BOCA RATON BOWL
TEMPLE OWLS (10-3) vs. TOLEDO ROCKETS (9-2)
Kickoff: 7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT, Tuesday, Dec. 22
Las Vegas: Temple -2.5
The fledgling Boca Raton Bowl scored a major coup in just its second year of existence, landing two teams that spent considerable time ranked in the Top 25 this season. American Athletic East division champion Temple enters the game still ranked at No. 24.
This is indeed a dandy that should live up to its billing.
Both offenses will have to scrap for every point they can muster. Temple boasts the nation’s No. 16-ranked scoring defense, keyed by All-American and Chuck Bednarik Award winner Tyler Matakevich. Toledo’s defense ranks No. 23 in points allowed. Orion Jones paces the Rockets on that side of the ball.
Matakevich will bring regular pressure on Toledo quarterback Phillip Ely, who struggled with consistency all year. Whether it’s Matakevich or defensive back Sean Chandler, Temple has defenders ready to exploit any miscues in Toledo’s passing attack.
Toledo will have to get creative, and can do just that with a three-headed backfield of Terry Swanson, Kareem Hunt and Damion Jones-Moore. The multifaceted rushing attack will keep the Rockets competitive, but Jahad Thomas can break enough big plays on the other end to capitalize on Temple’s stout defensive effort.