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Western Michigan 1-point Favorite over Air Force

A combination of the questionable status of quarterback Kale Pearson and an underrated Western Michigan team has Vegas opening the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl as a one point spread in favor of the Broncos.

Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

The Famous Idaho Potato Bowl will see a very competitive contest according to the oddsmakers as the Western Michigan Broncos open up as a slight one point favorite over the Air Force Falcons for the December 20th bowl game.

One of the key factors in the early spread could be the uncertainty of Air Force quarterback Kale Pearson. According to Head Coach Troy Calhoun, the practice status for Pearson this week is up in the air after the senior quarterback missed the Colorado State game with an ankle injury. While Nate Romine filled in with a solid performance to lead the Falcons to an upset victory over the Rams, Pearson has been spectacular this season in leading the resurgent Falcons to their current 9-3 record. His status as questionable certainly caught the eye of those in Las Vegas who make the odds for each game. Air Force is 7-5 versus the spread this season but its two signature wins versus Boise State and Colorado State were from the underdog role the Falcons will find themselves in the bowl game.

Another factor is that Western Michigan is a very good football team who is simply underappreciated because they play in the MAC. Western Michigan has been great against the spread, going 10-2 this season. The Broncos are coached by 2014 MAC Coach of the Year P.J. Fleck. Fleck is in his second year at Western Michigan and has built a solid football team in his short tenure at the school. Leading the way for Western Michigan is running back Jarvion Franklin, who has rushed for 1,525 yards with 24 touchdowns. Franklin would also provide one receiving touchdown as he was named the MAC Freshman and Offensive Player of the Year. He is an extremely talented runner and was the focus of teams playing the Broncos. Western Michigan is more than just a single threat attack however, as they also feature quarterback Zach Terrell who passed for 3,146 yards and 23 touchdowns. Terrell also ran the ball for 203 yards and three touchdowns. Terrell's favorite target was Corey Davis, who finished the regular season with 1,232 yards and 12 touchdowns.

Defensively, the Broncos were solid, allowing only 23.8 points per game. The defense for Western Michigan was very good at creating pressure, coming up with a total of 28 sacks on the season. The remarkable part of that number is that 15 different players contributed at least half a sack for the team. Leading the way for the Broncos sack attack was junior defensive lineman Cleveland Smith and his five and a half sacks. The amount of pressure the Broncos generated allowed their defensive backfield to be ballhawks, as they would record 13 interceptions on the season, led by the tandem of Ronald Zamort and Donald Celsicar who led the team with four interceptions apiece. Both players also finished the season with 21 passes defensed.

This defense will be facing an entirely different monster in Boise however, as the triple-option force that is the Air Force offense will look to continue its stellar attack one final time this season. Look for more upcoming stories on the matchups between these two schools as well as an interview with a blogger who covers the Western Michigan Broncos. Mountain West Connection will have all the important information on this game leading up to the 3:45 p.m. kickoff on December 20th.