NCAAF Teams
Jared ShankerMax Olson 319d

Boca Raton Bowl: Memphis Tigers vs. Western Kentucky Hilltoppers

Boca Raton Bowl: Memphis Tigers vs. Western Kentucky Hilltoppers

Date: Dec. 20, 7 p.m. ET on ESPN

Location: FAU Stadium | Boca Raton, Florida

Memphis Tigers

Best moment: Houston had just been reinserted into the selection committee's rankings after an upset of Louisville -- and then Memphis knocked off the Cougars the following Saturday. The Tigers lost a 17-point halftime lead and allowed the go-ahead touchdown with 1:29 left, but they drove 72 yards in five plays for the game-winning score. A field goal would have tied it, but the Tigers went for the win.

Lowest moment: In a critical American West game, the Tigers drew to within a touchdown of Navy in the fourth quarter. They were moving the ball on a potential game-tying drive when a receiver fumbled on a first-down catch. Navy recovered, scored a touchdown and ended Memphis' division title hopes.

Key player: Few receivers had a better second half of the season than Anthony Miller. He had at least one touchdown in each of his final six games, and in only one of those games did he fail to gain 100 yards. Over the past six games, he has accounted for 845 of his 1,283 total yards and nine of his 11 touchdowns.

Motivation level: High. Former coach Justin Fuente turned the Tigers around, and his replacement, Mike Norvell, kept up the program's winning ways. Motivation shouldn't be a question. -- Jared Shanker

Western Kentucky Hilltoppers

Best moment: Winning the Conference USA championship game and their seventh game in a row by getting some nice revenge against Louisiana Tech. The Hilltoppers came up just short in a 55-52 loss to Tech in October, despite a 21-point rally in the fourth quarter. This time, they took care of business in a 58-44 shootout for back-to-back league titles.

Lowest moment: Western Kentucky came oh-so-close to knocking off Vanderbilt. The game went to overtime after the Hilltoppers gave up the tying TD on the last play of regulation, and coach Jeff Brohm's gutsy call to go for two in the first overtime didn't pay off.

Key player: WR Taywan Taylor. Nick Saban called him as good as any receiver Alabama faced this season, and the numbers don't lie. Taylor ranks No. 2 nationally in receiving yards (1,586) and has 16 TDs as quarterback Mike White's go-to guy.

Motivation level: Fairly high. The Hilltoppers are 22-5 over their last two seasons and will win over more admirers during this bowl season with their prolific offense starring White, Taylor, WR Nicholas Norris and RB Anthony Wales. Good luck stopping these guys. -- Max Olson

^ Back to Top ^