Tulsa Battles Central Michigan Monday In Miami Beach Bowl


Monday, Dec. 17
2:30 p.m. ET
Marlins Park
(34,000/Natural Grass)
Miami, Fla.

Allen Bestwick, Mike Bellotti and Kris Budden

Tulsa Radio
KTCK-FM 96.7 (flagship)


The Miami Beach Bowl will be played for the second time in 2015 … The bowl is owned and operated by the American Athletic Conference and will normally pair a team from The American against opponents from Conference USA, the Sun Belt and the Mid-American Conference … Opponents from other conferences, as well as independent institutions, may participate as well … The game is played at Marlins Park, the home of Major League Baseball’s
Miami Marlins, which has a retractable roof, climate-controlled temperatures and a natural grass playing surface … Marlins Park is built on the site of the former Orange Bowl, which was the site of five Super Bowls and countless major college football games … The first two editions of the Miami Beach Bowl have produced a combined 183 points … American Athletic Conference teams are 1-1 in the Miami Beach Bowl after Memphis’ double-overtime win against BYU in the inaugural game and USF’s loss to Western Kentucky last year … This year’s game will be the third meeting between Tulsa and Central Michigan … The schools played a two-game series in 1986 and 1987 as each team won on its home field … Central Michigan has a listed enrollment of 26,968 students. Tulsa has the smallest enrollment of any FBS program with 3,473 students.

12-22-14    Memphis 55, Brigham Young 48 (2ot)
12-21-15    Western Kentucky 45, USF 35

9-3, 6-2 American

Head Coach
Philip Montgomery (Tarleton State ’95)
15-10, second season

Tulsa finished the regular season with five wins in its last six games to make its second straight bowl appearance … The Golden Hurricane is making its 21st bowl appearance overall and has a 9-11 record in its previous postseason matchups … Tulsa ended a two-year absence from bowl appearances last year in the regular-season finale, but clinched a bowl bid this year on Oct. 29 … The Golden Hurricane is looking for its 10th season with double-digit wins in program history … Tulsa teams won 10 games in 1916, 1920, 1942, 1982, 191, 2007 and 2010, while the Golden Hurricane won a school-record 11 games in 2008 and 2011 … Tulsa went 2-10 in 2014, improved to 6-7 last year in Philip Montgomery’s first season, before finishing the regular season at 9-3 in 2016 … Tulsa could make college football history in the Miami Beach Bowl as WR Josh Atkinson needs 73 yards to reach the 1,000-yard mark this season … If Atkinson gets to 1,000 yards, Tulsa would become the first team in FBS history to have a 3,000-yard passer, two 1,000-yard rushers and two 1,000-yard receivers … Tulsa’s two conference losses were by a combined nine points … Tulsa is ranked sixth nationally in total offense (522.5 ypg) and 11th in scoring offense (41.4 ppg) … Tulsa has the top two running backs in The American as RB James Flanders rushed for 1,529 yards and 17 touchdowns, while RB D’Angelo Brewer has 1,330 rushing yards and seven TDs … Flanders earned all-conference first team honors, while Brewer was named to the second team … QB Dane Evans has completed 231 of 397 passes for 3,044 yards and 27 touchdowns with 12 interceptions and has thrown for a school-record 11,376 yards in his career, good for fourth among active NCAA FCS players … Four of the Golden Hurricane’s starting offensive linemen earned all-conference honors …  OG Blake Belcher and C Chandler Miller were named to The American’s first team, while OG Tyler Bowling and OT Evan Plagg were named to the second team … The defense is led by LB Trent Martin, who has 94 tackles with two interceptions and seven passes defended … DE Jesse Brubaker and DE Petera Wilson have 4.5 sacks each … K Redford Jones has made 19 of 24 field goal attempts on his way to second-team all-conference honors … P Dalton Parks averages 41.8 yards per punt.

6-6, 3-5 MAC

Head Coach
John Bonamego (Central Michigan ’87)
13-12, second season

Central Michigan will make its 12th bowl appearance as the Chippewas finished the regular season at 6-6 under second-year head coach John Bonamego … Central Michigan started the season with three straight wins, including a 30-27 victory against then-No. 22 Oklahoma State that featured what might have been the most memorable play in college football this season — a hook-and-ladder touchdown on an untimed down in the fourth quarter … Bonamego was the special teams coordinator for the Miami Dolphins from 2008-10 and was an assistant with the Jacksonville Jaguars in 1999 … Central Michigan’s head coaching roster includes current Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly (2004-06) and current Tennessee coach Butch Jones (2007-09) … Central Michigan finished fifth in the MAC East Division this year after tying for hte division title in 2015 … The Chippewas have been bowl eligible in each of the last five years and are making their third straight bowl appearance … Central Michigan fell to Minnesota 21-14 in the Quick Lane Bowl last year … The last bowl win for the Chippewas was a 24-21 victory against Western Kentucky in the Little Caesars Bowl in 2012 … Central Michigan has 10 players on NFL rosters, most notably four-time Pro Bowl WR Antonio Brown of the Pittsburgh Steelers and five-time Pro Bowl OT Joe Staley of the San Francisco 49ers … The top player on offense is QB Cooper Rush, who leads all NCAA FBS players in career passing yards (12,653) and was a finalist for the Campbell Trophy as college football’s top scholar-athlete … Rush has completed 254 of 416 passes (61.1 percent) for 23 touchdowns and 13 interceptions in 2016 … RB Devon Spalding has rushed for 737 yards and six touchdowns, while RB Jahray Hayes has a team-high eight rushing touchdowns … WR Corey Willis has 69 receptions for 1,028 yards and nine touchdowns, leading the team in all three categories … LB Malik Fountain and CB Amari Coleman were both named to the All-MAC First Team … Fountain led the team with 84 tackles and 10.0 tackles for loss, while Coleman led the MAC with 15 pass breakups … P Jack Sheldon is a native of Australia who is in his first year of American football … Sheldon averages 40.3 yards per punt … K Brian Eavey has made 7 of 16 field goal attempts.