Central Michigan will be the lone state team from the Mid-American Conference to compete in a bowl game during the holiday season.
The Chippewas (8-4, 6-2 MAC West) won their final five games, their longest winning streak since their last MAC championship season in 2009, and will play Wyoming (7-5) of the Mountain West Conference in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl in Boise, Idaho, at 4 p.m. Dec. 22.
Central Michigan and Wyoming rank first and second nationally in turnovers forced. The Chippewas have 31 takeaways (19 interceptions, 12 fumble recoveries) compared to 30 for Wyoming (16 interceptions, 14 fumble recoveries).
Central Michigan started its winning streak with a 56-9 rout of Ball State on Oct. 21, then came back from a 28-14 fourth-quarter deficit to defeat rival Western Michigan, 35-28, in Kalamazoo on Nov. 1.
The CMU-WMU outcome had the teams going in opposite directions. The Broncos failed to rebound, dropping three of their final four games to finish 6-6 and miss a bowl after winning the MAC championship last season with a 13-0 regular season record before a Cotton Bowl loss to Wisconsin.
The Famous Idaho Potato Bowl trip to Boise will be a big prize for Michigan transfer Shane Morris, who threw for 2,908 yards, 26 touchdowns and 13 interceptions this season. He has thrown for 1,141 yards and 14 touchdowns with just two interceptions during the recent winning streak.
Morris threw for 247 yards and three scores in Central Michigan's regular-season finale on Nov. 24, rallying the Chippewas back from a 17-0 halftime deficit to defeat Northern Illinois, 31-24.
The Chippewas have also gotten their running game going with sophomore Jonathan Ward rushing for 625 yards and seven touchdowns the last five games, while averaging more than seven yards a carry.
Wyoming will enter the bowl game with a two-game losing streak, with setbacks to Fresno State, 13-7, and San Jose State, 20-17.
Wyoming quarterback Josh Allen, who is projected to be a high draft pick in next year’s NFL draft, suffered a shoulder injury in the team’s last win, a 28-14 victory at Air Force on Nov. 11. He had thrown for 1,658 yards and 13 touchdowns before the injury to help Wyoming to a 7-3 record.
Without Allen in the lineup, Wyoming has struggled as San Jose State ended a 10-game losing streak in the 20-17 season finale by forcing a pair of turnovers, both coming on interceptions from Allen’s backup, junior Nick Smith.
Famous Idaho Potato Bowl
Who: Central Michigan (8-4) vs. Wyoming (7-5)
When: Dec. 22 at 4 p.m.
Where: Albertsons Stadium, Boise, Idaho
Notable: The Chippewas will be carrying a five-game winning streak into the bowl game thanks to the impressive play of senior quarterback Shane Morris, who has thrown for 1,141 yards and 14 touchdowns over the last five games.