Central Michigan Chippewas football

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Central Michigan Chippewas
2017 Central Michigan Chippewas football team
Central Michigan Chippewas logo.svg
First season 1896
Athletic director Michael Alford
Head coach John Bonamego
3rd season, 13–13 (.500)
Stadium Kelly/Shorts Stadium
Seating capacity 32,885
Field surface FieldTurf
Location Mount Pleasant, Michigan
NCAA division Division I FBS
Conference Mid-American
Division West
All-time record 590–388–37 (.600)
Bowl record 3–7 (.300)
Claimed nat'l titles 1 (1974) (Division II)
Conference titles 16
Division titles 3
Rivalries Western Michigan
Eastern Michigan
Current uniform
Colors Maroon and Gold[1]
Fight song The Fighting Chippewa
Marching band The Marching Chippewas
Website CMUChippewas.com

The Central Michigan Chippewas are a college football program in Division I FBS, representing Central Michigan University (CMU). CMU currently has the 27th highest overall winning percentage of programs currently playing in NCAA Division I.[2]

The Chippewas have played in five bowl games in the last seven years, drawing 60,624 fans in the 2007 Motor City Bowl. CMU has played a total of eight post-season games (conference championships and bowl games), winning six. All have occurred in the past seven years. Recent Chippewa All-Americans include Antonio Brown and Eric Fisher. For the 2009-10 season, CMU finished in the Top 25 in the nation in the AP Poll and USA Today Coaches Poll..

The Central Michigan football program had two starters in the 2012 Pro Bowl, fifth most of any college football program in the nation and two starters selected in the 2014 Pro Bowl.

CMU had the first overall draft pick in the 2013 NFL Draft; left tackle, Eric Fisher who was chosen 1st by the Kansas City Chiefs, joining former CMU left tackle Joe Staley of the San Francisco 49ers as recent Chippewa 1st round draft choices. Central Michigan had four former players play in Super Bowl XLV.[3] Chippewa players on recent Super Bowl rosters included Antonio Brown WR, Pittsburgh Steelers; Cullen Jenkins DE, Green Bay Packers; Josh Gordy CB, Green Bay Packers; Frank Zombo OLB, Green Bay Packers; Tory Humphrey TE, New Orleans Saints and Joe Staley OT, San Francisco 49ers.


Kelly/Shorts game day experience[edit]

Central Michigan has the largest on-campus stadium in the Mid-American Conference,[4] seating 32,885 fans and has been playing home football games dating back to 1896. The Sporting News has named Kelly/Shorts Stadium "the finest football facility in the Mid-American Conference" and "the best game day atmosphere in the MAC".[5]

The East End of the stadium (as of 2014) once again hosts the CMU Student section backing the football team.[citation needed] The Chippewa Marching Band, cheerleaders, and dance team add to the game day experience[citation needed] and has helped CMU become one of the nation's winningest schools at home with a .714 winning percentage all-time at Kelly/Shorts Stadium.[citation needed]

CMU drew a capacity crowd of 35,127 fans for the Central Michigan–Michigan State game televised on ESPNU[6] and has hosted schools from the ACC, Big Ten, and Big 12 conferences. Future opponents at home include schools from the Big Ten, ACC, Big 12, Pac-12 and Mountain West conferences.[7]

In 2010, the CMU Board of Trustees designed and set course to construct a state of the art stadium expansion to integrate a hotel, restaurant, and conference center connected by a glass atrium to new stadium suites on the east side. This addition will be custom-built into Kelly/Shorts Stadium.[8]

Newer upgrades include a video scoreboard standing six stories and featuring two video replay boards—one facing into the stadium and a second board facing outside the stadium by tailgating areas. NFL-quality permanent lighting has been installed for television and future ESPN night games.[9]

"Fire Up Chips!", "OO-Wah... Chip-OO-Wah" & "The Fighting Chippewa"[edit]

The traditional greeting of "FIRE UP CHIPS!" heard amongst Chippewa fans, students and alumni around the nation can also be heard on game day and throughout the stadium.[citation needed] The Chippewa nickname is used with the consent and support of the nearby Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe, who have a positive relationship with the university.[10]

The CMU football helmet logo has evolved from a "Chippewa Indian spear and feather" to a "Flying C" representing the CMU Chippewas.

The CMU pre-game entrance signals the beginning of another great Chippewa football contest by filling the stadium with the name itself, loud and clear: "OO-WAH . . . CHIP-OO-WAH!"[citation needed]

The Fight Song, "The Fighting Chippewa" (Words and Music by Howard Loomis, Class of 1935), can be heard after a Chippewa score: " FIGHT, Central down the field, FIGHT for victory, FIGHT, fellows never yield; We're with you, oh varsity. Onward with banners bold, to our colors we'll be true, FIGHT for Maroon and Gold, Down the field for C. M. U."

Recent seasons[edit]


Central Michigan has won sixteen conference championships including seven Mid-American Conference Championships, the most of any MAC team since entering the conference in 1975.[citation needed]


Many notable coaches have contributed to CMU's culture. Some include legendary "Wild" Bill Kelly who won seven conference championships in sixteen years and whom Kelly/Shorts Stadium is named after; national championship winning coach Roy Kramer who had a 72% winning percentage and never had a losing season in more than a decade; College Football Hall of Fame coach Herb Deromedi who is the winningest coach in MAC history[citation needed] and Brian Kelly and Butch Jones who combined for three MAC Championships in four years, four consecutive bowl appearance and top 25 finish in the nation.

National Championships[edit]

The Chippewas won the 1974 NCAA Division II National Championship by defeating Delaware 54–14.

Year League Coach Overall record
1974 NCAA Division II Roy Kramer 12–1

Conference Championships[edit]

Year Conference Coach Overall record Conference record
1952 Interstate Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Bill Kelly 7–2 6–0
1953 Interstate Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Bill Kelly 7–1–1 5–0–1
1954 Interstate Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Bill Kelly 8–2 5–1
1955 Interstate Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Bill Kelly 8–1 5–1
1956 Interstate Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Bill Kelly 9–0 6–0
1962 Interstate Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Bill Kelly 6–4 4–0
1966 Interstate Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Bill Kelly 5–5 3–0
1967 Interstate Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Roy Kramer 8–2 2–1
1968 Interstate Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Roy Kramer 7–2 2–1
1979 Mid-American Conference Herb Deromedi 10–0–1 8–0–1
1980 Mid-American Conference Herb Deromedi 9–2 7–2
1990 Mid-American Conference Herb Deromedi 8–3–1 7–1
1994 Mid-American Conference Dick Flynn 9–3 8–1
2006 Mid-American Conference Brian Kelly * 10–4 7–1
2007 Mid-American Conference Butch Jones 8–6 6–1
2009 Mid-American Conference Butch Jones * 12–2 8–0

* Jeff Quinn coached in 2006 Motor City Bowl and Steve Stripling coached in 2010 GMAC Bowl

Bowl games[edit]

Year Bowl Opponent Result
1990 California Bowl San Jose State L 48–24
1994 Las Vegas Bowl UNLV L 52–24
2006 Motor City Bowl Middle Tennessee State W 31–14
2007 Motor City Bowl Purdue L 51–48
2008 Motor City Bowl Florida Atlantic L 24–21
2009 GMAC Bowl Troy W 44–41
2012 Little Caesars Pizza Bowl Western Kentucky W 24–21
2014 Bahamas Bowl WKU L 49–48
2015 Quick Lane Bowl Minnesota L 21–14
2016 Miami Beach Bowl Tulsa L 55–10
Total 10 bowl games 3–7


Western Michigan Broncos[edit]

These archrivals first met in 1907 and have faced one another annually since 1943. WMU leads the series overall 47–37–2. Since CMU joined WMU in the MAC in 1974, the Chippewas lead the series 27–14–1 (as of 2015). Since the two schools are separated by a two-hour drive, the visiting team typically has a strong fan and student presence at the game. The winner of the game receives the Cannon Trophy.[11] The outcome also helps determine the winner of the Michigan MAC Trophy, a trophy fought over between Michigan's three MAC football teams: the Chippewas, the Broncos, and the Eastern Michigan Eagles.[12]

1975: Central Michigan 34, Western Michigan 0
In the Chippewas' first MAC game, they shutout the Broncos 34–0 at the then Perry Shorts Stadium.

2000: Central Michigan 21, Western Michigan 17
The Broncos entered this game with an 8–1 record, atop the conference standings, and on the brink of a top 25 ranking. Conversely, the Chippewas entered the game with a 1–8 record. However, the Chippewas shocked the Broncos, defeating them 21–17.

2004: Central Michigan 24, Western Michigan 21 (OT)
Trailing 21–7 with 2 minutes remaining, Chippewa quarterback Kent Smith rushed for a touchdown. The Broncos secured the ensuing kickoff, but would fumble to CMU. Several plays later, Smith threw a touchdown pass to tie the game and force overtime. The Chippewas went on to win the game 24–21 on a 25-yard field goal. After the kick, the CMU students rushed the field.

2007: Central Michigan 34, Western Michigan 31
Western Michigan scored 14 points within 33 seconds to take a 31–27 lead with less than two minutes remaining. But, on the Chippewas following drive, quarterback Dan LeFevour threw a 39-yard pass to Bryan Anderson at the 1-yard line. LeFevour then rushed for the winning touchdown.[13]

2008: Central Michigan 38, Western Michigan 28
Senior quarterback Brian Brunner got the nod over injured Dan LeFevour in a matchup of two MAC undefeateds. It was also the first game that would be played for the newly minted "Cannon Trophy." The Chippewas, led by Brunner's 341 yards passing and freshman running back Bryan Schroeder's 141 yards rushing downed the Broncos.[14]

2013: Central Michigan 27, Western Michigan 22
After 2 consecutive losses to the Broncos, the Chippewas won on the road. After jumping out to a 14–0 lead early on, CMU committed five turnovers that gave WMU a chance to win the game. The Chippewas led 27–22 with the Broncos driving down the field. CMU was able to stop WMU on fourth down from the CMU 26 yard line to seal the win.[15]

Eastern Michigan Eagles[edit]

The Chippewas and Eagles maintain a less prominent, but steady rivalry. These opponents know each other well as they have faced each other 90 times.[13]

CMU holds the series lead over EMU, leading 56–28–6.[16]

Series against Michigan State Spartans[edit]

These two state universities began their intrastate series in 1991. The two campuses are geographically close, separated along the same road by just 61 miles (98 km) of U.S. Highway 127 (US 127). The proximity and familiarity of both student bodies has resulted in over capacity turnouts and electric game day atmospheres. Former CMU head coach Dan Enos has experienced the competitively played series, coaching on both the MSU and CMU sidelines. As an assistant MSU coach, Enos and the Spartans lost three times to the Chippewas. As the CMU coach, the Chippewas lost twice to the Spartans. Games played at both Kelly/Shorts Stadium and Spartan Stadium have been sold out.

MSU leads the series, 7-3.

1991: Central Michigan 20, Michigan State 3
The defending Big Ten co-champion Spartans entered the game ranked 18th in the nation. The underdog Chippewas never trailed, beating the Spartans by a score of 20-3 and controlling all facets of the game. CMU out gained MSU, 346-281, led by tailback Billy Smith's 162 yards and a fierce pass rush that sacked MSU quarterbacks multiple times led by Smith's high school classmate at Detroit Henry Ford, Lamar Sally, who registered three of those sacks.[17]

1992: Central Michigan 24, Michigan State 20
CMU went back down US 127 into Spartan Stadium a year later and won another hard fought battle to stun the Spartans led by MSU quarterback Jim Miller. After the loss to CMU, MSU would finish the year 3rd in the Big Ten behind Michigan and Ohio State. After beating the Spartans two consecutive years, the rivalry along US 127 was born.

2009: Central Michigan 29, Michigan State 27
Before a national ESPN audience, CMU went into Spartan Stadium and beat MSU who was led by its all time passing yardage leader, Kirk Cousins. MSU would go on to a bowl game in 2009-10, while CMU earned its fourth consecutive bowl game and finished 2009-10 in the top 25 in the nation in the final polls. With 32 seconds remaining in the CMU-MSU game, Chippewa quarterback Dan LeFevour with 420 yards of total offense, threw a touchdown pass to Paris Cotton to put the Chippewas within one point. Head coach Butch Jones chose to go for the win with a two-point conversion pass attempt to All-American Antonio Brown who had ten receptions and a touchdown, but LeFevour overthrew Brown. On the ensuing kick off Bryan Anderson recovered an on side kick to set up the winning 42 yard field goal by Andrew Aguila.[18][19]

Chippewas currently playing professional football[edit]

As of 2017, there were 19 former Chippewas on team rosters in the NFL and Canadian Football League (CFL), the most well-known currently being Antonio Brown, Pro Bowl wide receiver for the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Central Michigan has produced 18 National Football League (NFL) offensive linemen / NFL Draft choices along the offensive line including many who have gone on to productive careers like CMU teammates and ten-year NFL veterans Brock Gutierrez, Detroit Lions and Scott Rehberg, New England Patriots and in recent years Joe Staley and Eric Fisher were selected in the first round of the NFL Draft, Fisher being the 1st overall selection.[citation needed]

The most prolific CMU roster of recent Chippewa offensive linemen featured six future players on a NFL roster: Joe Staley, San Francisco 49ers (NFL 1st round draft choice); Eric Ghiaciuc, Cincinnati Bengals (NFL 4th round draft choice); Andrew Hartline, Miami Dolphins; Drew Mormino, Miami Dolphins (NFL 6th round draft choice); Adam Kieft, Cincinnati Bengals (NFL 5th round draft choice); Tory Humphrey, New Orleans Saints.

Current NFL players[edit]

Current CFL players[edit]

Indoor Football League[edit]

Notable Chippewas in the NFL and NFL draft choices[edit]



The CMU Sports Network broadcasts all games live throughout Michigan and online for free.

CMU Sports Network Affiliates:


The ESPN family of channels and Fox Sports affiliates have provided national and local television coverage.

CMU Sports Zone provides live and archive Internet video-feed of games, gameday coverage, and coaches shows.[39]

Future non-conference opponents[edit]

Announced schedules as of February 8, 2016

2017 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022 2023
vs. Rhode Island (8/31) @ Kentucky (9/1) vs. Albany (8/29) @ Northwestern (9/12) @ South Florida (9/11) @ Oklahoma State (9/3) @ South Alabama (9/9)
@ Kansas (9/9) vs. Kansas (9/8) @ Wisconsin (9/7) @ Nebraska (9/19) vs. Florida Atlantic (9/18) vs. South Alabama (9/10) TBA
@ Syracuse (9/16) vs. Maine (9/22) vs. South Florida (9/14) vs. Monmouth TBA TBA @ Illinois (9/24) TBA
@ Boston College (9/30) @ Michigan State (9/29) @ Florida Atlantic (9/21) TBA TBA TBA TBA



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External links[edit]