Old Dominion vs. Eastern Michigan Bahamas Bowl prediction and game preview. Projecting who wins between the Monarchs and Eagles in Nassau, Bahamas.
Old Dominion vs. Eastern Michigan Bahamas Bowl Preview
When: Friday, Dec. 23 – 1:00 p.m. ET
Where: Thomas A. Robinson National Stadium, Nassau, Bahamas
TV Broadcast: ESPN
The Monarchs (9-3, 7-1 Conference USA) finished their breakthrough season on a five-game win streak, tying Western Kentucky atop the Conference USA’s East division. However, Western Kentucky defeated ODU and was able to get to the conference title game.
Meanwhile, the Eagles (7-5, 4-4 MAC) will be competing in their first bowl game since the 1987 season. The last time Eastern Michigan played in a bowl game, the team was known as the Huron’s, and they defeated San Jose State, 30-27, in the California Bowl. It is the lone bowl victory in program history.
This is the third season in a row that these teams are meeting. In 2014, the Eagles fell 17-3 on the road, and in 2015 the team fell in the home opener, 38-34.
What To Know About Old Dominion
Quarterback David Washington paces head coach Bobby Wilder’s offense, as he has thrown for 2,649 yards with 28 touchdown passes against just four interceptions. He is a major reason why ODU won nine games and posted its best record since moving to FBS and its first bowl bid. Following last week’s win over FIU, Wilder called Washington his team’s MVP. But running back Ray Lawry should not be overlooked, as he gained 1,143 yards and 11 touchdowns on the ground, while Zach Pascal caught 63 passes for eight touchdowns and 893 yards. Linebacker T.J. Ricks, who had 93 tackles, two forced fumbles and two recovered fumbles, paces the defense.
What to Know About Eastern Michigan
The Eagles ended the season on a high note, with a come-from-behind 26-21 victory over Central Michigan. Third-year head coach Chris Creighton is overseeing a program that hadn’t won more than two games since 2011 and went 1-11 last year, so it has been a remarkable turnaround. EMU could even be 8-4 if it had not blown a 21-0 halftime lead to Northern Illinois, as the Eagles eventually dropped a 31-24 overtime decision in a game that saw Ian Eriksen ran for 171 yards and two touchdowns. Brogan Roback threw two interceptions in that loss, and the defense was leaky. A crisp performance will be needed against a real solid ODU squad.
Offense: Old Dominion. Washington and Lawry pace a solid Monarchs offensive attack.
Defense: Old Dominion. The Eagles are No. 87 in total defense, giving up 435.9 yards per game.
Special Teams: Even. Both teams have fairly reliable kickers, which could be big if the game is close down the stretch.
Coaching: Even. Both Wilder and Creighton have enjoyed really nice seasons with their respective programs.
Intangibles: Old Dominion. There will be several weeks in between the end of the regular season and this contest, but the Monarchs are on a five-game win streak.
Matchup To Watch
Roback vs. Old Dominion secondary
The EMU signal-caller is coming off of one of his best performances of the season against Central Michigan. He was 26-of-37 passing for 355 yards with two touchdowns and an interception. The Monarchs are a respectable No. 57 in passing yards per game at 220.3, but Roback has had accuracy and consistency issues. He must play as well as he did against the Chippewas.
Spread: No Spread (as of post)
Over/Under: No Line (as of post)
Old Dominion vs. Eastern Michigan Prediction
Outside of a blowout loss to Western Kentucky, the Monarchs have not lost since September. It has been quite the coaching job by Wilder, and it will be capped off with a postseason win.
Old Dominion vs. Eastern Michigan Final Score Prediction: Old Dominion 33, Eastern Michigan 20
Campus Insiders Staff Picks
Brian Stultz: Old Dominion
Dave Miller: Old Dominion
Jeff Bartl: Old Dominion
Rich Cirminiello: Old Dominion
Robert Judin: Old Dominion
Pete Fiutak: Eastern Michigan