I think Central Michigan will rally around interim coach Steve Stripling and come away with the victory. Central Michigan 35, Troy 24.