It is easy to spot him on the field as he has always donned the Bahamian flag on his helmet. He is Bahamian collegiate football player and graduate offensive lineman Chris Ferguson, who will be wearing the flag once again in his final collegiate game when his 23rd ranked University of Cincinnati Bearcats battle the Boston College Eagles in the TicketSmarter Birmingham Bowl at Legion Field in Birmingham, Alabama, USA, on Thursday. The game will kickoff at 3 p.m., and will be broadcasted live on ESPN.
This is the second consecutive bowl game for the former C.R. Walker Senior High School and Florida-based Lake Nona High School student. Last year his team took down Virginia Tech 35-31 to win the Military Bowl, and he does not take getting a chance to play in another bowl game lightly.
“A bowl game for me as a senior is like it’s my last game, my last time on the field with all my brothers,” Ferguson said. “College is different from the NFL (National Football League) – you actually build relationships with the guys in that locker room. It means a lot to me because I built a relationship with a lot of these guys. A lot of them see me as a big brother. I want to send them and myself out on the right note, with a win.”
The 6’5” 315-pound big man has played right tackle, left tackle and left guard this season.
He helped lead his team to a 10-3 win-loss record this season with a perfect 6-0 record at home. There are 7-1 in conference play. Ferguson missed two games due to an injury and said that his senior year has been a roller coaster ride that included his team going to the American Athletic Conference (ACC) championship game for the first time in school history.
“My senior year has been good for the most part. We had a great regular season and had some hardships with what is going on back home,” Ferguson said. “I got to go with some of these young guys on the team to the first conference championship in school history. It was big for me being a team captain – a voice of the team and an inspirational leader on the team. It was a big deal to me to lead those young guys and show them the right way you should be as a player and as a team player.”
Ferguson’s most memorable game this season was their game against the East Carolina University (ECU) Pirates back in November. Ferguson said they went into the game with the mindset that they were going to destroy the Pirates. At the end of the third quarter, the Pirates were up 40-28. The Bearcats outscored ECU 18-3 in the final quarter to win, 46-43.
He said he liked what he saw from his teammates and it was a dog fight to the end. He said he liked their resilience in coming back to win the game.
In the Bearcats’ last outing, they lost the conference championship game 29-24 to the University of Memphis Tigers. It was the second straight loss for Ferguson and the Bearcats to the Tigers.
“We are out for blood in this game, that is how we feel about it because we feel that we didn’t finish how we wanted to so now someone has to pay,” Ferguson said.
Ferguson knows that the Eagles’ defensive line is their strength on defense.
“They got some stacked guys up front. I think that’s the strength of their defense. We are going to have to do a good job coming off the ball, being more physical than them and wear them out the entire game. It is the same plan we have week in and week out – be tougher than the guy across from you,” Ferguson pointed out.
His Bearcats averaged 29 points per game this season with 199 rushing yards per game. They averaged 187.38 yards in the air for an average of 386.9 total yards per game.
Defensively, they held their opponents to 21.69 points per game.
Boston College plays in the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) and is unranked. They sport a 6-6 record on the season. They have coughed up 31.67 points a game and have given up an average of 180.8 yards on the ground per game. They gave up just under 300 passing yards per game.
On paper, Ferguson and the Bearcats are the favorites to win the game, but it is played on the gridiron, and they will have to come out and execute in order to come out on top.