Western Michigan attempts to nail down a spot in the Cotton Bowl when it takes on Ohio in the Mid-American Conference championship game at Ford Field in Detroit on Friday night. The No. 14 Broncos, who join No. 1 Alabama as the only unbeaten teams in the nation and are winners of 14 straight overall, play in the championship game for the first time since losing in 1999 and 2000.
“For us to go there and to become 1-0 in the Ohio season is our only focus,” Western Michigan coach P.J. Fleck told reporters. “There’s no other focus. We’re not here to state a case, we’re just going to play football. We’re going to let our play talk for itself and hopefully come out with a victory.” The Broncos boast one of the most efficient quarterbacks in the nation in senior Zach Terrell and senior receiver Corey Davis, who gained more yards than anyone in FBS history through the air. Ohio took the MAC East for the first time since 2011 after winning four of its final five games and looks to win its first championship game. “Our guys have accepted challenges all year long, and they’ll accept this one,” Bobcats coach Frank Solich told reporters. “They’ll play hard, and if we play well we believe it’ll be a very good football game.”
TV: 7 p.m. ET, ESPN2.
LINE HISTORY: Western Michigan opened as big 18-point favorites over Toledo, that number rose to 19 mid-week and faded back to 18.5 as of Friday morning. The total opened 58.5 and has been bet up to 59. View the complete line history here.
Western Michigan – S Justin Ferguson (out for season, ankle)
Ohio – S Greg Wyndham (questionable, ankle), S Mayne Williams (questionable, head), WR Andrew Meyer (questionable, undisclosed), DL Tony Porter (questionable, foot), OL Jared McCray (questionable, undisclosed)
WEATHER REPORT: Dome
WHAT BOOKS SAY: ‘We opened Western Michigan as a 18 point favourite and it was quickly bet up to -19 a few hours later. Western Michigan still sits at -19 with over 80% of the action. As for the total we opened at 57 and with over 90% of the action coming in on the OVER we have moved all the way up to a 60 point total.’ – Michael Stewart of CarbonSports.ag
ABOUT WESTERN MICHIGAN (12-0 SU, 9-3 ATS, 7-5 O/U): Terrell completes 71.7 percent of his passes for 3,086 yards and 30 touchdown strikes while being intercepted once and running for another six scores. Davis broke the all-time receiving yards record last week in the 55-35 victory over Toledo and boasts 83 catches this season for 1,283 yards and 17 touchdowns. Junior Jarvion Franklin is a consistent force on the ground with 1,266 yards rushing to go along with 12 touchdowns and sophomore Jamauri Bogan ran for 198 last week after missing two games with an ankle injury.
ABOUT OHIO (8-4 SU, 6-6 ATS, 1-10-1 O/U): The Bobcats are fifth in the nation rushing defense, allowing 105.1 yards per game, led by senior linebacker Blair Brown (105 tackles) and junior linebacker Quentin Poling (95). Ohio also topped the MAC in sacks with 41 as senior defensive lineman Tarell Basham posted 11 of them and that group must put pressure on Terrell. The Bobcats were in the middle of the pack in total offense, but senior receiver Sebastian Smith has 49 catches for 820 yards and senior quarterback Greg Windham (leg) could return after missing the last three games.
* Broncos are 6-1 ATS vs. a team with a winning record.
* Bobcats are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 neutral site games.
* Over is 4-0 in Broncos last 4 games following a ATS win.
* Under is 6-0 in Bobcats last 6 games following a ATS loss.
* Over is 4-0 in the last 4 meetings.
COVERS CONSENSUS: 54 percent of Covers users are picking the double-digit dog and the over Over is getting 62 percent. View full Covers Consensus here.