The first college football bowl game outside of the United States is a rematch of sorts: Western Kentucky and Central Michigan met two years ago in the Little Caesar's Pizza Bowl, where the Chippewas triumphed. Although some of the players and coaches have changed, many remain and are undoubtedly looking forward to another memorable contest.
Fifth-year Chippewas head coach Dan Enos and company won't be facing Willie Taggart's 2012 run-heavy Hilltoppers squad featuring the likes of quarterback Kawaun Jakes and Tennessee Titans running back Antonio Andrews, but instead the nation's leading passer: senior quarterback Brandon Doughty and the explosive Hilltopper passing attack led by first year head coach Jeff Brohm.
Doughty, who was recently granted a sixth year of eligibility by the NCAA, leads the country this season with 4,344 passing yards 44 touchdowns as a part of a squad that's averaged 44 points per contest. Coming off a 67-66 double-overtime win against previously undefeated Marshall, Western Kentucky is preparing for its second bowl game as a member of the FBS against Central Michigan.
Central Michigan is in large part led by their conference-leading defense, that is giving up just over 23 points per game. Their offense, while not necessarily as explosive as that of their opponent, is led by the likes of senior wide receiver Titus Davis; Davis leads the team in receiving yards and touchdowns, and is considered by some to be as prominent in program history as Antonio Brown. When Davis is going, the Chippewas can become a problem. The Hilltopper defense--that has given up 39 points per game this season--will need to contain Davis and running back Thomas Rawls in order to win their first bowl game as an FBS member.
In a game that contains two teams with contrasting styles, I expect Brandon Doughty to continue his roll and ultimately defeat Central Michigan.
Popeyes Bahamas Bowl - December 24, 2014, 12:00PM ET
Thomas-Robinson Stadium, Nassau
For more on this game: head over to Hustle Belt, where I had a chance to sit down with Chippewas writer James Jimenez and discuss the Bahamas Bowl, that features a shiny trophy and fun pre-game team festivities:
Photo courtesy of BGDN photographer Austin Anthony: pic.twitter.com/uiT8TjCV2i
— Chad Bishop (@MrChadBishop) December 21, 2014