On New Year’s Eve, Bahamian collegiate football player Chris Ferguson will be in action as the University of Cincinnati Bearcats take on the Virginia Tech Hokies in the Military Bowl at the Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium in Annapolis, Maryland, USA. The game will start at noon and will be broadcasted live on ESPN.
Ferguson and the Bearcats are already in Annapolis preparing for the game. The Bearcats will represent the American Athletic Conference (AAC) and the Hokies will represent the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC).
Ferguson said that preparation for the game has been going on for about three weeks. He said Head Coach Luke Fickell wants to keep his team in football shape.
“The preparation has been going good. We have been going really hard. Our coach does not want us get relaxed or comfortable. He wants everyone to be in their best shape mentally and physically,” Ferguson said.
The Bearcats’ last game was on November 23. They defeated the East Carolina University Pirates 56-6.
They had a week off but still did walk-throughs and spent time in the film room. The team had four days off for the Christmas break but they are back at it in workouts.
Ferguson, a 6’5”, 303-pound offensive lineman, said they played the Hokies in this same bowl game when he was a freshman in 2014 and they are looking for a positive result this time around. In 2014, they lost 33-17.
He said: “This feels like redemption for me. A second shot at this team is good and I have a big part to play so I have to give it my all.”
Ferguson said they are taking the Hokies’ defense seriously. He said they are hungry to win, and once they run the ball down the middle of the Hokies’ defense they will stand a good chance.
The former C.R.Walker athlete said a win would be good for the program. He wants the AAC to get more recognition.
“A win will project us in a bigger light,” he said. “The AAC don’t really get any respect from the power five conferences. We have so much teams that knock power five conferences off, we started off the season beating UCLA Bruins. There is also the University of Central Florida Knights who were ranked eighth with a perfect record two years and didn’t get a chance at the football playoffs,” Ferguson said.
The senior said he has some bruises but come Monday he and his team will be ready for the game.
In this, his final game for the Bearcats, Ferguson said he is going to give it his all. He is already predicting a win for his team.
“You can expect me to do what I have been doing all season. I am going to give it my all. The man across from me is going to feel me the whole game. I do not only have my name on my back but I have my whole country and team on my back. I’ll be mad if I let anybody down. When we get this win it will be big for us,” he said.
The Bearcats have completely turned it around this season after a 4-8 win-loss record last season.
Their 10-2 record represents the seventh time in program history that the football team has won at least 10 games.
The Bearcats can punctuate the season with an 11-2 win-loss record which would be the third time they finish with at least 11 wins. The other two were in 2008 and 2009.
They are 8-9 in the win-loss category in the school’s bowl history.
This past season, their highest rank was number 19 on the Associated Press’ (AP) poll.
Ferguson and his team are favored heading into this game. It is said that they are the better team both offensively and defensively.
On offense, they averaged 34.9 points and 458 yards per game compared to the Hokies’ 29.8 points and 426.9 yards per game.
Defensively, the Hokies allowed 436.8 yards per game and a whopping 30.7 points per game. For the Bearcats, they allowed 290 yards and 16.1 points per game.
Last year, Navy walked away as winner of the Military Bowl, crushing the Virginia Cavaliers 49-7.
Ferguson is excited to play in a bowl game in his final season and is looking forward to leaving everything on the field and hopefully coming away with a win.