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Photos by Brian Smith

NH grad shining in frosh year at CMU


November 05, 2008
Bryan Schroeder made a return to his home state Saturday. Never was it more evident than the local product having one of the largest fan followings when his Central Michigan Chippewas faced Indiana in Bloomington.

In section 29 at Memorial Stadium, midway up the stands, a white banner bearing "Schroeder" spread across about 10 seats. When CMU's No. 35 carried the ball on the second play of the game, there were notable loud ovations for a run that was stuffed by the Hoosier defensive line. These fans didn't care, because when the public address announcer said, "Central Michigan carry by Bryan Schroeder," they would have went nuts if he lost 20 yards or gained 20.

Despite a shade of red being the team colors for both squads, blue North Harrison shirts were found scattered among the 26,140. There were also plenty of Hoosier fans, donning crimson, still cheering for their hometown product.

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On Saturday, North Harrison High School alum Bryan Schroeder played in front of his home-base, wearing the Chippewa logo on his helmet. Central Michigan pulled off a 37-34 win over Indiana, its first win over a Big Ten opponent since Michigan State in 1992.

Schroeder, a true freshman, spent the day splitting carries with senior back Ontario Sneed. Against the Hoosiers, the North Harrison product earned a starting nod in his fourth game appearance.

Just over a year ago, Schroeder injured his foot in the second game of his senior high school season, abruptly ending his prep career. It was a legendary career as a four-year starter who ran for 6,003 yards and 96 touchdowns. He seemed destined to break the state's all-time rushing yard record before the injury halted that goal.

Prior to the start of his senior campaign, Schroeder verbally committed to play for Central Michigan coach Butch Jones. Despite the injury last year, CMU held on to its commitment when a healed Schroeder officially signed in February as one of their top recruits.

Schroeder was being recruited by Iowa, Purdue and the team the Chippewas beat Saturday. It is safe to say, with a 7-2 record, Central Michigan is becoming a team inching closer to the national stage and to Top 25 polls. Also safe to think, Schroeder made the perfect decision to head to the MAC instead of the struggling Big Ten.

The national limelight continues over the next few weeks for Central Michigan and Schroeder. The Chippewas next play at Northern Illinois on Wednesday, Nov. 12, at 7 p.m. The game will be nationally-televised on ESPN2, along with their Nov. 19 contest against Ball State. Both games will be key to winning the Mid-American Conference title.

If you couldn't make the trip to Bloomington, cheer from your couch. CMU plays an exciting style of football on the offensive side. Against the Hoosiers, Central Michigan quarterback Brian Brunner threw for 485 yards against Indiana Saturday.

The Central Michigan running game had trouble finding holes Saturday, but it wasn't needed. Schroeder carried the ball eight times for five yards and caught a screen pass for 11. Key to protecting Brunner, Schroeder provided several blocks in the backfield to help with protection.

Over four games, Schroeder is third on the team in rushing yards with 171 yards on 51 carries. He made his debut against Temple on Oct. 11 by leading the team in rushing with 31 yards.

The following game against Western Michigan, Schroeder scored his first touchdown, a 19-yard run. He concluded his best career game with 106 yards and two touchdowns.

Now at 7-2 overall and 5-0 in Mid-American Conference play, Central Michigan is eligible for a post-season bowl game. Their two losses are more than respectable at Purdue and at Georgia.

The win for Central Michigan was a win for the Schroeder followers. After the game, Brunner and wide receiver Bryan Anderson emerged from the Chippewa lockers to address the media, while fans cheered near the team buses.

That ovation was topped when Schroeder emerged in black warm-ups. The running back who drew many applause during his time wearing Cougar blue, was greeted by a large contingent. Schroeder took the time to greet everyone with handshakes, hugs and many smiles.

Safe to say this freshman is one to be proud of. We can just hope the Chippewas return to the area within the next few years.

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