Central Michigan QB Quinten Dormady responds to mistakes of old by taking care of football
Of Central Michigan's five turnovers in its 43-20 loss to Buffalo on Oct. 26 at UB Stadium, three came from quarterback Quinten Dormady.
The senior graduate transfer fumbled once and threw two interceptions.
Dormady wasn't going to let that happen again.
"That's something I focused on, just making good decisions this week and taking what the defense was going to give us," Dormady said.
In Central Michigan's 48-10 victory against Northern Illinois on Nov. 2 to improve to 6-4 overall, 4-2 in the Mid-American Conference and secure bowl eligibility, Dormady was 18 of 24 for 288 yards and three touchdowns.
No fumbles, no interceptions.
"I thought Q really played well today and took care of the football," said first-year coach Jim McElwain. "For the most part, I think he had a really good game."
Earlier in the week leading up to the game against Northern Illinois, the coaching staff decided to start on defense if the opportunity presented itself.
The Chippewas forced an immediate three-and-out, and the ball was handed to Dormady to score against a team that hadn't given up a first-drive touchdown in 2019.
Dormady made it happen, capping off a seven-play, 61-yard drive that took 2:48 off the clock with a 14-yard touchdown pass to Kalil Pimpleton.
The score from Dormady made a statement.
"I knew we would have to throw it this week with them loading the box, and we executed really well," Dormady said.
Central Michigan scored on its next two drives, making it three-straight to start the game that resulted in a touchdown.
Dormady connected with junior tight end Tony Poljan on second-and-6 for a 40-yard complete to the 3-yard line, and it set up backup senior quarterback Tommy Lazzaro with a 3-yard rushing score with 6:34 left in the first quarter for a 14-0 lead.
On the next drive, in a second-and-8 situation, Dormady put Central Michigan to the 16-yard line on a 37-yard pass to redshirt freshman receiver Tyrone Scott.
Much like Lazzaro's touchdown, the next play resulted in a 16-yard carry from sophomore running back Kobe Lewis for a 21-3 lead with 51 seconds left in the first stanza.
The Chippewas were well ahead and had no intention of ever looking back.
"Every time we're at home, I think we've come out and played from ahead for a majority of the game," Dormady said. "That's what we focus on every week, and it showed up today."
Holding a 24-10 lead, Dormady completed all four of his passes on the sixth drive of the game. The last of the four was a 39-yard touchdown pass to Poljan for a 31-10 edge with 4:59 to play until halftime.
Poljan has made 25 catches for 352 yards and three touchdowns in his first season since moving from the quarterback position.
The 6-foot-7, 235-pound tight end completed 76 of 147 passes for 625 yards, two touchdowns and five interceptions at quarterback in the 2018 season.
Poljan's history at quarterback works in Dormady's favor.
"He sees things differently than a lot of receivers, running backs and tight ends," Dormady said. "It's fun to have him out there. There's a different type of communication with him."
Dormady capped off the first half with a 16-yard touchdown throw to Scott on second-and-9 with 49 seconds left for a 38-10 lead.
The only other touchdown was on a 3-yard carry from senior running back Jonathan Ward to extend the Chippewa margin to 45-10 with 14:20 left in the fourth quarter.
Led by Dormady, the offense accumulated 615 yards (288 passing, 327 rushing), 24 first downs and went 8 of 15 on third down.
Again, there were no turnovers.
Lewis carried the ball 17 times for 143 yards and one touchdown, while Ward had 20 carries for 138 yards and one touchdown. Poljan, Pimpleton and Scott all caught touchdowns from Dormady, but junior receiver JaCorey Sullivan led the way with five catches for 88 yards.
For the most part, Dormady was given as much time as needed to throw, and he wasn't often pressured by the Northern Illinois defensive line.
"This was a judgment game for us to come out and show what we were really all about because last week wasn't us," Dormady said. "They set the tone, protected me and kept me upright for the most part."
The backup quarterback, Lazzaro, ran seven times for 27 yards and a touchdown.
"He's been a true, valuable member of our football team from the get-go," McElwain said of Lazzaro. "We always had a package for him, and he's executing it well. I'm happy for him, but he'll be the first to tell you he's happy for this football team. That's what this football team is all about."
While Central Michigan is 5-0 at Kelly/Shorts Stadium, McElwain's team has struggled mightily on the road, going 1-4 in opposing territory.
The energy that's been delivered upon in Mount Pleasant needs to be found away from home, and the Chippewas only have one more opportunity – against Ball State on Nov. 16 at Scheumann Stadium in Muncie, Indiana.
"The biggest thing is we have to bring our own energy on the road," Dormady said.