Boca Raton Bowl – Temple Owls (-2.5) versus Toledo Rockets

Posted: December 22, 2015 in Uncategorized
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These schools have met 10 times and Toledo leads 7-3 in the series. They last met in 2011, a 36-13 (+8) Toledo win. This is the second Boca Raton Bowl. Temple is bowling for the first time in four years and just the third time since 1979 (head coach Matt Rhule’s first). In their two most recent bowls, they’re 1-1 SU/ATS. This is Toledo’s second straight bowl (nine in 20 years). They defeated Arkansas State 63-44 (-3’) in last years GoDaddy bowl. Head Coach Matt Campbell took the Iowa State job, so this is offensive coordinator Jason Candle’s first ever gm as a head coach.

Toledo entered the season a legit contender to win the MAC as they returned 13 starters including Alabama transfer quarterback Phillip Ely. After their first game was cancelled due to weather, they pulled off the shocking upset at Arkansas as a 21.5 point ‘dog en route to seven straight wins. Northern Illinois remained a thorn in their side (sixth straight loss to NIU), but they rebounded with back-to-back wins including on the road at eventual MAC champ Bowling Green (+7) and were in control of their own destiny, but lost their finale at home to Western Michigan. Toledo averages 463 yards per game, including 213 (5.1) rushing yards per game. Ely threw for 300 or more yards four times and the rushing attack is led by Kareem Hunt, who missed four games (suspended, hamstring).

Temple was an experienced team entering the season as they had 19 returning starters. They also had over 20 seniors in the two deep and it showed as they opened the season with a statement win over Penn State and then went on the road to defeat Cincinnati and after starting the season 7-0, were ranked No. 21. They then lost a close game against Notre Dame and after blowing out Southern Methodist, were then blown out at South Florida. They kept their promising season alive by winning their final two regular season games, but then lost the AAC Championship game versus Houston. Their strength is the defense and they held five of their foes to season lows in yards and finished No. 14 in the FBS, allowing 80 yards per game less then their foes average.

Neither team is happy with the way their regular season ended as Temple just missed a New Years Six bowl, while Toledo missed out on their conference championship game. Toledo has the edge on offense, but Temple edges on offense and special teams. It’s hard to say who will have the crowd edge as both schools are about 1,000 miles away from FAU Stadium. Toledo was plus 45.5 yards per game against bowl teams, while Temple was minus 2 yards per game. The Owls defense was also much better at home then away. The key match-up could be along the sidelines, where Temple will have their normal head coach, while the Rockets have a brand new one.

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