ESPN Stats & Information 301d

Motivation level is high for Eastern Michigan and Old Dominion

The Popeyes Bahamas Bowl features two schools that are hungry for a bowl victory. Eastern Michigan makes its first bowl appearance since 1987 after winning seven games, its highest win total since 1989. Old Dominion, meanwhile, is playing in its first bowl game ever after becoming a full-time FBS member in 2014.

The Eagles' bowl drought is the second-longest in the FBS, behind only New Mexico State, which hasn't played in a bowl since 1960. The Monarchs are one of two FBS teams playing in their first bowl game this winter. UTSA was the other, but the Roadrunners lost 23-20 to New Mexico on Saturday.

Old Dominion won the previous two meetings against Eastern Michigan, including a 38-34 victory last season. Monarchs running back Ray Lawry, who was a sophomore, led the way with four rushing touchdowns, including the game-winning score with 1:57 remaining in the game. It should be noted that Eastern Michigan went 1-11 in 2015 before an impressive six-game improvement this year.

Both teams can make a mark in their school's history with a win on Friday, making this much more than just a trip to the beach. ESPN's Football Power Index gives the Monarchs a 64 percent chance to win.

^ Back to Top ^