A year after the bowl game in Shreveport, La., included two high-major teams in Missouri and North Carolina, the 2012 Independence Bowl will match two smaller schools with impressive resumes.
The Ohio Bobcats and Louisiana-Monroe Warhawks meet Friday with 8-4 records that got started in the 2012 season with eye-opening victories. Ohio went on national television and beat the scandal-clouded Penn State team, 24-14, while LMU went to then-No. 8 Arkansas to defeat the Razorbacks in overtime.
The Warhawks had a two-game slip in the middle of their conference slate, and their two other losses came in single-digit losses to Auburn and Baylor early in the season. They finished third in the Sun Belt standings behind quarterback Kolton Browning, who threw for 2,830 yards, 27 touchdowns and just seven interceptions while leading the team with 441 rushing yards as well.
Though the Bobcats got off to a fast start, they slipped down the stretch in MAC play, winning just four of the final five games after a 7-0 start to the season. Ohio is led by running back Beau Blankenship, who rushed for 1,500 yards this year.
Game date and time
Friday, Dec. 28, 2 p.m. ET
Shreveport, La., Independence Stadium
The Warhawks opened as six-point favorites, though the spread has grown to as much as 7.5 points, according to OddsShark.com.
WatchESPN will be streaming the game here.
Last year’s game
Look through SB Nation's many excellent college football blogs to find your team's community.