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Toledo Rockets quarterback Dequan Finn (7) runs with the football. (Photo by Steven King/Icon Sportswire)
December 15th, 2021
Thomas A. Robinson National Stadium in Nassau, Bahamas is the site for Friday’s seventh annual Bahamas Bowl, as the college football bowl season kicks off. The Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders will represent Conference USA in this contest against the MAC’s Toledo Rockets.
head in the clouds ☁️ #BahamasBowl pic.twitter.com/GN6jcOnq9P— kate barnhart (@KateBarnhart_) December 14, 2021
head in the clouds ☁️ #BahamasBowl pic.twitter.com/GN6jcOnq9P
Let’s dig into the matchup before giving out our best bet in the Bahamas Bowl.
The Blue Raiders are led on offense by third-string quarterback Nick Vattiato, who’s been highly inconsistent with the nation’s 62nd-ranked aerial assault.
Vattiato’s best performance to date came in a 50-10 slaughter of Florida International on Nov. 13, when he went 20-for-24 through the air for 147 yards and two touchdowns. But just one week earlier, Vattiato had a wretched game, throwing five interceptions.
Game ball performance for Nick Vattiato (@canesqb11).🎯 20-for-24🙌 2 TDs#BlueRaiders | #EATT pic.twitter.com/fnQig7MLLP— Middle Tennessee Football (@MT_FB) November 14, 2021
Game ball performance for Nick Vattiato (@canesqb11).🎯 20-for-24🙌 2 TDs#BlueRaiders | #EATT pic.twitter.com/fnQig7MLLP
The freshman could have his work cut out for him fighting 17 mph winds in Nassau, as well as Toledo’s 20th-ranked pass stoppers (197.5 yards allowed per game).
Middle Tennessee also features an unremarkable committee of running backs – headmanned by senior Martell Pettaway (74 carries, 359 yards, three touchdowns) – that ranked 97th in rushing yards per game in 2021 (123.0).
Freshman quarterback Dequan Finn and junior running back Bryant Koback have formed a dynamic one-two punch for a Rockets offense that’s 31st in the country in yards per game (435.3).
Finn has completed just 59.7% of his passes this year, but is averaging 8.8 yards per attempt, and has tossed just one interception. He’s also thrown 16 touchdowns, and rushed for another eight.
Dequan Finn rushes in for the TD and just like that @ToledoFB is up 21-10. pic.twitter.com/YvELWNOUm7— CBS Sports Network (@CBSSportsNet) November 11, 2021
Dequan Finn rushes in for the TD and just like that @ToledoFB is up 21-10. pic.twitter.com/YvELWNOUm7
Koback has run for at least 100 yards in five straight games, accumulating 10 of his 15 rushing touchdowns on the year in that stretch.
Though the Blue Raiders’ defense is a decent 53rd in opponent yards per game this year (377.1), Toledo shouldn’t be intimidated.
The Rockets averaged 43.2 points over their final five games, as they went 4-1 to close out the season. This was a team that lost by just a field goal to No. 8 Notre Dame earlier in the campaign, and lost four of their five games by only one possession.
Middle Tennessee can’t match that résumé, as they lost to their only ranked opponent – No. 24 UTSA – by two touchdowns. Lay the points with Toledo in the Bahamas Bowl.
Score prediction: Toledo 35, Middle Tennessee 20
Our predictive engine is calling for Toledo to win on the moneyline in the Bahamas Bowl.
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