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The Marmot Boca Raton Bowl Preview

Marmot Boca Raton Bowl: Toledo Rockets v Temple Owls

December 22nd, 7:00 EST

FAU Stadium in Boca Raton, Florida

Both these teams at some point in the season must have had their eye on a place in the New Year Six bowl game as the best Group of Five team. Toledo was the early leader after an upset win on the road at Arkansas and a week later a home win over Iowa State. Their run at the MAC title unraveled on the final week of the season as they lost at home to Western Michigan but an early loss to Northern Illinois ended their hopes.

For Temple they beat Penn State to open the season and went unbeaten before running into Notre Dame. But it was the loss in the AAC title game to Houston that meant they had to settle for the Boca Raton Bowl rather than the more glamorous Peach Bowl against Florida State.

Toledo Rockets:

The MAC has generally been renowned for playing midweek games and high scoring offense as we’ve seen from Bowling Green this year. But the Rockets are the exception as they’ve got the #24 ranked defense according to the S&P rankings; and they held Arkansas to just 12pts, with two of those points coming from a safety.

Their rushing defense was their real strength, but the unit as a whole wore down over the course of the season as teams like UMass and Western Michigan scored 30 pts or more against them. But holding Bowling Green to just 28 pts in a victory showed that this team is capable, and with three weeks to prepare, should be able to limit this conservative Temple offense.

On offense, Phillip Ely has been solid but unspectacular at quarterback. It’s the running back duo of Kareem Hunt and Terry Swanson that has carried this team as they have a combined 1,764 yards rushing and 17 touchdowns between them. The Rockets’ game plan here will be to control the clock like they did in key wins earlier in the year.

Temple Owls:

This was a real breakout year for the Owls who finished last year at just 6-6 and was not selected to go to a bowl game. They made their statement with the impressive win over Penn State on the opening day of the season by holding Christian Hackenberg’s offense to just 10pts. The Owls have shown that they have the ability to hold down some high powered offenses as well. They kept Memphis to just 12pts and even Houston only managed 24pts in the AAC title game. So Toledo may have problems scoring consistently here.

The offense isn’t ranked highly but hasn’t actually struggled too much to score points. Quarterback PJ Walker has quietly improved over the course of the season and is posting a 19 touchdown to just 7 interception ratio. But Temple will still rely heavily on running back Jahad Thomas who is already over 1,200 yards for the season.


These are two teams that rank highly in any defensive rankings and are less impressive when analyzing the offense. Both teams should score enough points to keep this interesting; but the Owls’ pedigree of beating some quality opponents in the AAC shows that they should have the edge in this game.

Toledo Rockets 17-24 Temple Owls

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