2022 Boca Raton Bowl: Liberty vs Toledo

2022 Boca Raton Bowl

2022 Boca Raton Bowl: Liberty vs Toledo

The anticipation is finally over as the 2022-2023 bowl season has officially arrived. This year Liberty will get the chance to take on Toledo in the Boca Raton Bowl. The teams’ quiet history against each other has Toledo 3-0 all time. The Flames will look to try and change that on December 20th against the Rockets.

Liberty’s New Head Coach

Just under a week after Hugh Freeze decided to take the job at Auburn, the Flames have hired Jamey Chadwell as their new head coach. While Chadwell will be checking out his new team for the game, co-Defensive Coordinator Josh Aldridge is running the team as it prepares to face Toledo. Chadwell will take over after the bowl game.

Sadly, for the new head coach coming from Coastal Carolina, he will see this match will be no cakewalk. Toledo just won their conference championship game and will look to continue their momentum.

A Battle of the Offenses

For both teams, the offensive play hasn’t been an issue. The Flames along with the Rockets have had their fair share of high-scoring games. One of the biggest storylines in this game will be about each team’s offensive capabilities.

Liberty throughout the season has shown that they can balance the run-pass attack well. Dae Dae Hunter who leads the Flames in rushing has been a workhorse all year. Hunter ended the regular season with 129 rushing attempts for 850 yards and eight touchdowns. On the outside is Demario Douglas who has been huge for Liberty in the passing game. Douglas led the team in receiving with 977 total yards and six touchdowns.

On the flip side, Toledo has done a good job getting different people involved thus far this year. Jacquez Stuart who led the team in rushing yards with 659 isn’t the only running back who’s seen the field a lot this year. Dequan Finn who’s the starting quarterback for Toledo has also done a number in the running game. As a matter of fact, Toledo had four different rushers with over 100 attempts this season.

As the date of this game approaches more and more people will start to look at which team might have an offensive advantage. These two competitive teams will look to their offenses first so they don’t have to rely heavily on their defenses.

Key Players

When looking at these two well-matched teams you can identify a couple of key players. These players will need to be at their best to put their team in a good position to win this highly anticipated game.

For Toledo, the first player to watch will be Jamal Hines figuring he plays in the bowl game. The linebacker who also can be an Edge rusher has been a havoc for offenses. Hines ended the season with 55 total tackles, six and a half sacks, one forced fumble, and six pass deflections. The explosive yet versatile guy is going to cause trouble for the Liberty offense.

On the offensive side of things, Toledo’s quarterback Dequan Finn will be a big player to keep an eye on. The 6’2 Sophomore from Detroit, Michigan has represented signs of greatness this season. His ability to throw as well as run makes him just as dangerous as any guy who could step on the field for either team.

A guy on the Liberty roster who will need to have an impactful game is Dae Dae Hunter. As previously mentioned, Hunter led the team in rushing yards and will look to add to his season total in this final game. His ability to shift easily makes him an extremely tough runner to stop in open space.

Lastly on the defensive side of the ball for Liberty assuming he plays is the leader in tackles for loss in FBS this season: Durrell Johnson. Johnson has been a vital part of the Flames’ success this year. Even though the defense hasn’t been the best as of late, he’ll be a key guy in this game. The ability to break apart offensive lines and maintain pressure every snap has come naturally to him. Johnson’s presence will be huge for the Flames if he decides to play in the bowl game.

Boca Raton Bowl Prediction

The Boca Raton Bowl this year comes with a lot of weight on it. Liberty’s new head coach Jamey Chadwell is trying to prove a lot off the bat. On the other hand, Toledo is trying to finish their already great season coming off their Mid-American Conference Championship win.

Furthermore, this game is going to be told on the offensive side of the ball. Who’s able to finish out drives and execute in the red zone. Toledo and Liberty are both teams that have shown they can compete. Even though this is the case, it will be Liberty’s ability to maintain steady drives that’ll solidify their new coach as well as the team a win in the Boca Raton Bowl 42-31.