Western Michigan vs. Ohio prediction and MAC Championship Game preview. The Broncos face the Bobcats on Friday night at Ford Field in Detroit.
Western Michigan vs. Ohio – MAC Championship Game Preview
When: Friday, Dec. 2 – 7 p.m. ET
Where: Ford Field, Detroit.
TV Broadcast: ESPN2
Western Michigan’s path to the Cotton Bowl runs through nearby Detroit. The Broncos are 12-0 and the nation’s only unbeaten outside of the Alabama Crimson Tide, giving them the inside track at a major bowl as the Group of Five automatic representitive. From the looks of things, all Western Michigan needs to do is beat Ohio in the MAC championship game to get that bid and have the CFP committee rank it ahead of Navy.
The Bobcats aren’t going to lay down, though. They won the East division with a 6-2 conference mark and the head-to-head tiebreaker over Miami (OH) while going 8-4 overall. Coach Frank Solich has them back in the MAC title game for the first time since 2011, when they lost to Northern Illinois.
Western Michigan is making its first appearance since playing in back-to-back title games in 1999 and 2000.
What To Know About Western Michigan
This offense is dangerous. Zach Terrell has thrown 30 touchdown passes and only one interception and tossed three more TDs in Friday’s 55-35 win over Toledo that clinched the West division. His 71.7 completion percentage is the best in the nation, and he just might be the most underrated quarterback in the country.
Corey Davis is Terrell’s favorite target, and with good reason. Davis set the NCAA’s all-time career receiving yards record against Toledo and finished with eight catches for 81 yards and a touchdown. Ohio knows how dangerous he can be, too. Davis torched the Bobcats for 212 yards and two touchdowns in 2014.
What To Know About Ohio
The Bobcats would love to spoil Western Michigan’s Cotton Bowl bid, but they’re likely going to be overmatched. They are coming off an ugly 9-3 win over Akron, during which they gained only 299 total yards and committed eight penalties. The lost to Central Michigan, 27-20, the previous week while committing four turnovers.
Ohio relies mostly on its defense, which certainly will be tested. It is allowing the fewest yards per play in the MAC at 5.16 and has given up the fewest rushing yards in the conference. Freshman defensive back Javon Hagan is a budding start with three interceptions and is the co-leader in the MAC with five forced fumbles.
Offense: Western Michigan – Backs Jarvion Franklin and Jamauri Bogan are nice complements to Terrell and Davis.
Defense: Even – Western Michigan allows fewer than two yards per game when compared to Ohio, and has Darius Phillips in the secondary and Keion Adams on the line. Phillips is tied for the MAC lead in interceptions with four, and Adams’ 17.5 tackles for loss lead the conference.
Special Teams: Western Michigan – Phillips also is an extremely dangerous return man.
Coaching: Even – Solich has the edge in experience, while Fleck is one of the biggest rising stars in college coaching.
Intangibles: Western Michigan – The talent is much better on both sides of the ball.
Matchup To Watch
Davis vs. Hagan
They might not be matched up all game, but Hagan obviously has a knack for finding the ball. If he can contain Davis and force Terrell to look at other options, the Bobcats could hang around longer than some expect.
Spread: Western Michigan -19
Over/Under: No line as of post time
Western Michigan vs. Ohio Prediction
The Broncos are just going to be too much. Ohio will frustrate them early, but Terrell will hook up with Davis for a long touchdown to break the ice as Western Michigan rolls.
Western Michigan vs. Ohio Final Score Prediction: Western Michigan 45, Ohio 20