Western Michigan vs. Middle Tennessee Popeyes Bahamas Bowl recap, score and what’s next for the Broncos and Blue Raiders.
Popeyes Bahamas Bowl Recap
Score: Western Michigan 45, Middle Tennessee 31
Prediction:Western Michigan 38, Middle Tennessee 31, Line: Western Michigan -3, o/u: 63.5
And You Care Because … Western Michigan pulled away late in the second half helped by three of Jamauri Bogan’s four touchdown runs, scoring from 46 yards out in the third and with two one-yard runs in the fourth. Middle Tennessee tied the score at 31 early in the fourth on a 29-yard Richie James catch, but the Broncos took control with a long drive for the first of Bogan’s one-yarders and a turnover leading to the second. The scoring slowed down after a crazy first quarter with Zach Terrell finding Corey Davis for an 80-yard WMU touchdown, Bogan running for a 62-yard score, and James tearing off a 46-yard scoring run and catching a 44-yard touchdown pass on the way to a 17-17 quarter. Neither team scored in the second. WMU outgained MTSU 613 yards to 442.
– Western Michigan RB Jamauri Bogan ran 19 times for 215 yards and four scores.
– Middle Tennessee QB Brent Stockstill completed 26-of-39 passes for 327 yards and three scores with a pick, and ran nine times for 22 yards.
– Western Michigan WR Corey Davis caught eight passes for 183 yards and a score, and Daniel Braverman caught five passes for 101 yards and a touchdown.
– Western Michigan QB Zach Terrell completed 18-of-26 passes for 297 yards and two scores with a pick.
– Middle Tennessee WR Richie James led the team with 61 yards and a score on two carries, and eight catches for 126 yards and two touchdowns.
– WMU only converted 2-of-12 third down chances, but both fourth down tries. Middle Tennessee converted 5-of-14 third down chances and missed both fourth down attempts.
Game Rating: B. It’s the Popeyes Bahamas Bowl. You expected something different? The game didn’t disappoint for the second year in a row with a good, competitive battle throughout. This is what a pre-New Year’s Day bowl game should be like.
What’s next for Western Michigan?
The high-powered offense that came so close to doing some really, really big things this year should be dominant with the return of QB Zach Terrell along with all his top weapons. The running back tandem of Jarvion Franklin and Jamauri Bogan will be unstoppable, while the receiving corps could be among the most productive in college football with Daniel Braverman and Corey Davis back. The O line loses LT Willie Beavers, but everyone else returns.
SS Rontavious Atkins and CB Ronald Zamort are gone, but most of the other key parts are back. DT Cleveland Smith and DE Jarrell McKinney are replaceable with three of the top four tacklers returning led by do-it-all LB Caleb Bailey. Not having solid P J Schroeder around anymore is a problem, and so is losing excellent PK Andrew Haldeman.
What’s next for Middle Tennessee?
The best is yet to come for the Blue Raider scoring machine. QB Brent Stockstill and WR Richie James, who helped form one of the nation’s best young pitch-and-catch combos, were redshirt freshmen in 2015. And this program has done a solid job in recent years of developing backs and O-lines that protect well. Of the six blockers with at least 400 snaps, four will be back.
After four productive years in Murfreesboro, LB T.T. Barber and SS Kevin Byard have finally run out of eligibility. They’ll be sorely missed, as will DT Patrick McNeil and LB Cavellis Luckett. Middle Tennessee will ask more of soon-to-be senior DE Chris Hale and CB Jeremy Cutrer, who was an all-league pass defender.