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Detroit — Romello Ross showed Central Michigan has a bright future in the backfield.

Ross, a true freshman running back from Detroit Western, ran for 100 yards in his first start on the big stage of Ford Field Monday night in the Quick Lane Bowl.

In fact, Ross was almost the hero, scoring on a highlight reel 13-yard TD run with 11:08 left to give the Chippewas a 14-13 lead over Minnesota, carrying multiple defenders with him into the end zone during the final few yards.

Unfortunately for Ross and Central, Mitch Leidner took Minnesota 74 yards on 13 plays for a touchdown for a 21-14 victory.

“Obviously, he’s a very talented player,” said CMU first-year coach John Bonamego of Ross. “He had a great game against Eastern Michigan. He’s a true freshman and we’ve got him for three more years. He’s only going to continue to improve and get better. I’m very proud of him. He’s got a very high degree of maturity about himself for a really young guy and how he carries himself.”

Ross was going to be redshirted until injuries changed the plan midway through the season. He ran for 54 yards in a 51-14 win over Buffalo in Week No. 7, then scored 4 TDs in the 35-28 regular-season finale win over Eastern Michigan, including a 63-yard TD reception.

“I had started off being a redshirt freshman and a few players went down and I got to play,” Ross said. “I just wanted the opportunity. The coaches felt like they had enough trust in me to get on the field so I can’t prove them wrong. I have to show them it was the right decision.”

And, on his TD run, Ross said: “It was just blocked up and it was well blocked up by the safety, then as a running back when you get to the safety you’ve just got to be able to keep your feet pumping. Everybody else got on board with it and we pushed the ball in.”

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