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How Quinten Dormady helped Central Michigan find an identity


Central Michigan quarterback Quinten Dormady makes a pass against Toledo Nov. 29 at Kelly/Shorts Stadium.

From the moment Quinten Dormady decided to transfer to Central Michigan, he understood that a championship could be in his future.

The 23-year-old graduate transfer quarterback from Houston recognized the talent on the team, but what he didn't see were accountability and discipline.

That's what first-year coach Jim McElwain added into the mix.

Along with McElwain's style, Dormady brought veteran leadership to the offense at the quarterback position, regarded as the most important spot on the field.

His newfound teammates started to buy in, and that's when he noticed a shift in the program's culture – an identity was discovered.

"Credit to this team and the guys that were here last year that had to go through that to step back up and buy into what coach Mac brought here," Dormady said. "It made it a special year to this point."

The Chippewas are 8-4 overall and 6-2 in the Mid-American Conference following a 1-11 season in 2018. 

With the 49-7 win over Toledo on Friday, Dormady's group secured the MAC West Division title and a spot in the conference title game.

Dormady completed 15 of 19 passes for 250 yards and two touchdowns. His first score was a 48-yard completion to redshirt freshman Tyrone Scott on first-and-10 with 9:01 left in the first quarter.

"They put as many dudes as close to the ball as they could, and that’s what opens up the throw game," Dormady said. "They can bring everybody, but we’ve got receivers on the outside that are going to make plays."

Much like the first drive of the first half, Dormady did it again with his arm on the first drive of the second half. He connected with junior tight end Tony Poljan for a 9-yard touchdown and 42-7 lead.

The 42-point victory featured 552 yards from the offense, of which 263 were through the air and 289 on the ground.

"I think we were really balanced, took the shots we needed to take but ran the ball effectively," Dormady said. "The big guys up front established that."

In eight games played this season, the two-time graduate transfer has thrown for 1,916 yards, 13 touchdowns and five interceptions.

Evaluating options as a transfer, Dormady said he wanted to find a program that best fit his offensive style.

Having senior running back Jonathan Ward and sophomore running back Kobe Lewis, along with receivers like Scott, Kalil Pimpleton and JaCorey Sullivan, added with 6-foot-7 Poljan, helped make Dormady's decision simple.

Dormady credits those players, as well as his offensive line, for his success.

"To this point in the season, it’s been back and forth," Dormady said. "How do you want to get beat this game? When the run game is down, the throw game picks up – back and forth.”

Ward has 164 carries for 1,056 yards and 15 touchdowns in 10 games. He's also expanded his game to become more effective as a slot receiver and pass-catcher out of the backfield with 284 yards and one score.

In 12 contests, Lewis has 170 attempts for 953 yards and 11 touchdowns, solidifying himself as the future at the running back position.

Dormady wanted to help players like Ward, Lewis and others buy into the program's new standards during spring and fall camp, thus preparing everyone for the season.

With his background as the starting quarterback for Tennessee (2015-17) and backup for Houston (2018), Dormady understood what it took to be successful at the college level.

"That’s why I came here," Dormady said. "I’ll never know, but I definitely hope I did.”

When attempting to get Dormady to play for the Chippewas, McElwain told him there would be a chance to win a championship if he came to Mount Pleasant.

To figure out if McElwain was telling the truth, Dormady did his research.

“Every coach says that to get a guy, but I could see it when I watched film," Dormady said.

Dormady noticed an offense that could find equilibrium between the pass and run game. That's what Central Michigan has been able to do for the better part of the 2019 season, and it was accomplished once again in the regular season finale.

"The coaching staff did an outstanding job with the game plan," McElwain said. "We did exactly what we wanted to do. We did a good job of holding onto the ball offensively and producing points."

Celebrating with his teammates was a moment Dormady will never forget.

"That’s a special group in the locker room," Dormady said. "I’ll continue to say that for the years to come. I’m happy for the guys that were here last year and endured what they did but bounced back. 

"It’s special.”

With the MAC championship game against Miami (Ohio) on Dec. 7 at Ford Field in Detroit looming, Dormady is soaking it all in.

Central Michigan has served as Dormady's last college opportunity, and he's here to enjoy every moment.

"This has been the most fun year of college football I’ve had," Dormady said. "There’s no doubt about it."