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Wayne Staats | NCAA.com | December 21, 2018

Toledo-FIU: Bahamas Bowl prediction, time, TV channel, preview

5 underrated bowl games to watch this season

Toledo and FIU meet in the Bahamas Bowl on Friday, Dec. 21. Below, find the game time, TV channel, prediction and preview information.

It's only the fourth time the Rockets and Panthers will play, with Florida International leading the series 2-1. They met in the 2010 Little Caesars Bowl, with FIU winning 34-32.

Toledo-FIU: Bahamas Bowl time, TV channel

The Rockets and the Panthers play at 12:30 p.m. ET on Friday, Dec. 21. The game is on ESPN. Following the game, BYU and Western Michigan play in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl at 4 p.m.

MORE: Bahamas Bowl Score, stats for Toledo-FIU

Toledo-FIU: Bahamas Bowl prediction, preview

Florida International comes in one game better than Toledo at 8-4 to 7-5, but the teams do seem to be trending in different directions.

While Toledo won four of its final five games in the regular season, the Panthers went only 2-2, losing by 35 to rival Florida International and then by 3 to Marshall.

MORE: Complete bowl schedule: Game times, TV channels

Florida International's key is pass protections. The Panthers are third in the country in sacks allowed — with option offenses Army and Air Force Nos. 1 and 2. In 12 games, FIU allowed only eight sacks. But Toledo won't make it easy. With Tuzar Skipper's eight sacks leading the way, the Rockets have 34 sacks this season, tied for 21st for 2.83 sacks per game.

FIU might also have trouble keeping Toledo off the field. Toledo averages 41.1 points per game, only 0.1 points off from Ohio for the top team in the MAC (and only 0.1 away from ranking No. 10 in the country). The Rockets are split almost even on rush yards to pass yards, which could cause problems for FIU. But we're focused on the running game.

Though Bryant Koback has "only" 875 rush yards this season, he averages 6.3 yards per carry and is one of four Rockets to rush for at least 400 yards. FIU might come in allowing one touchdown fewer per game than Toledo, on average, but the Panthers give up nearly 200 rushing yards per game. Rival Florida Atlantic gashed the Panthers for 439 yards only a month back. Toledo won't hit that mark, but the Rockets should win the battle.

MORE: Top 25 scores, schedule for bowl games

Toledo-FIU: Stats, how they compare

Toledo STAT/LEADER FIU
7-5 (5-3 MAC West) Record (Conference) 8-4 (6-2 C-USA East)
NR CFP ranking NR
41.1 Points per game 34.6
30.2 Points allowed 24.7
448.5 Yards per game 418.4
224.9 Passing ypg 247.6
223.6 Rushing ypg 170.8
430.1 Yards allowed per game 386.2
257.8 Passing yards allowed 188.3
172.3 Rushing yards allowed 197.9
Eli Peters

1,573 yards (15 TDs, 7 INTs)
Passing yards James Morgan

2,727 yards (26 TDs, 7 INTs)
Bryant Koback

875 yards, 13 TDs
Rushing yards Napoleon Maxwell

673 yards, 7 TDs
Diontae Johnson

663 yards, 7 TDs
Receiving yards CJ Worton

620 yards, 6 TDs
Richard Olekanma

78 total tackles, 8.5 tfl, 2.5 sacks
Defensive leader Sage Lewis

126 total tackles, 3.5 tfl

Toledo-FIU: Score prediction

The Panthers have the better record, but the Rockets have the offensive fire power and the defensive front needed to pull away from FIU.

Toledo 31, Florida International 24

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