"We are grateful for the opportunity to be selected to compete in the 2016 Popeyes Bahamas Bowl," remarked Vice President and Director of Athletics Heather Lyke. "We are proud to represent the MAC and expect to finish our season strong. Our coaching staff and student-athletes have worked incredibly hard to be in a position to compete in the postseason and continue to build pride in the Block E. We are thankful for all of our loyal alumni, donors, fans and our university leadership for being committed to supporting our football program."
IMPORTANT NOTE: All U.S. citizens must have a valid U.S. passport to enter the Bahamas
This is EMU's second Division I bowl appearance in the history of the program. Eastern Michigan's last appearance in a bowl game was in 1987 when it traveled to Fresno, Calif. and defeated San Jose State University, 30-27, handing the Spartans their only loss of the season.
"We are absolutely . . .
The early invitation allows EMU additional time to prepare to play in an international destination, including obtaining passports for those who still need them to travel to the Bahamas as well as giving extra time for fans to make their travel plans to Nassau for bowl week.
Information on tickets to the 2016 bowl is available through PopeyesBahamasBowl.com. A reminder that all U.S. citizens who wish to attend the game must have a valid U.S. Passport to enter the Bahamas.
Eastern Michigan and Old Dominion have faced off in two of the last three seasons, with ODU coming away victorious in each of the contests. The Eagles dropped a 17-3 decision two years ago, Sept. 13, 2014, before falling, 38-34, in the 2015 season opener, Sept. 5.
"We are pleased that Eastern Michigan will be competing in the 2016 Popeyes Bahamas Bowl," said Popeyes Bahamas Bowl Executive Director Richard Giannini. "Coach Chris Creighton and his staff have done a tremendous job in preparing the Eagles all season long. We are looking forward to a great bowl game in Nassau with Eastern Michigan and Old Dominion."
LEADING THE WAY
Eastern is led on offense by redshirt junior quarterback Brogan Roback, who has put up gaudy numbers in his nine appearances this season, totaling six starts. He finished the regular season with 193 completions for 2,394 yards and 16 touchdowns. He has five 300-plus yard games and a season-high of 468 yards. For his efforts, Roback was named MAC West Offensive Player of the Week three times.
The offense gets its start up front from the experienced offensive line, which has 161 combined starts under its belt. The group has combined to allow the 12th fewest sacks in the nation, as well as the second fewest tackles for loss. On the ground, redshirt sophomore Ian Eriksen leads the rushing attack with 741 yards on 175 carries and nine scores, while junior Sergio Bailey II is the leading pass catcher with 55 receptions for 799 yards and six touchdowns.
Defensively, the Eagles forced 23 turnovers this season, good for 20th in the nation and second in the MAC. Redshirt sophomore Kyle Rachwal led EMU in tackles with 101 stops, while redshirt senior Pat O'Connor had 8.0 sacks, good for 39th in the nation and fourth in the MAC. Additionally, O'Connor became the Eastern Michigan career sack leader earlier this season with 19.5 sacks.