Sunday, January 1st, 2017


Photo By: Photo by Ian Halperin/CBAA

Western Michigan put the finishing touches on its preparation for the 81st Goodyear Cotton Bowl by conducting a light practice Sunday afternoon at AT&T Stadium.

The Broncos (13-0, 9-0 Mid-American) have completed their 15 allotted bowl workouts and Head Coach P.J. Fleck proclaimed his team his ready to face Wisconsin (10-3, 7-2 Big Ten) on Monday.

“Our players are anxious to play … and tired of practicing,” Head Coach P.J. Fleck said earlier in the day. “So we're ready to get this rolling.”

How well they roll will depend on how well they can exploit Wisconsin’s defense, and it won’t be easy. The Badgers rank in the top 10 nationally in the four major defensive statistical categories and in the top five of the two third-down defense stats.

Western Michigan will counter with an offense that averages almost as many yards rushing (237) as passing (260) and has set the single-season school scoring record 566 points. The offense is led by QB Zach Terrell and WR Corey Davis, who is the FBS career receiving yards record holder and a consensus All-American. The duo’s 50 career touchdowns rank second in FBS history.

On the other side of the ball, the Broncos will have to find a way to overcome their size disadvantage if they’re going to win. Wisconsin’s offensive line averages 6-6, 315 pounds to Western Michigan’s defensive line at 6-3, 272.

Turnovers could help make the size difference less of a factor if WMU can continue creating takeaways while protecting the ball on offense. The Broncos lead the country in turnover margin at plus-19.

The Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic celebrates its 81st anniversary on Monday, January 2. Airtime on ESPN is set for noon CST, with kickoff slated for 12:01 p.m.

This marks the third consecutive year for the Goodyear Cotton Bowl to be a part of the ESPN bowl lineup. Bob Wischusen and Brock Huard will provide the call from the booth with Allison Williams reporting from the sideline.

ESPN Radio returns as the Classic's national radio partner for the fifth consecutive year. Brad Sham, the "Voice of the Dallas Cowboys," teams with Rod Gilmore in the booth and Quint Kessenich on the sideline to describe all the action from AT&T Stadium. This is Sham's 20th consecutive year as the Classic's play-by-play voice and his 24th overall.

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