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  • Writer's pictureTravis Tyler

Bahamas Bowl

College football bowl season kicks off on Friday, December 17 with the Bahamas Bowl-- played at Thomas A. Robinson National Stadium in Nassau. This year's game features Middle Tennesee (6-6) from the Conference USA and Toledo (7-5) from the MAC.

Middle Tennessee finished 6-6 on the year with a 4-4 record in conference play. The Blue Raiders spread the ball around quite a bit on offense. Three quarterbacks have over 400 passing yards this season, six players have over 40 carries, and four receivers have at least 400 receiving yards. Balance like that can make defenses wear thin, but the scheme has to run near perfectly, which has hurt MTSU in some games against superior opponents. Additionally, MTSU's rushing offense is near the bottom of the national rankings.

That means quarterback play will be a huge factor in this game.

The Blue Raiders defense needs to be sharp against a good Toledo offense. MTSU gives up nearly 26 points per game and almost 370 yards per game. Now, some of those stats are skewed by simply playing against more talented teams in non-conference play, but Toledo should still be a concern.

The Rockets offense is always one of the best in the MAC and averages 34.2 points per game this year--which is about five touchdowns per game. Their running game averages just over five yards per carry with running back Bryant Koback gaining 1,274 yards and 15 touchdowns this year.

Usually, both phases are excellent for the Toledo offense, but the passing game is the one thing that has held it back from its usual self. It has been just good enough to win seven games and get to a bowl.

On the other side of the ball, the Toledo defense ranks 33rd in the country and allows under five yards per play and just 21 points to opponents. However, most of Toledo's tackles have come from the back seven of the defense, which can indicate some larger gains. Obviously, that isn't quite the case based on the yards per play stat, but there may be enough uncertainty there for MTSU to exploit.

These two teams are statistically very similar. They both average over 350 yards of offense per game and are near the 30-point threshold. However, Toledo has advantages in scoring on both sides of the ball and in the run game on offense. Middle Tennessee has a good run defense, but it will be greatly tested in this game. Expect Toledo to pound the rock while MTSU could struggle to find the spark it needs to keep up offensively.

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