DETROIT — Well I am telling you, nieces and nephews Uncle Mel can get use to this and can not wait for Eastern Michigan University to get to experience this too! – playing in a bowl game!
The grumpy old boss at the news gathering compound located just outside the gates of the airport that is the gateway to the world from these parts, told Uncle Mel to take the 40 minute drive from the office into the downtown area of the city of Detroit – Uncle Mel said “okay!”
The 15th annual Little Caesars Pizza Bowl being played in the city known for automobiles and great music and anything concerning pizza and Uncle Mel is a natural combination just like the reputation of the city of Detroit.
The atmosphere could not be dampened by the wet streets, both marching bands performed with precession, the notes and chords vibrated across the field.
The Little Caesar Pizza Bowl is more than a football game it is a celebration of people helping each other to make a better world.
The players and coaching staff from both programs participated in serving breakfast for the less fortiute with the Salvation Army Christmas Day.
The Little Caesars Pizza Bowl enhance the community through the Stocking Stuffer Program with annual gifts of 15-20,000 tickets paid by the corporation and foundation to a diverse group of community schools, organization and charities including the American Red Cross, the Detroit Public Schools, Goodfellas and the Salvation Army.
Little Caesars Pizza Bowl co-founder Ken Hoffman is looking to bring more corporate money and sponsorship to the bowl in hoping for a bigger payout and maybe a higher recognizable team would be interested in playing at Ford Field in Detroit.
Uncle Mel remembers the early days of the Little Ceasar Pizza Bowl, back then it was a chance to showcase the champion of the Mid-American Conference.
“There is always a place for the Mid-American Conference in this event,” Hoffman said. “I do not know if it is in the current format but the MAC will always be a part of this bowl.”
Uncle Mel can say the hospitality at Ford Field made Uncle Mel feel appreciated.
Western Michigan University feeling the heat from the other teams from the Mid-American Conference that have represented the conference by bringing home bowl trophies.
Ohio University made the victory at the Famous Potato Bowl played in Boise, Idaho a comeback Hollywood-scripted 24-23,dramatic win over Utah State University and then the way Temple University opened up the 2011 bowl season by dominating the University of Wyoming 37-15 at the Gildan New Mexico Bowl.
Western Michigan University football coach Bill Cubit wanted his team to bring home a bowl championship and to continue the Mid-American Conference surprising ride through the bowl season.
Purdue University ended the dream by defeating the Broncos 35-32 in a game that saw two onside kicks being recovered by the kicking team, a 99 yard kickoff return for a touchdown and a team make seven turnovers.
Western Michigan University quarterback Alex Carder at times struggled and then at times he seemed to be in control of the Bronco offense, especally throwing the ball to wide reciever Jordan White.
White finished the game by setting two Little Caesars Pizza Bowl records for receptions with 13 and recieving yards with 265 yards.
“Right off of the bat it hurts, I am just disappointed but happy with how we played on some series,” White said about the loss to Purdue. “I feel like a lot of things are left undone on my part.”
Carder finished the game 31 of 57 for 439 yards and three touchdown passes but Carder was sacked once and he was intercepted four times.
The last offensive series of the game for the Broncos and needing a touchdown to win the game, Carder and the Broncos started the drive at their own 13 yard line.
The first play of the drive, Carder completed an 11-yard pass but on the next play Carder fumbled the ball and the Boilermakers recovered the ball and ending the hope of a bowl championship trophy residing at Western Michigan University.
“I just took too many chances,” Carder said after the game. “I just felt like we have to make plays, get the ball down the field. It was a great way to start the 2-minute drill. Then I should have just thrown the ball away.”
“I felt the effort was unbelievable despite all that we did,” Cubit said about his team’s effort. “In the end I thought we’d win and end up with the trophy. The kids showed a lot of heart.”
The Broncos defense could not stop the Purdue running game or contain MVP Akeem Shavers, he sliced through the Broncos defense 22 times for 149 yards.
With 44,177 in attendance at Ford Field which added to the excitement and electricity giving the game a true bowl feeling.
A national audience watching on ESPN made no doubt that the Little Caesar Pizza Bowl is more than a regional bowl – it is a spectacular bowl experience.
About the Author
Written by Mel Suiter
Graduated from Eastern Michigan University in 2002 and have been working as a beat writer for The Ypsilanti Courier covering Eastern Michigan University football and men's basketball during my school career and after graduation. I like the Mid-American Conference and the rest of the mid-major conferences.