NASSAU, Bahamas- The Western Michigan Broncos captured their first bowl victory in school history, defeating Middle Tennessee State, 45-31, in the Popeye’s Bahamas Bowl Thursday at Thomas Robinson Stadium.
WMU finishes 2015 with an 8-5 overall record under third-year head coach P.J. Fleck. It is the second-straight eight-win season for Western Michigan, a feat that had also never been accomplished before in program history.
The game started and ended nothing short of an old-fashioned shootout. The two teams combined for . . .
Western Michigan pulled away in the fourth quarter, taking a 14-point lead after back-to-back touchdown runs by Mid-American Conference Freshman of the Year Jamauri Bogan.
Bogan was named Offensive MVP of the 2015 Popeye’s Bahamas Bowl and finished with four touchdowns and a career-high 215 yards, pushing him over the 1,000-yard mark for the season. He had three 40 yard-plus rushes in the game, one for a 62-yard touchdown on third and long on WMU’s first drive of the game
Senior safety Rontavious Atkins came up with a critical interception that set up Bogan’s final touchdown and halted what could have been a game-tying drive by the Raiders. Atkins stepped in front of a pass with less than six minutes remaining and returned it 29 yards to the MTSU four-yard line. Bogan then punched the ball in from a yard out to give WMU a two-touchdown lead.
Junior wide receiver Corey Davis was a constant threat down the field, totaling a season-high 183 yards on eight catches, one for an 80-yard touchdown. Davis spun away from his defender and turned a short pass into a career-long 80-yard touchdown to tie the score at the end of the first quarter 17-17.
TERRELL PROVIDES TWO TDs
The 80-yard connection was also a career long for junior quarterback Zach Terrell. Terrell finished with 297 yards in the air, completing 18-of-26 pass attempts. He threw for two touchdowns and was intercepted once.
Junior Daniel Braverman caught a 68-yard touchdown pass from Terrell in the fourth quarter and finished with five catches for 101 yards.
It was second time this season that the Broncos have had two 100-yard receivers (Davis and Braverman) and a 100-yard rusher in the same game (Bogan).
Senior linebacker Grant DePalma was named the Defensive MVP after registering a team-high 12 tackles, including one for a loss.
Middle Tennessee State scored on its opening kickoff on a 47-touchdown reception by Jordan Parker. Western Michigan trailed 14-7 and 14-7 in the first quarter before pulling even on Davis’ 80-yard touchdown reception.
After the two teams combined for 34 points in the first quarter, the defenses stepped up for a scoreless second quarter that saw just 147 total yards combined.
WMU took its first lead of the game at the start of the third quarter when Bogan ripped off a 46-yard touchdown run. Middle Tennessee countered with a 17-yard touchdown reception by Christian Collins.
The game was tied 24-24 entering the fourth quarter, but WMU closed out the contest by outscoring the Raiders 21-7.
Western Michigan had 515 yards of total offense. Middle Tennessee totaled 368.
(Courtesy of WMU Athletics)