The C-USA and MAC conferences will square off in the 2019 Servpro First Responder Bowl. Western Kentucky and Western Michigan will battle it out in Texas to see which team can end the season with a win. Here is the 2019 Servpro First Responder Bowl preview.
Western Kentucky Hilltoppers (8-4)
Tyson Helton has led Western Kentucky back to a bowl game after a two-year hiatus. Of their eight wins this season, four came against bowl-eligible teams. Three of their losses came to bowl-eligible teams, but they also lost their season opener to FCS-level Central Arkansas.
The Hilltoppers rank 90th in the country with 25.3 points per game. They pass for 251.1 yards (ranked 52nd) and rush for 128.9 yards per game (ranked 107th).
Ty Storey has taken most of the snaps under center for Western Kentucky. He has 2,209 passing yards, 12 touchdowns and five interceptions on 70.1 percent completion. Five players have over 200 receiving yards for Western Kentucky. Their leading receiver is Lucky Jackson, who has 77 receptions for 982 yards and three touchdowns.
Western Kentucky feeds the ball to running back Gaej Walker a lot. He has 226 carries for 1,115 yards and eight touchdowns on the season. The next leading rusher is Storey with 246 yards.
Their defense is 23rd in the country, allowing 20.1 points per game. They give up 137.3 rushing yards (ranked 41st) and 200.5 passing yards per game (ranked 32nd). Defensive lineman DeAngelo Malone has been a star for their defense with 91 total tackles and 11.5 sacks.
Western Michigan Broncos (7-5)
Tim Lester is leading the Broncos well, as they have yet to have a losing record in his three seasons at the helm. The Broncos beat four bowl-eligible teams this season. They lost to two teams under .500 this season in Syracuse and Northern Illinois.
The Broncos rank 25th as a scoring offense this year at 34.2 points per game. They rush for 212.7 yards (ranked 24th) and pass for 244.6 yards per game (ranked 55th).
John Wassink has been a leader for the Broncos at the quarterback position. This season, he has 2,904 passing yards, 19 touchdowns and seven interceptions on 59.8 percent completion. Five receivers have at least 200 receiving yards for Western Michigan. Wide receiver Skyy Moore and tight end Giovanni Ricci are the leading receivers for the team. Each has 47 catches on the season, while Moore garners more deep plays, Ricci is more effective in the red one.
LeVante Bellamy leads the team in rushing with 1,412 yards and 23 touchdowns (tied for the FBS lead). Whenever he needs a breather, Sean Tyler or Davon Tucker fill in and each have been successful with over 300 rushing yards.
Western Michigan allows 26.2 points per game, which ranks 57th in the country. They allow 186.5 rushing yards (ranked 94th) and 228.1 passing yards per game (ranked 68th). Linebacker Treshaun Hayward has been all over the field for the Broncos with 132 total tackles on the season.
Western Michigan has the better offense in this game and they will be able to attack Western Kentucky in a variety of different ways. Bellamy and Wassink will both have big days to lead the Broncos to victory.
Western Michigan Broncos 32 Western Kentucky Hilltoppers 27
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