Eastern Michigan will play in a bowl game for the first time since 1987 as the Eagles accepted a bid to represent the Mid-American Conference in the 2016 Popeyes Bahamas Bowl on Friday, Dec. 23 in Nassau’s Thomas A. Robinson National Stadium.
The Eagles will face Old Dominion (9-3) in a MAC vs. Conference USA matchup in the third Popeyes Bahamas Bowl. The Popeyes Bahamas Bowl will be played at 1 p.m. ET, and the contest will be televised on ESPN and broadcast on the Popeyes Bahamas Bowl Radio Network.
The early invitation allows Eastern Michigan additional time to prepare to play in an international destination, including obtaining passports for those who still need them to travel to the Bahamas as well as giving extra time for fans to make their travel plans to Nassau for bowl week.
Information on tickets to the 2016 bowl is available through the websites of both participating institutions and PopeyesBahamasBowl.com. A reminder that all U.S. citizens who wish to attend the game must have a valid U.S. Passport to enter the Bahamas.
The Eagles (7-6 overall, 4-4 in MAC play) will be led to their first bowl appearance since the 1987 California Bowl by head coach Chris Creghton, who is in his third season (10-26 record overall) at the school, and his 20th season as a college head coach (149-72 record overall).
“We are pleased that Eastern Michigan will be competing in the 2016 Popeyes Bahamas Bowl,” said Richard Giannini, executive director of the Popeyes Bahamas Bowl. “Coach Chris Creighton and his staff have done a tremendous job in preparing the Eagles all season long. We are looking forward to a great game in Nassau with Eastern Michigan and Old Dominion.”
“We are absolutely thrilled to be chosen to participate in the 2016 Popeyes Bahamas Bowl,” said Creighton. “Nearly a year ago our seniors set our season goal, to go to a bowl game for the first time in 29 years. We could not be more excited to accept this invitation. What an awesome experience this is going to be for everyone associated with our program.”
The Eagles come into the Popeyes Bahamas Bowl with victories in two of their last three games and have victories over conference championship participants Ohio (MAC) and Wyoming (Mountain West). EMU finished with a winning record for the first time since 1995, posted the most victories since 1989 and have the school’s first bowl appearance since winning the 1987 California Bowl. The Eagles tied the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) mark for biggest turnarounds in 2016, improving from a one-win season in 2015 to seven victories this season.
Eastern Michigan is led on offense by redshirt junior quarterback Brogan Roback, who passed for 2,394 yards and 16 touchdowns to go with five 300-yard passing games. The offensive line combined to allow the 12th-fewest sacks in the nation, as well as the second-fewest tackles for loss. Redshirt sophomore running back Ian Eriksen rushed for 741 yards and nine touchdown, while junior wide receiver Sergio Bailey II caught 55 passes for 799 yards and six TDs.
Defensively, the Eagles forced 23 turnovers, good for 20th in the nation and second in the MAC. Redshirt sophomore linebacker Kyle Rachwal led EMU with 101 tackles, while redshirt senior defensive lineman Pat O’Connor had eight sacks.
“We are grateful for the opportunity to be selected to compete in the 2016 Popeyes Bahamas Bowl,” said Eastern Michigan Vice President and Director of Athletics Heather Lyke. “We are proud to represent the MAC and expect to finish our season strong. Our coaching staff and student-athletes have worked incredibly hard to be in a position to compete in the postseason and continue to build pride in the Block E. We are thankful for all of our loyal alumni, donors, fans and our university leadership for being committed to supporting our football program.”
For more information on the 2016 Popeyes Bahamas Bowl, visit PopeyesBahamasBowl.com.
About The Popeyes Bahamas Bowl
The Popeyes Bahamas Bowl will provide student-athletes, conference partners, alumni, fans and sponsors a first-class international bowl experience while promoting The Bahamas and highlighting the educational and athletic opportunities for the youth of The Islands through college football. The third Popeyes Bahamas Bowl will take place in Nassau, Bahamas on Friday, Dec. 23, 2016 at Thomas A. Robinson National Stadium between Old Dominion from Conference USA and Eastern Michigan from the Mid-American Conference. The game will be televised nationally in the United States on ESPN.
ESPN Events, a division of ESPN, owns and operates a large portfolio of collegiate sporting events worldwide. The roster includes three Labor Day weekend college football games; FCS opening-weekend game; 13 college bowl games, 11 college basketball events and two college award shows, which accounts for approximately 250-plus hours of programming, reaches almost 64 million viewers and attracts over 700,000 attendees each year. With satellite offices in Albuquerque, Birmingham, Boca Raton, Boise, Dallas-Fort Worth, Honolulu, Las Vegas, Montgomery and St. Petersburg, ESPN Events builds relationships with conferences, schools and local communities, as well as providing unique experiences for teams and fans.
ESPN Events also manages the Big 12 Corporate Partner Program.
AdvoCare Texas Kickoff (Houston); AdvoCare V100 Texas Bowl (Houston); Air Force Reserve Celebration Bowl (Atlanta); Birmingham Bowl (Alabama); Boca Raton Bowl (Florida); Camping World Kickoff (Orlando, Fla.); Famous Idaho Potato Bowl (Boise); Gildan New Mexico Bowl (Albuquerque); Hawai’i Bowl (Honolulu); Las Vegas Bowl (Nevada); Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl (Dallas-Fort Worth); MEAC/SWAC Challenge (Orlando, Fla.); Montgomery Kickoff Classic (Montgomery, Ala.); Popeyes Bahamas Bowl (Nassau); Raycom Media Camellia Bowl (Montgomery, Ala.); St. Petersburg Bowl (Florida); The Home Depot College Football Awards (Atlanta) and Zaxby’s Heart of Dallas Bowl (Dallas-Fort Worth)
AdvoCare Invitational (Walt Disney World Resort near Orlando, Fla.); College Basketball Awards Presented by Wendy’s (Los Angeles); Gildan Charleston Classic (South Carolina); Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic (Honolulu); Jimmy V Men’s Classic presented by Corona (New York City); Jimmy V Women’s Classic presented by Corona (Uncasville, Conn.); NIT Season Tip-Off (Brooklyn, N.Y.); PK80 (Portland, Ore.); State Farm Armed Forces Classic (Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Honolulu); State Farm Champions Classic (New York City); Tire Pros Invitational (Orlando, Fla.) and Wooden Legacy (Orange County, Calif.)