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Rejuvenated Central Michigan to meet Miami for Mid-American Conference football title

By NOAH TRISTER

AP Sports Writer

DETROIT — It was just over a year ago that Central Michigan introduced Jim McElwain as its new football coach, and at that point, the Chippewas were about as far from a championship as possible.

They’d won one game all season, and it was vs. an FCS opponent.

Now CMU is playing for a Mid-American Conference title.

“Amazing,” McElwain said. “To know where we started from a year ago … and just to see the growth, and it is a little bit improbable.”

The Chippewas take on Miami of Ohio in a rather unexpected MAC championship game on Saturday. CMU was understandably picked to finish last in the MAC West in the preseason media poll. Miami was second in the East in that survey, but well behind division favorite Ohio. It’s the first time either of these teams has been in this game since 2010.

CMU entered the final week of the season tied with Western Michigan for first place in the division. When WMU lost to Northern Illinois on Nov. 26, that gave the Chippewas an opportunity three days later, and they took full advantage by routing Toledo 49-7.