Miami Sports Day

COLLEGE BOWL NEWS: Memphis to Take on Western Kentucky

BOCA RATON, Fla. – This year’s Boca Raton Bowl will feature two high-powered offenses as the University of Memphis from the American Athletic Conference will face Western Kentucky University from Conference USA, as announced by the conferences and the bowl today.

The 2016 Boca Raton Bowl will be held on Tuesday, Dec. 20, 7 p.m. ET, at FAU Stadium. The game will be aired on ESPN.

“We’re thrilled to welcome Memphis and Western Kentucky to the third Boca Raton Bowl,” said Boca Raton Bowl Executive Director Doug Mosley. “This matchup will make for a terrific game. We have a great slate of activities planned for these teams and can’t wait for them to arrive!”

Memphis finished the season 8-4 overall and 5-3 in the AAC under Tigers first-year head coach Mike Norvell. Memphis brings a strong offense that ranks second in pass efficiency with quarterback Riley Ferguson’s 152.9 passer rating.

The Tigers will bring a high-ranked special teams force to battle against Western Kentucky. Memphis kick returner Tony Pollard was named the conference’s special teams player of the year while landing in first in the AAC with a kick return average of 28.4 yards.

The Tigers rank first in kickoff returns (943 for 1,159 yards), punting (43.8 yard avg.), kickoff coverage (42.0 net avg.) and tied for first in PAT kicking (54-54, 1.000).

Western Kentucky, the back-to-back Conference USA champion, is making its fourth bowl game appearance. In head coach Jeff Brohm’s third year, he led the Hilltoppers to their second-consecutive 10-win season with the 2016 season sitting at 10-3 overall and 7-1 in the conference.

The Hilltoppers are ranked in the top five of 13 conference statistical categories. They bring a well-rounded defense to counter the Tigers’ top-ranked offense with their No.1 ranked rushing defense (99.1) and 29 sacks on the season that rank second.

Western Kentucky ranks first in scoring offense (586) and scoring defense (313). The Hilltoppers special teams bring a top-ranked return team that ranks first in kickoff returns (26.8) and punt returns (17.9).

Two nationally ranked offenses will collide in the 2016 Boca Raton Bowl. Western Kentucky ranks in the top 10 nationally in points per game, yards per game and passing yards per game. Memphis also ranks within the top 35 in all three categories, including ranked 17th in points per game (39.5).

Both teams’ rosters are composed of high-talent athletes, many of whom received end-of-season awards and honors. For Memphis, six athletes earned all-conference honors: first-team honors went to tight end Daniel Montiel, linebacker Genard Avery, kicker Jake Elliott, punter Spencer Smith and Pollard, while wide receiver Anthony Miller received second-team honors.

For Western Kentucky, two players earned offensive player of the week throughout the season quarterback Mike White and wide receiver Taywan Taylor, while kick returner/punt returner Nacarius Fant earned special teams player of the week twice and kicker Skyler Simcox earned the honor once.

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