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NCAA Bowl Previews 2015: Popeyes Bahamas Bowl

How about being a Middle Tennessee Blue Raider or a Western Michigan Bronco for this game? Christmas Eve and y



  How about being a Middle Tennessee Blue Raider or a Western Michigan Bronco for this game? Christmas Eve and you get to play a football game in the Bahamas, I certainly wouldn’t complain. Middle Tennessee’s bowl history isn’t too great. They have just 1 bowl victory – the 2010 GoDaddy.com Bowl – in 4 attempts.  They look to make it two in 5 by extending their 4 game win streak. The Blue Raiders success has come on the back of their passing game. They are the 17th most prolific passing team in the FBS, with an average of 310.4 passing yards per game (PYG). Not only do they gain lots of yards, but they find the endzone plenty as well, they average 34.3 points per game (PPG), which is 34th best in the FBS. There defense though, isn’t quite as productive. They rank 53rd in total yards allowed (388 YPG), 93rd in passing defense (247 PYG) 35th in run defense (141.3 RYG) and 53rd in scoring (25.1 PPG). The player to watch in this game for the Blue Raiders is safety Kevin Byard. Byard has been key for this team in his 4 years there. He’s started 48 of his 50 games and has produced in those games, he is tied with Boise State’s Darian Thomson for career interceptions with 19. At 5’11”, 226lbs he isn’t the biggest safety, nor is he the fastest, but it that hasn’t limited him. He has excellent awareness and he uses that to read QB’s eyes’ and set up blockers very well when he has the ball in his hands. Along with Byard, T.T. Barber (LB), Darius Johnson (OG), Ed’Marques Battles (WR) and Jordan Parker (RB) are looking to impress scouts one last time. The Broncos, like the Blue Raiders, are looking to improve their rather sad bowl history; this would be their 1st bowl victory of 7 appearances. Despite some big, key wins, tough games against Michigan State, Ohio State, Northern Illinois and Bowling Green were just a little too much for this team to deal with. Like the Blue Raiders, the Broncos success is largely due to their offense. They rank 22nd nationally in total offense (481 YPG), 26th in passing offense (283.4 PYG), 34th in rushing offense (197.2 RYG) and 26th in scoring (35.3 PPG). Their defense though is far less productive. They allow 411 YPG (80th), 224.8 PYG (68th), 186 RYG (87th) and 28.1 PPG (78th). They are lucky they have a prolific offense and it will seemingly crucial in this game. Their offensive production can be put down to a very strong offensive line, headlined by left tackle Willie Beavers. Beavers has all the physical tools that make him a very attractive developmental prospect to NFL teams. He is 6’5”, 312ls, has good lower body quickness that allows him to stay busy and move around to mirror pass rushers I pass protection. Though he can be had when he overcommits, late  with his hands. He has the tools to make him an intriguing prospect. Ronald Zamort (CB), Jimmy Kristof (OG) and Corey Davis (WR) – if he declares – cannot be ignored as prospects. If you want to watch this game, or any of the other bowl games, the complete bowl schedule can be found here, where you’ll be able to see how and when you can watch every game.  

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Remy Cabache

Lifetime sports fan. I have written with RealSport since the NFL section started and I have also written for my own blog, EbonyBird.com and I have had several articles published in local newspapers covering my local (American) football team.

NCAA Bowl Previews 2015: Popeyes Bahamas Bowl

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