-- The pre-game snowstorm held the crowd down. Those
that came were loud and passionate. This was the 16th edition
of the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl at Ford Field.
supporters came with over 23,000 strong and saw a most competitive
game. The folks that stayed home watching on ESPN got a football
showcase also. Central Michigan slipped past Western Kentucky
the Hilltoppers on fourth-and-2 in the final minute when a field
goal might have sent the game to overtime. On fourth down from
the 19-yard line with 51 seconds left, Kawaun Jakes threw incomplete
intended for Jack Doyle.
Guidry, coaching Western Kentucky (7-6) on an interim basis, went
for the victory after his players made their feelings known regarding
was all the players. We were going to kick the field goal, we
had the unit in the huddle but they told me that they were here
to win the game,” Guidry said postgame. Everyone wanted
to go for it; I called over the defense, they wanted to go for
it. So the players kind of made the decision. I put it in their
hands and that’s the way they wanted and that’s how
we’re going out.”
Michigan had taken the lead with 5:11 remaining, as Cody Wilson
caught an 11-yard touchdown pass from Ryan Ratcliff. “I
couldn’t have scripted it any better than my last catch
being the winning TD in a bowl game,” said Wilson. The senior
had 10 catches for 101 yards.
went 19 of 29 for 253 yards and three touchdowns. Central Michigan
(7-6) rallied late in the game. Down 21-17, Zurlon Tipton appeared
to have put the Chippewas ahead in the fourth quarter, but his
fourth-down run was ruled short of the goal line after a review.
Michigan forced the Hilltoppers to punt from their own end zone,
and Avery Cunningham blocked it. The ball bounced around for a
bit, the Chippewas finally recovered it and took over with great
field position inside the 30. Radcliff found Wilson in the back
left corner of the end zone for a 24-21 lead.
knew we left a lot on the table in the first half, but we made
a lot of those plays in the second half,” said CMU coach
Brogan had a record 82 yard punt for CMU. Radcliff was MVP and
CMU linebacker Shamari Benton was Outstanding Lineman of the Game.
He had nine tackles.
Cass Tech High School, coached by Tom Wilcher, the 2012 Michigan
Division-I State Champion football team was honored on the field.
Hilltoppers marching band arrived at Ford Field just before game
time because of hard travel conditions and exceeded all expectations.
pioneer and 1948 Cotton Bowl star Wally Triplett, 86, was honored
by the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl Committee.
players for both teams served early Christmas breakfast with the
Salvation Army at the historic Masonic Temple.
was CMU’s third bowl win. This was the first bowl game for
junior running back Zurlon Tipton eclipsed the 100-yard barrier
for the seventh consecutive game and for the eighth time this
season, with 23 carries for 101 yards.
Caesars brought its “Love Kitchen” to Mt. Pleasant,
Michigan and Bowling Green, Kentucky prior to bowl week. The big-rig
pizza kitchen served meals to people in need.
Little Caesars Pizza Bowl to Have Partisan CMU Crowd
by Lars Hjelmroth / Detroit Photo Company
Ross, President of Central Michigan University, third year CMU
head football coach Dan Enos and President of Little Caesars Enterprises,
David Scrivino celebrate the presentation of the 2012 Little Caesars
Pizza Bowl trophy.