Preview: Central Michigan at Tulsa

When: 2:30 PM ET, Monday, December 19, 2016
Where: Marlins Park, Miami, Florida


1. Central Michigan, which counted a very controversial 30-27 non-conference victory at Oklahoma State among its six wins to become bowl eligible, will face another team from the Sooner state - high-scoring Tulsa - in the Miami Beach Bowl on Dec. 19 at Marlins Park, home of Major League Baseball's Miami Marlins. The Chippewas made national news with their memorable no-time-on-the-clock, hook-and-ladder Hail Mary touchdown to upset Oklahoma State in Stillwater, Okla., on Sept. 10.  After the game, it was determined the MAC officiating crew - which later was suspended - had made a mistake by giving Central Michigan an extra untimed down with no time remaining after Oklahoma State was called for intentional grounding on fourth down.

2. That improbable win over the Cowboys came in very handy for Central Michigan, which lost four of its final five games - including a 26-21 heartbreaker to Eastern Michigan in its regular-season finale on a long touchdown pass with 21 seconds left. Without the Oklahoma State victory in its hip pocket, Central Michigan would be spending mid-December in chilly Mount Pleasant, Mich. instead of sunny Miami, where coach John Bonamego was special teams coordinator for the Dolphins from 2008-10. "It's got to be in the top five in destinations for a bowl game," Bonamego told reporters. "There's a tremendous amount of culture down there. It's a great destination ... a lot of good people, a lot of good friends."

3. Tulsa finished second to Navy in the American Athletic Conference West Division. The Golden Hurricane's three losses came against the Midshipmen (42-40), Houston (38-31) and Ohio State (48-3). Coached by former Houston and Baylor offensive coordinator Philip Montgomery, Tulsa ranks sixth nationally in total offense (522.8 yards), eighth in rushing offense (261.8) and 11th in scoring (41.4 points), and will be going up against a Central Michigan defense that ranked 43rd in total defense (376.2).

TV: 2:30 p.m. ET, ESPN. LINE: Tulsa -11.5

ABOUT CENTRAL MICHIGAN (6-6, 3-5 MAC West): The Chippewas are led by senior quarterback Cooper Rush, who has completed 254-of-416 passes for 3,299 yards and 23 touchdowns. Wideout Corey Willis is his favorite target with 1,028 yards receiving and nine touchdowns while Devon Spalding is the team's top rusher with 737 yards and six scores on 131 carries despite missing two games. Cornerback Amari Coleman, who led the MAC in passes defended (19) and tied for first in the conference with four interceptions, and inside linebacker Malik Fountain (84 tackles, 10 tackles for loss) both were First Team All-MAC selections.

ABOUT TULSA (9-3, 6-2 AAC East): The Golden Hurricane feature two 1,000-yard rushers in senior James Flanders (1,529) and D'Angelo Brewer (1,330), who finished 1-2 in the AAC, a 3,000-yard passer in senior Dane Evans (3,044) and a 1,000-yard receiver in senior Keevan Lucas (1,108). If senior wide receiver Josh Atkinson (927) reaches the 1,000-yard mark in the bowl game, Tulsa would become the first team in FBS history with a 3,000-yard passer, two 1,000-yard rushers and two 1,000-yard receivers. Senior linebacker Trent Martin leads the defense in tackles (94) and interceptions (two) while defensive lineman Jesse Brubaker tops the team in tackles for loss with 12.5 - including 4.5 sacks - to go along with 54 tackles.

PREDICTION: Tulsa 48, Central Michigan 38

Stats and Records

Team Comparison

  W/L Strk PF PA Home Away Grass Turf Conf
Central Michigan 6-6 L1 27.7 28.2 4-2 2-4 0-1 0-0 3-5
Tulsa 9-3 W2 41.4 31.5 6-0 3-3 1-0 0-1 6-2

Last Meeting

Central Michigan Tulsa
Date Away Home Tot Rus Pas Tot Rus Pas
10/17/87 TLSA 18 CMU 41 0 0 0 0 0 0

Player Stats

Previous Matchup
Passing Player COMP% YDS TD INT
Rushing Player CAR YDS AVG TD
Receiving Player REC YDS AVG TD
TDs Player TD
Passing Player COMP% YDS TD INT
CMU C. Rush 61.0 3292 23 13
TLSA D. Evans 58.2 3044 27 12
Rushing Player CAR YDS AVG TD
CMU D. Spalding 131 744 5.7 6
TLSA J. Flanders 241 1529 6.3 17
Receiving Player REC YDS AVG TD
CMU C. Willis 68 1024 15.1 9
TLSA K. Lucas 74 1108 15.0 12
TDs Player TD
CMU C. Willis 9
TLSA J. Flanders 17

Quickchart Matchup

Central Michigan Off vs  Tulsa Def
395.1 yards
432.4 yards
3.7 yards/rush
4.4 yards/rush
7.9 yards/attempt
6.8 yards/attempt
Tulsa Off vs  Central Michigan Def
523.2 yards
376.2 yards
5.1 yards/rush
4.5 yards/rush
7.6 yards/attempt
6.9 yards/attempt

Matchup Stats - Full Matchup

Central Michigan Overall Tulsa
6-6-0 W/L 9-3-0
5-7-0 ATS 8-4-0
6-6-0 O/U 8-4-0
27.7 Pts For 41.4
28.2 Pts Against 31.5
Central Michigan A/H Tulsa
2-4 W/L 6-0
2-4-0 ATS 4-2-0
3-3-0 O/U 4-2-0
25.7 Pts For 46.8
33.0 Pts Against 26.5