ETROIT (AP) – Central Michigan did enough at the start of each half to win its first Division I-A bowl.

Ontario Sneed scored twice early and Doug Kress returned an interception for a touchdown on the opening possession of the second half Tuesday night, helping the Chippewas beat Middle Tennessee State 31-14 in the Motor City Bowl.

Central Michigan (10-4) was led by interim coach Jeff Quinn, who was promoted three weeks ago when Brian Kelly was wooed away by the Cincinnati Bearcats. The Chippewas lost the 1994 Las Vegas and 1990 California Raisin Bowls.

Sneed’s 1-yard run and 29-yard reception gave the Chippewas a 14-0 lead with 5:53 left in the first quarter and Kress’ 56-yard return put the Mid-American Conference champions ahead by three TDs early in the third.

The Blue Raiders held Central Michigan to minus-6 yards on its first two drives in the second half, then DeMarco McNair’s 6-yard run made it 28-14 early in the fourth quarter.

Central Michigan botched a field goal attempt on the ensuing possession, giving the Sun Belt Conference co-champions hope until McNair was stuffed at the line on a fourth-and-1 from their 29 with 5 minutes left.

AP-ES-12-26-06 2245EST


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