The 2018 Makers Wanted Bahamas Bowl will pit the C-USA and MAC against each other with Florida International playing Toledo. Here is the 2018 Makers Wanted Bahamas Bowl Preview:
Florida International Panthers (8-4)
Butch Davis has done a great rebuilding job with his second straight 8-4 regular season. The Panthers lost to Indiana, Miami, Florida Atlantic and Florida Atlantic. They have beaten just one bowl-eligible team, but it was a solid Middle Tennessee squad.
FIU has a solid offense that is tied for 29th nationally in points per game at 34.6 points. They have a well-balanced attack that averages 247.6 pass yards and 170 rush yards per game.
Quarterback James Morgan has led the team with 2,727 passing yards, 26 touchdowns and seven interceptions on 65.3% completion. He has shown a capability to carry his team to victory at times, with his 311 passing yards and two touchdowns in their win over Middle Tennessee. He has five receivers who have at least 200 yards receiving this year. The two leaders are C.J. Warton (36 receptions, 620 receiving yards and six touchdowns) and Austin Maloney (28 receptions, 582 receiving yards and five touchdowns).
The running game has a few key contributors including Napoleon Maxwell, D’Vonte Price, Shawndarius Phillips and Anthony Jones. Maxwell leads the team in rushing yards and touchdowns with 673 and seven respectively.
Their defense allows 24.7 points per game, which runs in the middle of the pack for FBS teams. The Panthers rank 24th against the pass and 98th against the run. Linebacker Sage Lewis specializes in tracking down ball carriers with his 126 total tackles. They also have defensive tackle Anthony Johnson, who could have a shot at the pros. He’ll have to help shut down the run in this one to help beat a solid Toledo team.
Toledo Rockets (7-5)
The 7-5 record is actually a little bit of a down year for Toledo, who was 21-7 over the two previous seasons under Jason Candle. Their five losses came at the hands of Miami, Fresno State, Eastern Michigan, Buffalo and Northern Illinois. The bowl-eligible teams they have beaten are Western Michigan and Nevada.
Toledo specializes in offense and averages 41.1 points per game. The offense is almost split right down the middle at 224.9 passing yards and 223.6 rushing yards per game.
The Rockets have had two quarterbacks who have played, but Eli Peters has taken over as of late. He has 1,573 passing yards, 15 touchdowns and seven interceptions on 54.6% completion. He helped Toledo close out the season with two straight 50 point games. He has three receivers who have over 500 receiving yards in Diontae Johnson, Jon’Vea Johnson and Cody Thompson. Thompson has also helped on special teams this season.
Former Kentucky Wildcat Bryant Koback is the team’s leading rusher with 875 yards and 13 touchdowns. Art Thompkins (563 yards and six touchdowns) and Shakif Seymour ( 526 yards and five touchdowns) have chipped in too.
The defense has been a liability at times allowing 30.2 points per game. Their pass defense ranks 108th in the country, while the rush defense ranks 78th. Cornerback Ka’Dar Hollman has 12 passes defended on the season and safety Josh Teachey has 11. Defensive lineman Tuzar Skipper leads the team with seven sacks.
Florida International will keep the ball on the ground with their solid stable of running backs. The play action game will be run off of that to make the offense multi-faceted. Toledo’s defense won’t be able to stop the Panthers, while Florida International should be able to get a few turnovers to secure the victory.
Florida International 34 Toledo 31
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