After getting off to a rough start to the bowl season, the American Athletic Conference looks to be in good form this afternoon thanks to Tulsa. Tulsa is leading Central Michigan in the Miami Beach Bowl at halftime, 27-3.
A pair of Central Michigan turnovers have led to 10 points for the Golden Hurricane. CMU quarterback Cooper Rush had a first-down pass inside the red zone picked off by Kerwin Thomas in the second quarter. Tulsa turned that interception into a touchdown eight plays later with Keevan Lucas pulling down a 13-yard pass from Dane Evans to push the Tulsa lead to 17. An earlier interception led to a 46-yard field goal by Redford Jones, his second of the game.
Tulsa has accumulated 18 first downs already and looks to be by far the superior team so far in the Miami Beach Bowl. If they can finish this one off in the second half, they will put the AAC in the win column this bowl season. The MAC is also looking for its first win of the bowl season.
The Big Ten already saw one five-win team pick up a bowl victory this bowl season. Minnesota is looking to become the second. The Golden Gophers landed a spot in the Quick Lane Bowl after vacancies were left to fill this season despite ending the year with just five wins. After one half of play in the Quick Lane Bowl, however, Minnesota leads Central Michigan from the MAC 10-7 in Detroit.
Central Michigan orchestrated a 15-play drive covering 82 yards to get on the scoreboard. The drive consisted of three third-down conversions, with the third counting for the first touchdown of the game. Cooper Rush picked up the yard needed to cross the goal line on third down on the first play of the second quarter. Minnesota answered with a touchdown drive of its own with Mitch Leidner completing an 11-yard touchdown pass to KJ Maye to regain the lead. The drive was keyed by a big 30-yard run by Shannon Brooks from the Minnesota 45-yard line. Minnesota was the first team to score with a field goal on the game’s opening possession.
Former Minnesota head coach Jerry Kill and former Central Michigan head coach Herb Deromedi were on the field for the pregame coin flip. Kill made the emotional decision to retire earlier this season but was on hand to shake hands with his now former players before they took the field. The Detroit Free Press reports Kill is currently in the process of writing a book.