Monday, Dec. 19, 2:30 p.m. ET
Marlins Park -- Miami, Fla.
MAC bowl action moves into second gear Monday as Central Michigan battles Tulsa in the Miami Beach Bowl.
It’s been almost a month since the two teams last saw action, and that might be a good thing for Central Michigan. The Chippewas could have used the time to regroup after finishing the season with one win in their last five outings.
Tulsa, meanwhile, won four of its last five games. The only loss was a 42-40 setback at Navy Nov. 12. That was one just two American Athletic Conference losses for the Golden Hurricanes, who fell at then No. 13 Houston, 38-31. The only non-conference loss was a 48-3 setback at then No. 4 Ohio State.
Here’s more on the teams . . .
► The Hurricanes went to at least one overtime three times this year, winning all three. They are, in fact, coming off a 40-37 win over Cincinnati in the regular season finale. Tulsa trailed at the end of each quarter in that game and was down 31-21 before outscoring the Bearcats 13-3 in the fourth period to force OT.
► Just a bit of trivia – Tulsa has the smallest FBS enrollment with 3,473 students, while CMU has an enrollment of 26,968.
► This is the third meeting between Tulsa and Central Michigan. Each program has one win, with the victories coming on home turf. The Golden Hurricanes are making their 21st bowl appearance and are 9-11 overall, with a 4-2 mark over the last six bowl contests.
► Before taking over at Tulsa, head coach Philip Montgomery spent seven years at Baylor, where he was offensive foordinator/QB coach for the final three years. Robert Griffin II was one of his quarterback projects.
► Tulsa has scored 40+ points in nine games this year, posting an 8-1 record in those meetings. The Golden Hurricanes surpassed 500 yards of total offense in 15 games over the last two seasons under Montgomery and eclipsed 600 yards six times. UT ranks sixed in the nation in total offense.
► Running backs D’Angelo Brewer and James Flanders became the second tandem in school history to each rush for 1,000 in the same season. As a team, UT reached 300+ rushing yards in eight games this season. Flanders actually rushed for over 1,000 yards in the last six games alone.
► Quarterback Dane Evans is now the school’s careere passing leader (11,071 yards). He is the only QB in school history to throw for over 3,000 y
ards in three separate seasons. He owns 3,044 yards in 2016.
► Senior receiver Keevan Lucas has 1,108 receiving yards this year. He is a veraging 15.0 ypc and 92.3 ypg on 74 receptions. Despite missing nine games in 2015 due to injury, he is now ranked third on the school’s all-time receiving list.
► The Hurricane is flirting with the possibility of becoming the first team in NCAA history with a 3,000-yard passer, two 1,000-yard rushers and two 1,000-yard receivers, Josh Atkinson is 73 yards shy of becoming Tulsa’s second 1,000-yard receiver.
► In the last five games, Tulsa totaled 37 tfl, 15 QB sacks, 20 pass breakups and 15 QB hurries. Senior Trent Martin has a team-high 94 tackles, while adding 6.5 tfl, five pass breakups and two interceptions.
► Tulsa was down 31-0 with 10 minutes remaining in the second quarter against Fresno State, but the Hurricane rallied for a 48-41 double overtime victory. It tied for the second biggest come-from-behind victory in Division I football history.
► Although CMU struggled down the stretch, it’s only win was a 27-20 victory at MAC East champ Ohio Nov. 15. The Chippewas were in position to close out the regular season with another win, but Eastern Michigan scored a TD with 21 seconds left to nab a 26-21 home victory.
► This is the 10th Division I bowl game in Central Michigan history. The Chippewas are 3-6 after winning two of their last four postseason outings.
► Quarterback Cooper Rush has completed 254 of 416 pass attempts (61.1%) for 3,299 yards with 23 TDs and 13 interceptions this year. He ranks 20th in the nation in passing yards.
► Central Michigan’s passing offense in No. 26 in the nation (3rd MAC).
► Rush has connected with seven teammates for 23 tuchdown passes in 2016. Corey Willis has nine tD receptions, followed by Tyler Conklin (6), and Mark Chapman (4). Another four receivers have one TD catch each.
► Willis has registered five 100-yard receiving games this season. His 1,024 yards is the seventh best all time at CMU.
► Tight end Tyler Conklin is a big target for the Chippewas offense. He is tied for 11th in the nation in touchdowns by tight ends with six. His first two TD grabs came in Central Michigan’s upset at Oklahoma State earlier this year.
► Junior RB Devon Spalding picked up a team high 737 yards on 131 carries (5.6 ypc) despite missing two games. He broke free for runs of 40 or more yards against four teams this season. He scored three TDs among his 11 carries against Easter Michigan.
► Senior Jahray Hayes has also been an effective running option for CMU. He provided six TDs to go with Spaldings eight.
► Junior cornerback Amari Coleman was a First Team All MAC selection. He led the conference in three categories, including interceptions (4). Two of his picks went for touchdowns. Josh Cox, another junior corner, owns three interceptions. He had nine tackles and a fourth quarter end zone interception against Oklahoma State. Cox grabbed All-MAC Third Team honors.
► Sophomore linebacker Malik Fountain (All-MAC First Team) led CMU with 84 tackles. Junior LB Joe Ostman (All-MAC Second Team) registered a team-high nine sacks, 13.5 tfl, 6 QB hurries and two fumble recoveries