Monday, December 26, 2011
Little Caesars Bowl: W. Michigan vs. Purdue
By Andrea Adelson
Western Michigan (7-5) takes on Purdue (6-6) in the Little Caesars Bowl on Tuesday at 4:30 p.m. Here is a quick preview:
WHO TO WATCH: Receiver Jordan White. White got a sixth season of eligibility and made the most of it, becoming the first consensus All-American in school history, and the sixth in MAC history. White had a stellar season, with 127 catches for 1,646 yards and 16 touchdowns to lead the nation in both receptions and receiving yards. He is 110 yards from breaking the MAC record for career receiving yards (Darius Watts, Marshall — 4,031 yards) and 125 yards from breaking the MAC record for single-season receiving yards (Freddie Barnes, Bowling Green — 1,770 yards in 2009).
WHAT TO WATCH: Western Michigan is playing in its fifth postseason bowl game, but is looking for its first victory. The good news is that Ford Field has been a good venue for the Broncos under coach Bill Cubit. They are 2-0 in two previous appearances there: a 44-36 win against Eastern Michigan in 2005 and a 23-17 win against Illinois in 2008.
WHY TO WATCH: The connection between White and Alex Carder is probably the best you have never seen. Carder, who missed the regular-season finale with an injury, is healthy and expected to start. In his past three starts, he has thrown for more than 400 yards, and actually has six games this season with 300 yards or more. Carder ranks No. 7 in the nation in passing. Only Matt Barkley to Robert Woods, Brandon Weeden to Justin Blackmon, Case Keenum to Patrick Edwards and Kellen Moore to Tyler Shoemaker have been more prolific than Carder to White when it comes to touchdowns.
PREDICTION: Western Michigan 35, Purdue 30. The Broncos have lost five straight to Big Ten teams, but the Broncos did hold a halftime lead on Illinois, and beat a team from an AQ conference in UConn earlier this season. Cubit also has wins against Illinois and Iowa on his resume. I think the passing game will be on target, and Western Michigan will pull the upset.