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Revisiting The Michigan MAC Trophy’s History

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The Michigan MAC Trophy has been around for 11 years now. With the 12th edition set to be handed out either on Saturday or a month from then, we look back at the ride its been on

Michigan MAC and Victory Cannon Trophies Brandon Fitzsimons

11 years can really come and go. Personally, 11 years ago I was a freshman in high school and still lived in the house I grew up in. Since then, I moved twice before college and have moved roughly every summer since while getting a Bachelors degree and holding two separate full-time jobs.

In the MAC, we’ve seen the CMU powerhouse, the NIU powerhouse, a Ball State perfect season (only to be crashed by Buffalo), Ohio get called the “Boise of the East”, BG go #FalconFast for two years, and a number one overall pick, and that’s all just in football alone!

We’ve also had the Michigan MAC Trophy get handed out annually to the winner of three-way rivalry between Western Michigan, Central Michigan, and Eastern Michigan. Should they split, last year’s winner retains the trophy. This weekend is the 2nd leg of this year’s edition of the rivalry (and thus is a potential trophy stage), so let’s look at the results through the years.

2005

The first first leg of the trophy featured an overtime classic between EMU and CMU. The Chippewas jumped out to an early 10-0 lead but the Eagles were able to make it a 14-13 game at the half. A CMU touchdown gave them a 20-14 lead midway through the 3rd, and a FG by EMU made it 20-17 in the 4th. With time winding down, EMU went on a 19 play, 76 drive to kick the game tying field goal to send it to OT, where they would win after a 3rd down fumble on CMU’s drive put them in a 4th and 27 position.

The Eagles and Broncos wouldn’t play for another month and a half, with WMU taking that one 44-36. Then, knowing they could be the only team that could win the inaugural trophy, they took on the Chippewas at home. Greg Jennings had a monster game in a 31-24 win, as WMU claimed the first edition of the Michigan MAC Trophy.

They would go on to win the basketball version, which is one of only two times that a school claimed both trophies in an athletic year.

2006

Something something, CMU vs EMU and overtime.

The Chips and Eagles led off the trophy season again, but played a much more “boring” game through the first three quarters. In the 4th, CMU tied the game on a field goal with 6 minutes to go, then appeared to score the game-winning touchdown with 1:44 left. However, the Eagles answered with a touchdown of their own with 13 seconds left to send it to OT. A CMU touchdown on the first possession meant the Eagles had to go for it all, and they couldn’t to give the Chippewas a huge win.

The WMU/EMU game was a month later. I don’t have a box score for that, but the Broncos won 18-15 in a game that I assume had all field goals (joking). CMU and WMU would meet in November, but the Chippewas, led by a young gun named Dan Lefevour dominated the Broncos to the tune of a 31-7 win to capture their first Michigan MAC Trophy.

2007

What’s funny is that 2007 is largely regarded as one of the two best seasons under Bill Cubit for WMU. However, their rivalry record was dismal in that season, as they opened the trophy games with a 19-2 loss to EMU.

The 2007 WMU-CMU game was insane. Just look at the box score. CMU was up 27-17 with just under 4 minutes to go, and WMU was about to get the ball. Less than two minutes later, the Broncos scored two touchdowns 17 seconds apart to take a 31-27 lead. Dan LeFevour then counters with a touchdown run with 12 seconds left to stun the Broncos at Waldo. 34-31 final

The box score for the EMU-CMU game is incomplete, but the recap says the Eagles scored with about 4 minutes to go, and the Chippewas were driving, but an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty forced a 52-yd FG attempt that was missed. With the 48-45 EMU win, the Eagles had their first Michigan MAC Trophy.

2007 was the last time that all three schools were tied in trophy counts (1 apiece).

2008

Basically, for the next three seasons, WMU doesn’t beat CMU (the Chippewas won six straight in the series following the 2005 game). I could go into detail about the 2008 game, but CMU wins 38-28. The end.

The Broncos responded to that win a 31-10 thrashing of EMU at Waldo Stadium. So with EMU at 0-1 and CMU at 1-0 (and WMU out of the running with a loss and no retain), the EMU/CMU game would decide the 2008 trophy.

And ummm, Dan LeFevour had himself a game. 378 passing yards, 5 total touchdowns. Just absurd. Only, he didn’t win. Andy Schmitt threw 80(!!!!!!!!!!!!) passes, completing 58 of them for 516 yards in a 56-52 Eagle victory. The craziest part? The Eagles didn’t score any points in the 4th quarter, and the Chippewas only had 10 themselves in the final stanza.

It was the first year the trophy was retained, and the first back-to-back winner.

2009

Again, CMU beats WMU. LeFevour’s final season, my first as a student. Don’t wanna talk about it. 34-23

And to keep this brief, the Chippewas were absolutely dominant that year. They also had beaten EMU 56-8 the week before to make the WMU-EMU game meaningless. They had won the trophy on October 18th, the earliest the trophy has been awarded in a season.

With CMU also winning the basketball version, they became just the 2nd school to win both in same athletic year.

2010

Again, CMU throttles EMU, this time in September. 52-14.

The next leg isn’t until November 5th. WMU vs CMU. You know the result. I know it as Brian Fields fumbling at the 2-yard line to lose 26-22. So much pain.

CMU fans rushed the field, as their 3-9 season included two rivalry wins (and probably prevented WMU from making a bowl game).

It was the first time a team swept the series over a two-year span.

2011

WMU came out and whooped CMU in September to the tune of 44-14 to break the 6-year losing streak.

The second leg was the Central-Eastern game in Mt. Pleasant. The Eagles had a 28-13 lead late in the 4th, and wouldn’t you know it, the Chippewas tied it up at 28-all with two quick scores. However, an Alex Gillett 30-yard touchdown with 37 seconds left won it for the Eagles to end the Chippewas’ trophy streak at 2 seasons.

The WMU-EMU game a week later was a defensive battle. The Eagles completely shut down Jordan White, and outside of three touchdowns of 46, 50, and 50 yards and a field goal, there was no scoring. A huge goal-line stand by the Eagles late sealed a 14-10 victory as they won their 3rd Michigan MAC Trophy to re-tie CMU for most.

2012

CMU-WMU was the first leg. It was an epic classic where WMU scored 28 points in the 4th quarter to overcome a 23-14 deficit and win their first game in Mt. Pleasant in 10 years.

The next leg came a week later in Ypsi, when CMU faced EMU. The Eagles jumped out to a 14-0 lead after the first quarter, but the Chippewas would score 31 points over the next two quarters to take a 31-21 lead heading into the fourth. An early field goal provided the winning cushion as the Eagles never got the offense going.

The third leg came in Kalamazoo. The Eagles won 29-23 by stifling the Bronco offense in Alex Carder’s final game at Waldo Stadium. It would also be Bill Cubit’s final game as WMU’s head coach. The Eagles, meanwhile, won their 4th Michigan MAC Trophy and their 2nd via retention.

2013

Again, all three games were played in November.

The WMU-EMU game led off the year’s festivities, but with little pomp and circumstance. The Broncos were 1-8 and the Eagles had just fired Ron English for his tirade. The game, though, was actually a good one. Zach Terrell had a solid game through the air while Eagles pounded the rock on the ground. With the game winding down, and WMU up a score, Brogan Roback led the Eagles down the field to tie the game up on a touchdown with 51 seconds left. They would win on a Ryan Brumfield touchdown on the 2nd possession of OT.

A week later, the Broncos would struggle to pass the ball late against CMU, and would lose that game 27-22 to set up another big match-up between CMU and EMU for the Michigan MAC Trophy. However, it was never a game, as the Chippewas cruised to a 42-10 victory to win their 4th Michigan MAC Trophy.

2014

EMU fans will probably want me to keep this one short. They lost both games in 2014 (both were legs one and two of the Trophy) by a combined score of 89-14. So, yeah, TO CMU-WMU WE SHALL GO!

Again, it’s a classic. Similar to 2012, but with decent teams this time. You can read about it all here, but in short: another turnover late by CMU led to another WMU touchdown to put the game away. WMU won 32-20 to win their first Michigan MAC Trophy since the inaugural one in 2005.

2015

WMU was a dominant force, but CMU gave the Broncos all they could handle. However, Western was able to put the game away, milking the last 8:22 of the clock on a drive to win 41-39 in that affair.

The next leg came a couple weeks later, when WMU took on EMU on a Thursday night. It was a close first half, but the Broncos dominated the 3rd quarter en route to a convincing 58-28 win for their first back-to-back win (and the first time that the CMU-EMU game was rendered pointless in the trophy’s standings).

2016

So WMU has already throttled CMU to take a leg up on the trophy. The only way they lose it now is if EMU can beat them, and beat the Chippewas in the final week of the season. What happens if either wins the trophy?

If WMU wins:
-First back-to-back-to-back Champion in trophy history
-All three schools tied with 4 football trophies apiece

If EMU wins:
-First to 5 trophies in football
-Chance to become first three-time retention winner