Western Michigan Broncos vs Western Kentucky Hilltoppers Live Stream, December 30, 2019
Game Info Servpro First Responder Bowl:
- Time and Date: Monday, December 30 at 12:30 p.m. ET
- System: ESPN
- Area: Gerald J. Passage Stadium — Dallas, TX
- Spread: WKU (- 3)
- ESPN FPI: Western Michigan has 55.7% opportunity to win
- Record-breaking arrangement: Western Michigan drives, 11-3-1
- Last matchup: Western Michigan 38, WKU 0 — November 1, 1947
Western Michigan is bowling in the Dallas metroplex again. With an elegant senior class flying in from Kalamazoo, the Broncos are set for win their second-historically speaking bowl game and their first since 2015.
The Broncos (7-5) face a redid Western Kentucky program. Under first year lead trainer Tyson Helton, the Hilltoppers improved by five successes and secured their first winning record since Jeff Brohm’s last season in charge in 2016.
The SERVPRO First Responder Bowl has a lot of previous names — the Zaxby’s Heart of Dallas Bowl, the Heart of Dallas Bowl, and the TicketCity Bowl — yet this will be the main challenge under the new name because of a strange situation in 2018.
The earlier year’s First Responder Bowl doesn’t have a spot in the record books. The game was the first-historically speaking bowl game dropped after opening shot and was governed “no challenge” because of extreme lightning. Boston College drove Boise State 7-0 with 5:08 staying in the principal quarter, yet long periods of climate delays incredibly kept the matchup from consistently continuing. It’s a recovery year for the bowl game, which cheerfully has two projects encountering solid ricochet back seasons.
Just because, the bowl will come to pass at Gerald J. Passage Stadium, contradicted to the normally involved arena known as the Cotton Bowl. This exchange of arenas is because of groundwork for the NHL Winter Classic in Dallas as the Dallas Stars and Nashville Predators fight outside at the Cotton Bowl on New Year’s Day.
Western Michigan Broncos
Western Michigan’s senior class is certainly a critical one in program history. This is the last represent numerous players on the Broncos list who took an interest in the 2016 MAC Championship, qualified for the Cotton Bowl, and posted a program-best 13-1 record. Since bunch gets a chance to complete some celebrated Bronco professions in successful design.
LeVante Bellamy is on his goodbye visit. The star of the offense, Bellamy is tied for the lead in school football hurrying touchdowns with 23 this season. He positions eleventh broadly with 1,412 hurrying yards and a chance to enhance his remaining in Dallas. Bellamy is a long-extend running back, in the sense he can strike from anyplace. With nine of his 23 touchdowns of more prominent than 35 yards, Bellamy enters the First Responder Bowl as the game’s most electric player. He is 257 yards from breaking the single-season Western Michigan surging record and 12 hurrying yards from outperforming Brandon West (2006-09) for third untouched in program history.
Bellamy has been nursing knee damage as of late, however he’s played beat up a few times this year. On the off chance that he’s not at full quality, Western Michigan may choose to run the offense through Davon Tucker (386 hurrying yards) and Sean Tyler (327 surging yards.
The confrontation in Dallas additionally denotes the finish of Jon Wassink’s three-year ride as the beginning quarterback. Subsequent to enduring season-finishing wounds in October 2017 and October 2018, Wassink will lead Western Michigan in his first bowl game Monday. The senior is surrounding a 3,000-yard passing season, sitting only 96 yards from the benchmark. Wassink likewise plans to build his yield of 19 passing touchdowns this season and keep on filling in as a factor in the running match-up. The quarterback has taken an interest in 29 games at Western Michigan, however 29.9% of his vocation hurrying yards have been signed in his last three games.
Another key senior in his last game is tight end Giovanni Ricci. The John Mackey Award semifinalist is ninth in the nation in the two gatherings and accepting yards by a tight end. He’s dependable in short yardage circumstances and furthermore the Broncos’ ideal red zone danger. With eight accepting touchdowns, Ricci positions first in the group in the class and third generally speaking among FBS tight finishes.
Western Michigan solid base of ability position players likewise stretches out to wide beneficiary. The Broncos’ Skyy Moore rose as one of the stars of midweek #MACtion in 2019, accomplishing 287 accepting yards in his last two ordinary season games. Keith Mixon Jr., a Mississippi State move, drives the group with 48 gatherings and gives a component of snappiness on screen passes and in the arrival game.
Protectively, Western Michigan falters in ongoing interaction week-to-week. The Broncos for the most part improved all through the season after early season failures against Michigan State and Syracuse (103 consolidated focuses permitted), however held the offenses of Georgia State, Miami (OH), and Northern Illinois to under 20 focuses.
The Broncos highlight the MAC Defensive Player of the Year in Treshaun Hayward. In a breakout junior season, Hayward produced 132 handles (fifth in FBS), 11 handles for misfortune, and 4.5 sacks as the core of the protection. Joining Hayward in the corps is senior outside linebacker Drake Spears, hoping to make his last stand. Lances has created 88 handles and two captures this season and stars as one of Western Michigan’s best inclusion players from the linebacker position.
In the auxiliary, Justin Tranquill prominently enters his last game. Through three ACL tears and damage perplexed school vocation, the solid security has driven forward through everything. Tranquill sits simply behind Hayward and Spears on Western Michigan’s handling diagram with 76 wrap-ups. Also, the long-term wellbeing — a 2016 Cotton Bowl starter — holds 2.5 handles for misfortune, a couple of block attempts, and a constrained bobble in his possession this season.
WKU astounded the C-USA this year by about battling for a gathering title. After a concerning misfortune to Central Arkansas of the FCS on Week 1, the Hilltoppers immediately corrected the ship and won eight of their last 11 games, including a 6-2 remaining against association rivals.
With Arkansas move Ty Story at quarterback, WKU fared 7-2 and Story profited significantly from the adjustment in air. He played well under Coach Helton, a previous quarterback turned quarterback master mentor, finishing 70.1% of his goes for 2,209 yards this season. Story conveyed 12 touchdowns and five capture attempts and even got the opportunity to illuminate his previous program all the while. He raged into Fayetteville and guided the offense to a 45-19 shellacking of Arkansas in a misstep free day from the pocket.
Like Western Michigan, WKU puts together its offense with respect to the capacities of a star running back Gaej Walker. In his first dynamic university season, Walker as of now claims 1,115 hurrying yards and eight touchdowns to oblige 20 gatherings. The lesser outperformed the 100-yard hurrying imprint in half of his ordinary season games this season and completed with a 119-yard upheaval in his latest execution against Middle Tennessee.
WKU’s most frequented wide recipient is long-lasting champion Lucky Jackson. A four-year significant supporter, Jackson holds a vocation high 985 getting yards this season and is likely a couple of gatherings from breaking the century hindrance against Western Michigan’s 66th positioned pass safeguard.
In the cautious division, the Hilltoppers are difficult to beat. WKU positions 40th in halting the run and 30th in restricting the pass — useful for a general top 30 safeguard in the FBS. WKU permits 20.1 focuses per challenge and held Southern Miss, Charlotte, Army, FIU, among others, to 14 or less focuses this year.
All-C-USA choice DeAngelo Malone represents a risk from the powerless side cautious end opening. The gathering’s Defensive Player of the Year recorded 11 sacks and 20.5 handles for misfortune (fifth in FBS) in his initial 12 matchups. His 90 absolute handles are the vast majority of any protective lineman in school football, and he’ll fill in as a key pinion to halting Bellamy and Western Michigan’s dangerous run game.
In the auxiliary, WKU counters Western Michigan’s offense with solid wellbeing Devon Key. Third in the group in handles, Key has separated seven passes this season and serves viably in profound zone inclusion. He drives the optional in permitting simply 200.2 passing yards per game this season, a number well beneath Western Michigan’s 244.6 aeronautical yards normal.
In all honesty, Western Michigan and Western Kentucky used to regularly settle things on the field, back in the cowhide head protector days of the 1920s, 1930s, and 1940s. The groups met multiple times in a 25-year range from 1923-47 with the Hilltoppers just developing triumphant multiple times from 1938-40. Six Broncos-Hilltoppers games have been shutouts, seven, in the event that you incorporate the 0-0 tie on November 27, 1930. This will be the first run through these projects meet with modernized football gear, and the school football scene appears to be genuinely unique for the hotly anticipated rematch.
In case you’re partaking in any bowl lunacy challenge, scoring this one over 10 focuses with certainty is extreme. Neither one of the teams is unmistakably superior to the next. Western Michigan displays an increasingly hazardous offense with fabulous playmakers like Bellamy, Wassink, and Ricci, yet the Hilltopper protection has sparkled all year at brutalizing skilled offenses, particularly in the Southern Miss game. Then, Western Michigan’s protection experiences slips time-to-time, and a solid surging assault from Gaej Walker could mess up the Broncos. With a solid Broncos unexpected taking an interest in their last game, I’ll pick Bellamy to win it for Western Michigan in a nearby one.
Forecast: Western Michigan 31, WKU 27