Christmas has come and passed and now we move onto the Bowl games that will take place that last week of 2021. The first bowl to take place during the last week of 2021 is none other than the Quick Lane Bowl at Ford Field. This matchup will be between Western Michigan (7-5) and Nevada (8-4). The MAC going up against the Mountain West who has been very good in these bowl games so far. With that being said here is my preview for the Quick Lane Bowl.
The Western Michigan Broncos have a high-powered offense that is very high around the country in all categories offensively. 18th in total yards per game (480.1), 61st in passing yards per game, 44th in rushing yards per game, and 49th in points per game. This Western Michigan offense is legit and is led by a solid running back duo of Sean Tyler and La’Darius Jefferson. Tyler has just over 1,000 rushing yards on the season and averages 6.1 yards per carry. Jefferson has 836 rushing yards on the year and averages about 4.5 yards per carry. Combined the duo has close to two thousand rushing yards and 19 total touchdowns on the season.
Now we move onto the quarterback play and Kalev Eleby is a solid quarterback for this team. Eleby has thrown for 3,115 passing yards to go along with a touchdown to interception ratio of 21/5. His main target is none other than Skyy Moore. Moore has 90 receptions on the season, 1,247 receiving yards (12th in the nation) and added 10 receiving touchdowns as well. So, for as good as this offense has been, the defense has let them down in certain spots this season. They give up close to 30 points per game and give up close to 360 total yards of offense per game as well. So, this defense will need to bring their A game against this Nevada squad in order to win this matchup.
The Nevada Wolfpack is going through some changes. Their starting quarterback is forgoing the bowl game to prepare for the NFL Draft and their head coach left to become the next head coach of the Colorado State Rams. This has swung the momentum of it going Nevada’s way to looking like Western Michigan is an absolute wagon in this matchup. However, I don’t know if I fully believe that just yet. The Wolfpack will be without Cole Turner as well, but they still have Romeo Doubs who has 80 receptions to go along with 1,109 receiving yards and 11 touchdowns. He will be a big weapon in this game for their backup quarterback Nate Cox.
Cox is 6 foot 9 and has a cannon of an arm. I think he is going to do just fine in this bowl matchup even with little game action this season. They have had a long time to prepare, and Cox has been getting reps in practice so I believe he will be ready. Western Michigan is a very run centric team and with the time off to prepare I think Nevada will figure out a way to stop the run. This Nevada run defense gives up just over 170 rushing yards per game, so if they can stop that dynamic duo at running back for the Broncos, I think they will be in a good shape in this one.
Western Michigan is a 6.5-point favorite with the over/under set at 56. I would lean the over here as I think both offenses will put up points in this matchup. However, my official play is going to be Nevada +6.5. I understand the loss of their head coach and starting quarterback, but this team opened as a 5.5-to-6-point favorite in this matchup. With those two leaving and it being as big of a swing that it was just doesn’t make sense. I will take the points with Nevada covering in this one.
-Chris Jones (@cjoneswho1212)
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