Miami Sports Day

COLLEGE BOWL NEWS: Golden Hurricane, Chippewas to Meet

MIAMI – The University of Tulsa and Central Michigan University will close their 2016 seasons in the third Miami Beach Bowl. The game kicks off on Monday, Dec. 19 at 2:30 p.m. ET, at Marlins Park and will be televised live on ESPN.

Tulsa enters the Miami Beach Bowl as one of the hottest teams in the nation. The Golden Hurricane went 9-3 in the regular season, placed second in the tough American Athletic Conference West Division and has five wins in its last six games.

Head coach Philip Montgomery, who has orchestrated a remarkable turnaround in just two years at Tulsa, brings the American Athletic Conference’s leading offense (522.5 yards per game) into the postseason, as the Golden Hurricane is on the precipice of a first in college football.

Tulsa quarterback Dane Evans has thrown for 3,044 yards and 27 touchdowns, while the Golden Hurricane has the top two rushers in The American as James Flanders (1,529 yards) and D’Angelo Brewer (1,330 yards) both earned all-conference accolades.

Wide receiver Keevan Lucas has 1,108 receiving yards, and Josh Atkinson has 927. If Atkinson reaches the 1,000-yard plateau, Tulsa would become the first team in FBS football history with a 3,000-yard passer, two 1,000-yard rushers and two 1,000-yard receivers.

Central Michigan enters the Miami Beach Bowl at 6-6 in a season highlighted by a thrilling win against an Oklahoma State squad that finished No. 12 in the final College Football Playoff rankings. The Chippewas are making their third consecutive postseason appearance and have been bowl-eligible in each of the last five seasons.

Central Michigan is led by quarterback Cooper Rush, one of 12 finalists for the Campbell Trophy as college football’s top scholar-athlete. Rush has thrown for 3,299 yards and 23 touchdowns against 13 interceptions this season and ranks second on CMU’s career chart in touchdown passes, passing yards, total offense, completions and attempts.

Tulsa and Central Michigan have met twice previously as the schools played a two-game series in 1986 and 1987 as each team won on its home field.

In last year’s Miami Beach Bowl, Western Kentucky and USF combined for 80 points as the No. 25-ranked Hilltoppers prevailed, 45-35, behind 461 yards and three touchdowns by quarterback (and Bowl MVP) Brandon Doughty. Memphis won the inaugural Miami Beach Bowl in 2014 as quarterback Paxton Lynch threw four TD passes in the Tigers’ 55-48 win against BYU in double-overtime.

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