Central Michigan vs Wyoming Preview and Prediction: Potato Bowl
Central Michigan vs Wyoming Preview
Props to Wyoming quarterback Josh Allen. With all these high NFL draft prospects skipping their bowl game to focus on the upcoming draft, Allen will play today.
If anyone has followed MFST’s draft coverage, you know Allen is our No.1 QB in the 2018 NFL Draft and our 5th overall player on our Big Board.
Allen has dealt with a shoulder injury for much of the season, specifically in the second half but with almost a month between the Cowboys’ finale against San Jose State and the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl, however, Allen said he is working to play.
“If I’m 100 percent I’m playing in this game. I owe that to this university, to this team,” he said in his bowl-game press conference on Dec. 4.
“The shoulder’s getting better day by day; getting back into the swing of things with some (7-on-7) and team sessions the last couple of days,” Allen said. “It’s not where I want it to be, where I need it to be, but the ball’s coming out nicely.”
The Cowboys closed the regular season with consecutive losses to Fresno State and San Jose State by nine combined points. Wyoming also carries a losing skid in bowl games, last winning one in 2009.
Central Michigan (8-4) is in its fourth bowl game in as many seasons, and sixth in the last seven seasons. The Chippewas have dropped three straight in the postseason, including a 55-16 rout in last December’s Miami Beach Bowl to Tulsa.
“This is a bowl game that traditionally features close, exciting games, and we give our seniors an opportunity to play in a unique stadium against one of the best teams in the Mountain West,” Chippewas head coach John Bonamego said in his bowl-game announcement press conference on Dec. 3.
“Anytime you let up that many points you’re going to come off (angry),” defensive tackle Chris Kantzavelos told CMUChippewas.com. “That game’s behind us now and we’re just excited to go get the next one in Boise because I know we’ll perform better.”
These teams seem to be relatively even in all aspects, but Allen could be the difference maker. If he is, he will need to exploit a very good Chippewas defense.
“It all starts with the (defensive) line,” Allen said in his Dec. 11 press conference. “When you’ve got a good defensive front, you can play coverage. You understand you’ve got seven guys back trying to catch the ball.”
Allen referred to the Central Michigan as “ball hawks.” Two members of that unit — defensive backs Josh Cox and Sean Bunting — are two of college football’s interceptions leaders with six and five, respectively.
Wyoming counters Central Michigan’s passing attack, led by quarterback Shane Morris and his 2,908 yards, with Rico Gafford and Andrew Wingard. Both picked off four passes in the regular season.
Allen said establishing the run will be critical, but doing so has proven difficult for the Cowboys in 2017. Wyoming ranks No. 119 in the Football Bowl Subdivision with 107.8 rushing yards per game. Central Michigan was not prolific on the ground, but averaged 40 yards more per game.
I am a huge believer in Josh Allen despite his injury-riddled season and I believe he will look to make this game his swan song as he enters the NFL Draft afterwards.
LINE: Wyoming -3
Wyoming 31 Central Michigan 27