The bowls head to sunny Nassau and chilly Boise today, for action as the bowl season keeps cookin. Looks like there will be good quarterback play in both games, so there should be some offensive fireworks, particularly in the Bahamas. Here’ s a look at today’s slate.
Makers Wanted Bahamas Bowl
Florida International Panthers (8-4) vs. Toledo Rockets (7-5)
Thomas Robinson Stadium, Nassau, Bahamas, 15,023
Steve Levy, Desmond Howard, Laura Rutledge
Whistles, Mountain West, Mike Vandervelde
Toledo by 7
Panthers’ quarterback James Morgan has put together a really good season completing 213 of 326 passes, 65%, for 2,727 yards, 26 TDs against 7 ints. Note, Christian Alexander will get the start at QB. 19-of-29, 65%, 218 yards,. 0 TDs 1 int. Played in 9 games. Morgan is out with injury. Key targets are C.J. Whorton, who has caught 36 passes for 620 yards and 6 TDs. Austin Maloney added 28 receptions for 582 yards and 5 TDs. Bryce Singleton is another key target registering 28 receptions for 336 yards and 2 TDs. Running back Napoleon Maxwell rushed for 670 yards and 7 TDs averaging 5.6 yards per carry. On defense, linebacker Sage Lewis posted 118 tackles and a sack. Linebacker Edwin Freeman was next with 88. Defensive tackle Anthony Johnson posted 3 1/2 sacks to lead the team. FIU intercepted 17 passes on the season tied for 7th best in the country. Utah State led the country with 22. FIU is tied with Troy, Cal, App State and Syracuse. Safety Dorian Hall and corner Rishard Dames lead the team with 3 apiece. Freshman linebacker Rocky Jacques- Louis has 2 ints, both of which he took back for house calls.
For the Rockets, Eli Peters took over at quarterback the last 4 games of the season and started another game, as starter Michael Guadagni was lost for the season with injury. Peters did a very nice job completing 124 of 227, 55%, for 1,573 yards, 15 TDs and 7 ints. He’s got some explosive playmakers on the perimeter. Cody Thompson caught 43 passes for 592 yards and 10 TDs, while Jon’ Vea Johnson added 29 receptions for 7 TDs. Dontae Johnson also was an explosive player, catching 43 passes for 592 yards and 7 TDs. Bryant Kobek led the rushing game with 875 yards and 13 TDs. Shakif Seymour added 526 yards and 5 TDs. Art Thompkins recorded 563 yards and 6 TDs. On defense, outside linebacker Richard Olekanma led the team with 78 tackles, posted 8 1/2 for loss and 2 1/2 sacks. Defensive tackle Reggie Howard led the team in TFLs with 14 1/2 and defensive end Tuzar Skipper posted 8 1/2 sacks for the team lead. Toledo intercepted 11 passes on the season with 3 players leading the way with 2 apiece. Middle linebacker Tyler Taafe took both of his back to the house, and defensive end Jamal Hines, and safety Zach Ford each had 2 as well..
Butch Davis was very successful at Miami (FL) in the late 90’s, OK at the Cleveland Browns and decent at North Carolina, though there were some problems with the NCAA when he was in Chapel Hill. He’s done a good job at FIU, and his team is explosive. Jason Candle is a young, exciting coach at Toledo. The 39 year old is going to be a hot commodity in the future, very soon most likely. His teams are explosive offensively and are pretty disruptive on defense. Davis’s team is explosive on offense as well. I expect fireworks in this one with 2 potent offensive attacks. I like the Rockets to play a little better on offense and get a key turnover to decide the game.
Toledo 45, FIU 37
Famous Idaho Potato Bowl
Western Michigan Broncos (7-5) vs. BYU Cougars (6-6)
Albertsons Stadium, Boise, Idaho, 36,387
3 PM CT
Roy Philpott, Tom Ramsey, Alex Corddry
Stripes, Sun Belt, Jeremy Parker
BYU by 12 1/2
BYU coach Kalani Sitake decided to make a quarterback change in midseason replacing senior Tanner Mangum with freshman Zach Wilson. Wilson, a 6’3”, 205 freshman, has completed 102 of 164 passes, 61%, for 1,063 yards, 8 TDs and 3 ints. Andre Ware was singing Wilson’s praises on Wednesday Night at the Frisco Bowl. The 1989 Heisman Trophy winner and ESPN football analyst was broadcasting the Frisco Bowl and was raving about Wilson’s talents stating that he will be a starter in the National Football League in the future. I trust the former Heisman winner, and going with his recommendation. I like BYU to roll this afternoon on the Blue Turf with high 30’s at kickoff. Not bad for Boise this time of year. Like Wilson and his team to take care of business.