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.
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.
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.
Toledo-FIU: Stats, how they compare
|7-5 (5-3 MAC West)||Record (Conference)||8-4 (6-2 C-USA East)|
|41.1||Points per game||34.6|
|448.5||Yards per game||418.4|
|430.1||Yards allowed per game||386.2|
|257.8||Passing yards allowed||188.3|
|172.3||Rushing yards allowed||197.9|
1,573 yards (15 TDs, 7 INTs)
|Passing yards||James Morgan
2,727 yards (26 TDs, 7 INTs)
875 yards, 13 TDs
|Rushing yards||Napoleon Maxwell
673 yards, 7 TDs
663 yards, 7 TDs
|Receiving yards||CJ Worton
620 yards, 6 TDs
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