Western Michigan Football Takes on Air Force in Famous Idaho Potato Bowl


Western Michigan Football defensemen take down University of Ohio quarterback. Photo credit – Gwen De Young

The Famous Idaho Potato Bowl this year has a very interesting aspect about it. The two teams; Western Michigan and Air Force have had very similar seasons in the past two years. Last season Western Michigan Football finished 1-11 and Air Force 2-10. This season the Broncos are 8-4 while the Falcons are 9-3. One difference between the two are the head coaches. P.J. Fleck is only in his second season while Air Force head coach Troy Callhoun is in his 8th.

The rushing game for both these teams should be fun to watch. Air Force lost running back Jacobi Owens for the rest of the season to a foot injury he suffered in an overtime win against Nevada. Their second leading rusher, quarterback Kale Pearson. Pearson has six rushing touchdowns to go along with his 14 passing touchdowns. Oh yeah he also has 1513 passing yards and 646 rushing yards, the guy can produce offense.

Last time Western Michigan played against a mobile quarterback, they lost 31-21 to Northern Illinois. Pearson is very similar to Northern Illinois quarterback Drew Hare. Pearson is shorter than Hare, but knows how to run like him. He is fast and has a powerful throw as well. The Western Michigan defense will have to put a stop to him if they don’t want Pearson to score on them whether is be on the ground or through the air.

For Western Michigan freshman running back Jarvion Franklin comes into this game 100 healthy after a late season injury. The ankle injury which Franklin suffered in a blowout win against Eastern Michigan didn’t keep the phenomenal freshman out long, he returned the next week but still wasn’t 100 percent. Now after a few weeks of rest Air Force will have to stop Franklin who lead the nation in rushing touchdowns for multiple weeks before his injury will get to show off his talents on national television.

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The Western Michigan defense is one semi-worry for the team. Of the four games that the Broncos have lost this year in each of those games they allowed the most rushing yards on the season. In losses against Virginia Tech they allowed 308 yards, 234 allowed to Toledo, 226 to Purdue and 196 to Northern Illinois. Air Force has on average rushed 274.9 yard per game. The defense is going to have to wrap up runners and keep Pearson in the pocket not allowing him to run free. They have to make Air Force uncomfortable, which may be difficult because as their offense goes they can do a little bit of everything to score.

One big thing that Western Michigan has to do is score first and early. Air Force scores frequently in the first two quarters of play and if the Broncos defense can stop them, it will be up to the offense to score and get ahead. Western Michigan can not let Air Force get into a groove, they have to come out and fire on all cylinders.

The game looks to be a good one and I predict the Broncos win 34-21. Franklin will have a good game and the defense will come out big.

Game information: 

Where:  Albertsons Stadium, Boise Idaho

When: Saturday December 20th

Start time: 5:45

Live stream: ESPN and ESPN3