The state of Michigan will be represented in its own bowl game. The Little Caesars Pizza Bowl, taking place at Ford Field in Detroit, will be almost like a home game for one of these teams, as Western Michigan of the Mid-American Conference takes on Purdue of the Big Ten on Dec. 27.
This will mark the 3rd all-time meeting between the schools, with the last meeting in 2002. Purdue won both matchups at home 28-13 in 1993 and 28-24 in 2002.
Checking out the latest Caesars Bowl odds, the Boilermakers are favored by 2.5 points, while the total has been set at 60 points.
Western Michigan won three of their last four contests to finish third in the MAC West Division (5-3). The team is coming off a 63-19 victory over Akron. Three of the school’s five losses have been decided by a total of 10 points. The team is 5-2 in its home state, posting a 5-0 home record and dropping games at Michigan and Eastern Michigan.
Western Michigan is one of the more potent offensive teams in the country, rating 18th in scoring offense (36 points per matchup) while compiling 456 yards per matchup (329 through the air, 127 via the run). Alex Carder leads the offense by completing 67 % of his passes for 3,434 yards and 28 touchdowns with 10 picks. The offensive line has allowed 22 sacks.
Jordan White is the top receiving target, ranking as one of the best in the country with 127 receptions (more than twice anyone else on the team) for 1,646 yards and 16 touchdowns, while Tevin Drake paces the ground game with 570 yards and four touchdowns with 5.6 yards per tote.
On defense, WMU ranks 72nd in defense (28 ppg), allowing 434 yards per matchup (218 through the air, 216 on the ground), recording 26 sacks and forcing 27 turnovers with one returned for a touchdown (Doug Wiggins, interception).
Johnnie Simon leads the unit with 103 tackles (19 more than anyone else), adding 2.5 sacks and two interceptions, while Drew Nowak has 8.5 sacks, 83 stops, two forced fumbles, two blocked kicks and a fumble recovery.
Purdue did not win more than one game in a row this year, but finished the regular season with a 33-25 win at intrastate rival Indiana to end up third in the Big Ten Leaders Division. The Boilermakers are 1-4 away from home, dropping the first four dates outside of West Lafayette.
Purdue ranks 65th in the nation in points allowed (26 ppg), surrendering 389 yards per game (203 via the pass, 186 on the ground) while recording 21 sacks and forcing 14 turnovers two of which were returned for touchdowns (Brandon Taylor, fumble recovery; Ricardo Allen, interception).
Dwayne Beckford paces the unit with 91 tackles, adding three sacks, a pick, a forced fumble and a recovery, while Joe Holland adds 85 tackles, 1.5 sacks and a pick. Kawann Short has 6.5 sacks, 53 stops, two forced fumbles and a recovery, while Allen has three picks along with 72 tackles, a forced fumble and a blocked kick.
On offense, Purdue ranks 69th in the country in points scored (26 ppg), compiling 372 yards per game (197 through the air, 175 via the run). Caleb TerBush has connected on 62 percent of his throws for 1,804 yards and 12 touchdowns and six interceptions. The offensive line has allowed 27 sacks.
Justin Siller and A Edison are the top receiving targets with 88 combined grabs for 994 yards and four scores, while Ralph Bolden leads the running game with 674 yards with six TDs on 4.6 yards per tote.
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