DETROIT, Mich. — Western Kentucky University interim football coach Lance Guidry, along with junior Antonio Andrews and senior captains Jamarcus Allen and Jack Doyle, got the opportunity to meet with the local media in Detroit on Thursday during the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl Media Luncheon in the Tiger Club at Comerica Park.
Representatives from Central Michigan were also on hand as both sides had their first opportunity to discuss the Dec. 26 matchup at Ford Field.
“I think both teams are physical football teams that like to get after it,” said Guidry. “We both like running the football, so I see it being a chess match right down to the very end. This is a matchup of old-school, smash-mouth football, and our guys will be up to the task.”
In preparing for the first-ever matchup between the Hilltoppers and Chippewas, CMU head coach Dan Enos has been impressed with what he as seen from WKU on film.
“First I want to congratulate Western Kentucky on a great season,” said Enos. “We‘ve been watching film on those guys for a couple weeks now, and they certainly play the game hard, and play it the right way. We‘re very excited to battle such a quality opponent, and get the chance to do it here in Detroit.”
For those in the Detroit area, much of the talk is about Andrews’ pursuit of Barry Sanders’ NCAA record for single-season all-purpose yardage. The Hilltopper junior needs just 274 yards to break the mark Sanders set during the 1988 season at Oklahoma State. Sanders went on to star in the NFL for the Detroit Lions.
“Personally, (the record) has become a goal heading into this game, and it would mean a lot to go out and get it,” said Andrews. ”This whole experience will be a great thing for Hilltopper Nation, and I can’t wait get back up here and play.”
For Allen and Doyle, the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl will put a cap on their five-year career at WKU. The two captains — along with the other 19 seniors on the 2012 roster — have been through the growing pains of the transition to the Football Bowl Subdivision, along with two coaching changes during their careers. Now they get to leave their mark on the program with school’s first bowl trip since the move to college football’s highest level.
“To have the opportunity to come up here and get a win in the school’s first bowl has everyone fired up right now,” said Allen. “Everyone is working hard every day in practice, and really focusing in on Central Michigan.”
“It feels like the transition is complete now,” said Doyle. “After not getting in a bowl last year, we wanted to do everything to make sure that didn’t happen again. Everyone was obviously excited when we found out we got in, and now we’re anxious to get back up here to Detroit and put on a good performance.”
WKU will continue preparations for the bowl game back in Bowling Green before heading to Detroit on Dec. 23. Kickoff of the 2012 Little Caesars Pizza Bowl is slated for 6:30 p.m. (CST) on Dec. 26, with the game being televised nationally on ESPN.