The 2021 LendingTree Bowl features the 7-5 Eastern Michigan Eagles against the 7-5 Liberty Flames. Here is the 2021 LendingTree Bowl Preview.
Eastern Michigan Eagles (7-5)
Eastern Michigan won seven games to make their first bowl game since 2019. They defeated three bowl-eligible teams in Miami (OH), Toledo and Western Michigan. The Eagles lost to one team that didn’t qualify for a bowl, which was Ohio.
The offense has produced 31 points per game, which is tied for 46th in the FBS. They pass for 263.3 yards (tied for 33rd) and rush for 117.3 yards per game (ranked 112th).
Cincinnati-transfer Ben Bryant has been the quarterback for Eastern Michigan this season. He has passed for 2,921 yards, 14 touchdowns and six interceptions on 68.8 percent completion. Five pass catchers have at least 200 receiving yards on the season. The two main contributors are Hassan Beydoun and Dylan Drummond. Beydoun leads the team with 86 receptions for 932 yards and also has four touchdown catches. Drummond has 58 receptions for 653 yards and six touchdowns as a secondary target.
Three running backs have over 250 yards for the Eagles. Jawon Hamilton has the team lead in rushing yards with 631 and also has four touchdowns. Darius Boone has 400 rushing yards and six touchdowns. Samson Evans specializes in finding the end zone with 12 rushing touchdowns on 264 yards.
Their defense allows 27.8 points per game, ranking 82nd in the country. They give up 194.8 rushing yards (ranked 110th) and 233 passing yards per game (ranked 73rd). Linebackers Tariq Speights and Terry Myrick lead the team with 84 and 77 tackles respectively. Jose Ramirez has been the best pass-rusher on the team with six sacks.
Liberty Flames (7-5)
Liberty made their second straight bowl game by notching seven wins this season. The Flames have victories over four bowl-eligible teams: North Texas, Middle Tennessee, UAB and Old Dominion. They lost two games to two teams who weren’t bowl-eligible in Syracuse and Louisiana-Monroe.
The Flames score 31.8 points per game, which ranks them 42nd in the FBS. They pass for 252.1 yards (ranked 48th) and rush for 176.4 yards per game (ranked 53rd).
Future NFL Draft pick Malik Willis has been manning the quarterback position for the Flames. He has passed for 2,626 yards, 24 touchdowns and 12 interceptions on 61.6 percent completion. Four receivers have at least 200 receiving yards. Demario Douglas leads the team with 49 catches for 679 yards and five touchdowns. CJ Daniels has aided the passing attack with 36 receptions for 590 yards and seven touchdowns. Their other main contributor is Kevin Shaa, who finished the regular season with 25 catches for 422 yards and five touchdowns.
Willis is the team leader in rushing yards with 820 and 11 rushing touchdowns. Joshua Mack, T.J. Green and Shedro Louis all have at least 350 rushing yards on the season. They have combined for 10 rushing touchdowns.
The defense allows 21.7 points per game, good enough for 30th in the country. They allow 141.2 rushing yards (ranked 49th) and 174.2 passing yards per game (ranked fifth). Linebacker Storey Jackson has been a star on defense with 93 total tackles and 6.5 sacks, both of which lead the team. Safety Javon Scruggs leads the team with six passes defended.
With Willis at quarterback Liberty, has a much more talented team than Eastern Michigan. Willis will have a big day and the Flames will be able to hold Eastern Michigan and secure the win.
Liberty Flames 38 Eastern Michigan Eagles 27
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