At least based on the first 30 minutes of play, it appears Central Michigan’s defense was unable to secure its passports and make the trip to the islands.
In the first-ever Popeyes Bahamas Bowl, and with CMU offering precious little resistance, Western Kentucky has passed its way to a very comfortable 42-14 halftime lead. This game marks the first college football bowl game outside of the United States since the 2010 International Bowl (following the 2009 season) and the first played in the Caribbean islands since the 1946 Bacardi Bowl in Havana, Cuba.
This game also marked the continuation of a season-long trend of offensive fireworks for the Hilltoppers.
Brandon Doughty, the nation’s leading passer yardage-wise entering the game, threw for 350 yards and five touchdowns in the first two quarters of play, and . Doughty, who recently received a sixth season of eligibility as well as garnering Conference USA Offensive Player of the Year honors, completed passes to eight different receivers. His five touchdown passes went to five different players as well.
And, along the way, Doughty and running back Leon Allen, who scored the game’s lone rushing touchdown, made a little history.
All told, WKU totaled 441 yards of first-half offense. Of that output, 229 total yards, 157 which were passing, came in a first quarter that saw the Hilltoppers jump out to a 21-7 lead. Two of the Hilltoppers’ six touchdowns came in the final 1:41 of the half.
WKU scored on all six of its first-half possessions, completing six of its seven third-down attempts along the way. The Hilltoppers’ six drives averaged almost eight plays each and a little over 74 yards in length.
It’s not as if WKU’s defense has played the role of world-beaters, though, as CMU managed 259 yards of offense. Quarterback Cooper Rush passed for 203 yards and a pair of touchdowns, the last of which was a 30-yarder late in the second quarter on a fourth-and-15 play.
The first punt of the game by either team didn’t come until there was less than a minute left in the second quarter.