CMU Beats Indiana, 37-34

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (AP) -- Brian Brunner waited nearly four years to put his stamp on Central Michigan's offense.
Consider it done.
The senior, who had attempted only 103 career passes before Saturday, threw for a school record 485 yards and four touchdowns before running for the go-ahead score to give the Chippewas their biggest win of the season, 37-34 at Indiana.
"We've had a little bit of trouble against the Big Ten, so just to get this start and give it my all in my last shot at these guys, it was not in my wildest dreams," Brunner said.
While Brunner's numbers were stunning, it was the way he masterfully managed his second spot start of the season that impressed his teammates and coaches.
With Dan LeFevour, last year's Mid-American Conference offensive player of the year, out because of a sprained ankle, Brunner traded touchdowns with Indiana before scoring on a 1-yard plunge with 8:52 left to give the Chippewas their only lead of the game.
The result: Central Michigan (7-2, 5-0) has five straight wins, its first in four tries against the Hoosiers, and a signature victory to add to its bowl resume.
Coach Butch Jones couldn't have asked Brunner to do anything more, especially given the circumstances. Indiana sacked Brunner seven times, including a school record-tying four by Matt Mayberry, and Central Michigan managed only 37 yards rushing.
"It's as good a quarterback performance as I've seen in a long time," Jones said. "He just kept persevering and made the plays when he had to and made some big throws. I can't say enough about him, his poise, his leadership. He's just something special."
Meanwhile, things went from bleak to downright drastic at Indiana.
The Hoosiers (3-6, 1-4 Big Ten) have now lost twice in one season to MAC teams, the first time that's ever happened. No. 18 Ball State won in Bloomington in September.
Their precarious bowl hopes took another hit, too. Indiana must win its final three games against Wisconsin, No. 3 Penn State and rival Purdue just to become bowl eligible and that still may not be enough.
What hurt the Hoosiers, aside from Brunner, were costly blunders.
Austin Starr missed a 30-yard field goal and had an extra point blocked in the third quarter. Ben Chappell threw a fourth-quarter interception after moving across midfield and with Indiana still leading 34-31. The defense couldn't prevent the Chippewas from turning that mistake into Brunner's winning TD run, or stopping Central Michigan from running out the clock.
The Hoosiers broke a 21-21 halftime tie when Chappell hit Ray Fisher for a 64-yard TD pass on their second play of the third quarter.
But Brunner didn't blink. He threw a screen pass to Antonio Brown, who caught it in the middle of the field, ran left, then cut right and found an opening so big he was waving to Hoosiers defenders as he crossed the goal line. The 79-yard score tied it at 28, but he drew a 15-yard penalty on the kickoff.
Indiana took advantage of a short field by getting a 3-yard TD run from Demetrius McCray, but the momentum swung when the extra point was blocked.
Andrew Aguila made a 48-yard field goal on Central Michigan's next possession. Brunner then masterfully drove the Chippewas down the field, called his own number for the winner.


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