Miami Beach Bowl
Tulsa (9-3, 6-2 American Athletic) vs. Central Michigan (6-6, 3-5 MAC)
Marlins Park, Miami, 36,742
1:30 PM CT/2:30 PM ET
Allen Bestwick, Mike Bellotti, Kris Budden
Refs: Mountain West, Marvel July
Weather: 83 partly sunny, wind 12-25 MPH
The Golden Hurricane offense features two running backs who rushed for over 1,000 yards this season. James Flanders (5'10", 203, senior) scampered for 1,529 yards and 17 TDs. Junior D'Angelo Brewer (5'9", 185) added 1,330 yards and 7 TDs. Quarterback Dane Evans completed 231-of-397 passes, 58%, for 3,044 yards, 27 TDs against 12 ints. Evans' key targets are Keevan Lucas, a 5'10, 195 senior, who caught 74 passes for 1,108 yards and 12 TDs, and Josh Atkinson, who caught 66 passes for 927 yards and 7 TDs. Linebacker Trent Martin (6'2", 232) leads the team in tackles with 94. He also leads the team in interceptions with 2. The Golden Hurricane only have 7 ints on the season. Defensive tackle Jesse Brubaker leads the team in tackles for loss with 12.5 for -53 yards.
The Chippewas are led in the running game by tailback Devon Spalding, who has rushed for 737 yards and 6 TDs. Jahray Hayes has added 468 yards and 8 TDs. Quarterback Cooper Rush has completed 254-of-416 passes, 61%, for 3,299 yards, 23 TDs against 13 ints. Corey Willis is Rush's main target. Willis has caught 69 passes for 1,028 yards and 9 TDs. Linebacker Malik Fountain (6'2", 230) leads the team in tackles with 84 and has 10 tackles for loss. Defensive end Joe Ostman (6'3", 255) leads the team in tackles for loss with 13.5 for -75 yards. Ostman also leads the team in sacks with 9 for -65 yards. Cornerback Amari Coleman leads the team in interceptions with 4. The Chippewas intercepted 13 passes this season, so that's something to look for as Tulsa's Evans threw 12 ints.
The Chippewas pulled off a pretty stunning upset over Oklahoma State in September at Stillwater, 30-27, in a controversial finish in which Oklahoma State, trying to run out the clock at the end of the game as they had a 27-24 lead, threw the ball deep and out of bounds on fourth down and were called for an intentional grounding penalty. The Chippewas got the ball back on the last play of the game and scored on a miraculous 50 yard TD pass play. It was later discovered that the officials misinterpreted the call and the game should have been over and there shouldn't have been another play even though Ok State committed an intentional grounding penalty. Apparently the rule was the pass was not intentional grounding and the game should have been over. Even though that seemed to be the rule, I kind of agreed with the refs at the time. It was pretty confusing, but the Chippewas came away with a massive upset victory. The Golden Hurricane have a pretty explosive offense, but after watching the New Mexico bowl and seeing the explosive New Mexico offense being held to 23 points in very windy conditions, I see a lower scoring game here, too. I like the Golden Hurricane to prevail, but I'm looking for a close, highly competitive contest.
Tulsa 24, Central Michigan 21