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Seven wins were enough to get CMU a trip to the Bahamas (Bowl). The Chippewas were 7-6 overall and 5-3 in conference play. The latter left Central in fourth place in the tough MAC West. The best stretch for CMU was winning five of six from Oct. 4-Nov. 15.
New head coach John Bonemego will be embarking on his first year as a collegiate head coach, but in addition to various college assistant positions, he has 16 years of NFL coaching credit (special teams focus) on his resume. Bonemego should settle in at Mt. Pleasant quickly, since he is a former CMU player.
The Chippewas were No. 1 among MAC teams in total defense (355.5 ypg) and fourth in scoring defense (all games) with 25.2 ppg. They were second against the rush (122.9 ypg) and sixth in pass defense (232.5 ypg).
Central Michigan pulled in 14 interceptions in 2014, good for second place among MAC teams.
Thomas Rawls was third in rushing last year with an average of 122.6 ypg and also third in all-purpose yards (132.8 ypg). He also contributed 10 TDs. With his departure, the Chippewas will look for others to step up. Two of the returning backs, Devon Spalding and Saylor Lavelllii, combined for 669 yards and eight TDs on 157 carries.
Central Michigan was eighth in scoring offense (26.9 ppg) and seventh in total offense (398.1 ppg).
Quarterback Cooper Rush, who wears number 10, threw 27 touchdowns on the year against 13 interceptions. Seven of his TDs came on Christmas Eve when he set a new bowl game record. He was fourth among MAC QBs with 242.7 ypg and third in passing efficiency (149.6).
Departed wideout Titus Davis registered 13 TDs catches (3rd MAC) last year. Jesse Kross is the top returnee among receivers. He notched 36 receptions for 482 yards and four scores.
Central Michigan topped the MAC in time of possession (33:24).
Justin Cherocci led the team with 117 tackles (5th MAC) before departing. Junior safety Tony Annese was next with 74 stops (49 solo). DE Blake Serpa is back after recording 12.5 TFL in 2014.
The Chippewas were 11th among MAC teams in turnover margin (27 turnovers, -0.38). They yielded 14 fumbles and 13 interceptions.
CMU had the lowest total of field goal attempts (11) and makes (8) over the season. The Chippewas made 5 of 6 in conference play.
Central Michigan opens MAC play against the defending champion Northern Illinois Huskies in Mt. Pleasant. A trip to Kalamazoo for a matchup against Western Michigan gives CMU a very challenging start to conference play.