Central Michigan head coach Dan Enos and junior running back Zurlon Tipton met with the Detroit media on Thursday at the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl Media Luncheon, kicking off events leading up to the Chippewas' clash with Western Kentucky on December 26 at Ford Field.
"It is an honor and a privilege to represent Central Michigan and be a part of this bowl game," Enos said. "I am from Detroit and we have a lot of players and coaches from this area, so this is really special. I remember coming to this game when it started in 1997 and thought that I would love to be the head coach in this bowl some day, so this is a dream come true."
"I am excited to be able to come back to my hometown to play in this game," Detroit native Tipton said. "It is going to be fun to play in front of so many of our fans and I expect it is going to be a great game."
The 2012 Little Caesars Pizza Bowl will kickoff at 7:30 p.m. and will be broadcast by ESPN. The first-ever meeting between Central Michigan and Western Kentucky is the lone bowl game scheduled for December 26. CMU is making its fifth bowl appearance in the last seven years.
Additional quotes from CMU head coach Dan Enos and running back Zurlton Tipton
Dan EnosOn getting to a bowl game
"It's a great thrill to be here. First off, with our players and their families, we've got a lot of people from this area. Then being from this area myself, I've got a lot of family and friends and people that I grew up with and have been around my entire life. It's very special to me and this is a very special thing for our entire football program."
On being selected for the Little Caesar's Pizza Bowl
"When we got bowl eligible, we were really hoping that this would the bowl game that we could go to, for a lot of different reasons. We were so excited that the Little Caesars Bowl extended us that invitation. We're very proud and I know our players are very proud. We're very excited to be here and I know that our guys are chomping at the bit to play, especially with the way we've handled our early practices. We've got a great opponent in Western Kentucky. They're a good football team and it's going to be a tremendous challenge, but it's one that we're looking forward to."
On the support the Chippewas have received
"I think it's really neat to see the support. I know our players are really proud that they've already gone through the allotment and they're going to have to buy more tickets to sell. I would expect a great crowd and we appreciate those people that come. Hopefully, we can have that place full of Maroon on December 26. We appreciate the support."
On preparation for the game
"We're going to have a great time. Bowl games are a reward for a season. When it's time to work, we're going to work and we're going to have fun too. There are a lot of neat events that will be going on. We're going to do some things in Mount Pleasant before we even come here and when we get down here, there's going to be some things. We encourage our players to interact in all of it, enjoy themselves and have a good time. The only thing that we ask is that when we carve out those three hours every day to work, that we have their 100 percent, undivided attention on their preparation."
On the bowl experience
"It's a great experience. I've got the family down the street. Not just for me either, but for a lot of people from Michigan. A lot of our families aren't that far away. I definitely think it's going to raise the motivation level to do well in this game."
On momentum coming into the game
"It's real good for us. We won four of our last five games, which is a real confidence booster. We're looking forward to keeping the streak going."
On his injury last season
"I didn't like being hurt. Not one bit. Nobody does. I just wanted to come back strong for the team and help get us back to where we are now."
On each team's rush offense
"If they want to run the ball against our defense, good luck with that. We're definitely going to take care of business in the run game against them."
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