GOPHERS OFFENSE VS CMU DEFENSE

Central Michigan leads the MAC in total defense and pass defense. Defensive end Blake Serpa and safety Kavon Frazier were second-team All-MAC selections. The Chippewas have allowed just one 100-yard receiver, one 300-yard passer and three 100-yard rushers this season. Advantage: Gophers

 

SPECIAL TEAMS

Neither team has a dangerous return game. Central Michigan kicker Brian Eavey was a second-team All-MAC selection, but Ryan Santoso has better numbers. Advantage: Gophers

º player to watch

Cooper Rush tossed seven TD passes, including five in the fourth quarter, in Central Michigan’s 49-48 loss to Western Kentucky last year in the Bahamas Bowl. The Chippewas would have won had Rush completed a two-point conversion pass with one second remaining.

 

THE OPPONENT

Central Michigan is in Mount Pleasant, about 125 miles from Detroit. Seventy-four percent of the team hails from Michigan. The Chippewas drew well for this bowl in 2006, 2007 and 2008, when it was the Motor City Bowl, and in 2012, when it was the Little Caesar’s Bowl.

GOPHERS DEFENSE VS.CHIPPEWAS OFFENSE

Central Michigan has the MAC’s worst rushing offense, but Rush ranks eighth nationally with 308.6 passing yards per game and 12th with a 67.2 completion percentage. Five players have at least 500 receiving yards, led by senior Jesse Kroll with 856. Advantage: Central Michigan

 

INTANGIBLES

The Gophers will have fans — they sold 1,400 tickets — and they need to end a seven-game bowl losing streak, but this is essentially a home game for the Chippewas. Advantage: Central Michigan

 

JOE’S PREDICTION

Gophers win 27-24

 Central Michigan is good, but the Gophers played one of the nation’s toughest schedules and had a month to get healthy.