The Central Michigan Chippewas take on the Tulsa Golden Hurricane in the 2016 Miami Beach Bowl at 2:30 p.m. on Monday December 19.
Central Michigan Chippewas
The Chippewas recorded one of the most amazing, and controversial, wins of the college football season when they defeated Oklahoma State. That win had them poised to do great things and contend with Western Michigan in the MAC. Unfortunately, they lost the momentum from the start of the season, and finished at 6-6, but did beat the MAC East Division Champion Ohio near the end of the season.
Cooper Rush is the best player on Central Michigan, but had a disappointing senior season compared to the stats he put up in his first three years of college. He still finished with 3,299 yards passing and 23 touchdowns. Rush does throw a few too many interceptions for comfort, with 13 on the season, but his experience in big games has to be trusted. Corey Willis is Rush’s main target with nine receiving touchdowns and 1,024 yards, but Rush does spread the ball around pretty well.
Running the ball isn’t one of the Chippewas’ strengths, as they finished with, 1,424 rushing yards as a team. With 5.6 yards per carry, Devon Spalding is the biggest threat, but he only has 737 rushing yards.
Central Michigan gives up 28.3 points per game, making them an average defense. They allow 161 rushing yards per game, meaning teams with decent rushing attacks can take advantage of them. Pass defense is average though, with 214 passing yards allowed per game.
Their defensive lineman Joe Ostman has had a successful year with nine sacks. He will be the key to the defensive pass rush, but Amari Coleman is the guy who can create turnovers with four interceptions on the year.
Tulsa Golden Hurricane
Tulsa only losses were to really good teams in Ohio State, Houston and Navy. The only bowl eligible teams they have beaten this season are UCF and Memphis. At 9-3 Tulsa exceeded expectations and now gets to go to Miami.
The quarterback for Tulsa, Dane Evans, is in the same boat as Rush, with a season that finished below expectations. Evans finished with 3,044 yards passing, 27 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. Like Rush, Evans is a senior that should be trusted to do well in this game. Keevan Lucas is Evans’ best target with 12 touchdowns and 1,108 receiving yards.
Evans may have taken a step back, but the run game has taken a huge step forward this season. They have two 1,000 yard rushers in James Flanders and D’Angelo Brewer. They have gashed defenses together for a combined 24 rushing touchdowns. Their running ability opens up the passing game for Evans.
The defense is a problem for the Golden Hurricane, as they give up 31.5 points per game. With 248.3 passing yards allowed per game and 184.1 rushing yards allowed per game, the Tulsa defense doesn’t really have a strength between the two. They really don’t have any notable stars on defense, so it is going to take a team effort to slow down Central Michigan.
The Golden Hurricane will win this game due to their ability to control the clock with the running game. Brewer and Flanders will gash the defense for big runs and win the game for Tulsa.
Tulsa Golden Hurricane 45 Central Michigan Chippewas 34