Pistons' Drummond enjoys CMU football weekend in Mt. Pleasant

MOUNT PLEASANT, MICH. - Detroit Pistons center Andre Drummond said because of his commitment to playing basketball while he was at UConn from 2011 to 2012, he couldn't watch the Huskies play football.

After watching Central Michigan upset No. 22 Oklahoma State, 30-27, with a Hail Mary on the final play last week, it inspired him to check out the college football in the state of the Michigan and make up for what he missed in the past.

Drummond's first stop was Saturday at Kelly/Shorts Stadium. He was on hand to watch the Chippewas down UNLV, 44-21, where quarterback Cooper Rush throw six touchdown passes and set the stadium record for TD passes in a game.

Little did Drummond know, though, he'd see a similar play to last week's Hail Mary.

On that play, which was an untimed down with no time left, Rush lofted a prayer of a pass near to the goal line to receiver Jesse Kroll, who caught the pass and lateralled it backward to teammate Corey Willis. Willis then sprinted 9 yards and dove into the end zone for the winning score.

Fast forward to the UNLV game. The ESPN3 broadcast team pulled Drummond into the booth for an interview. During that time, Rush rifled a 31-yard bootleg pass to Willis, who juked defenders and scampered for a score almost identical to his TD a week ago.

Drummond was right there with the play-by-play.

"Hey, he did it again!" Drummond shouted while Willis was racing toward the near sideline's pylon. "He did it again! He did it again!

"That was impressive. I don't know what to say. He did the same play. The same play happened. You better watch out for that kid."

Drummond made the most of his trip to mid-Michigan this weekend.

Friday night he was a guest DJ for Wayside Central, a nightclub for CMU students on the weekends.

He shopped at Meijer, ate at local restaurants and capped it off by tailgating with students in the parking lot near the south end zone.

The former 2012 NBA first-round pick watched the game from a suite and spent his time tweeting and taking selfies with fans.

"I saw the winning play last week, and I was very interested to see how they're (CMU) doing this year," Drummond said. "One of my friends went to UNLV, so it was kind of a good time to come up and have a little bit of a rivalry game together. ...

"Whenever I get a chance, I like to come out and really support the teams here in Michigan."

Drummond said he wants to attend one game at each of the five FBS schools in Michigan. Next week, he'll be in Ann Arbor to watch Michigan host Penn State for its Big Ten opener Saturday.

It took a little effort on CMU coach John Bonamego's part to get Drummond on campus.

"He just put out a tweet and said, 'I'm thinking about going to the Central Michigan game. What do you think?' " Bonamego recalled. "I answered it and said to DM me. About 10 minutes later, he followed me, and we went back and forth from there."

Bonamego said Drummond didn't meet with him or the team.

But the Chippewas, who are 3-0 to start a season for the first time since 2002, were still excited about him being on campus.

"It brings an excitement and energy to campus," said Rush, who was 20 of 33 passing for 352 yards. "It was a pretty cool thing to help get people in the stands.

"It's awesome, and hopefully, he comes back."

Willis was also excited about Drummond, especially after hearing how the NBA player called his touchdown during the TV broadcast.

"That's fire," Willis said. "I had just found out that Andrew Drummond was going to the game. I didn't even know he was going to the game until last night. It definitely feels good that the outside world knows who Central Michigan is."


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