MOUNT PLEASANT, Mich. (AP) — Quinten Dormady threw three touchdown passes, Jonathan Ward ran for two scores, and Central Michigan kicked off the coach Jim McElwain era with its 12th straight win against FCS opponents, 38-21 against Albany in Thursday night's season opener.
Dormady (27 of 37 for 285 yards) hit Tyrone Scott on a 22-yard TD pass in the first quarter, then cashed in on D'Andre Dill's fumble recovery with a 14-yard scoring pass to Scott eight plays later. Dormady's 4-yard TD pass to Kalil Pimpleton put the FBS Chippewas up 24-7 at halftime.
Central Michigan, 1-11 last season in Mid-American Conference play, gained 529 total yards to the Great Danes' 244 and held them to 45 yards rushing. Despite an opening-drive fumble, Ward (158 yards on 22 carries) led the Chippewas' 244-yard ground attack and scored on a 7-yard run in the third quarter and a 12-yarder in the fourth.
Redshirt freshman Jeff Undercuffer (15 of 28 for 199 yards) threw TD passes of 36 and nine yards to Juwan Green for the Great Danes, who play in the Colonial Athletic Association. Defensive end Eli Mencer sacked Dormady in the fourth quarter, forcing a fumble which he recovered and returned 52 yards for a score.
Albany has played FBS teams in five straight season openers, beating Buffalo 22-16, in 2016.
McElwain, hired last December, was head coach at Florida from 2015-2017 and wide receivers coach at Michigan in 2018.