CENTRAL MICHIGAN TO FACE WESTERN KENTUCKY IN 2012 LITTLE CAESARS PIZZA BOWL
Western Kentucky is making its first bowl appearance ever;
Central Michigan makes first bowl appearance since 2009 season’s GMAC Bowl
DETROIT – The Little Caesars Pizza Bowl announced today that the Central Michigan Chippewas of the Mid-American Conference will meet the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers of the Sun Belt Conference on Wednesday, December 26, 2012 (7:30pm – ESPN) at Ford Field in Detroit.
Central Michigan (CMU) enters the bowl on a three-game winning streak. In compiling its 6 – 6 record, the Chippewas won four of their last five games during the 2012 campaign. This year will mark the Chippewas’ first return to Detroit since their battle with Florida Atlantic in the 2008 Little Caesars Bowl.
Western Kentucky (WKU) enters the bowl with a 7 – 5 record, with impressive wins over Kentucky of the SEC as well as over Sun Belt Conference Champion Arkansas State.
“In conjunction with the Mid-American Conference and the GoDaddy.com Bowl, we responded to an historic opportunity for our longtime affiliate conference and deferred the first MAC Conference selection for this year, in exchange for having the first MAC selection in 2013,” said CEO & Executive Director Ken Hoffman. “This move allows a nationally-ranked MAC Division Champion to face the Sun Belt Conference Champion in this bowl season. Further, we are pleased to welcome Central Michigan and Western Kentucky to the 2012 Little Caesars Pizza Bowl. Our history of success with CMU and the enthusiasm of WKU, in its first bowl experience, give us confidence that the bowl will be a highly competitive game with two excited fan bases.”
The 2012 Little Caesars Bowl will host both the nation’s leading all-purpose yardage leader and the national leader in sacks. Central Michigan owns a road win over Iowa of the Big Ten. The Chippewas schedule included four bowl-eligible teams.
Western Kentucky posted a 3-1 record against nonconference opponents this season, having only been defeated by SEC Champion Alabama outside their conference. They are led by running back Antonio Andrews, the national leader in all-purpose yards at 248 yards per game, and defensive lineman Quanterus Smith, who leads the nation in sacks. Andrews is only 273 yards from eclipsing Barry Sanders’ NCAA all-purpose yardage record.
“We are honored and pleased to accept a bid to the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl,” said Western Kentucky University Director of Athletics Todd Stewart. “Of the last 19 teams to make the transition to the Football Bowl Subdivision, only seven have earned a bowl berth in their first four seasons. We now join this group, and it further illustrates the tremendous development and growth of our program. All the credit goes to Coach Taggart, his staff and our players for their resiliency and dedication. I am especially happy for our 19 seniors for their perseverance and for overcoming the obstacles and growing pains they have endured. They never stopped believing, they have laid a tremendous foundation for our football program, and this is a reward they very much deserve. This is a great day for Western Kentucky University, and we look forward to a strong showing by the Hilltopper Nation in Detroit.”
CMU is led by the Mid-American Conference’s (MAC) second leading overall scorer and touchdown leader, running back Zurlon Tipton. Defensive back Jahleel Addae is tied for second in the conference in interceptions (4) for 2012.
"We’re thrilled to be invited and headed back to the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl. We’ve had a wonderful relationship with this bowl in the past,” said Central Michigan Athletics Director David Heeke. “We’re excited to go to Detroit and a tremendous football event. We expect Chippewa fans to once again come out in support of our university.”