The 2021 Bahamas Bowl features the Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders 6-6 against the 7-5 Toledo Rockets. Here is the 2021 Bahamas Bowl Preview.
Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders (6-6)
Middle Tennessee went 6-6 on the year after losing to only one team that wasn’t bowl eligible in Charlotte. They were able to defeat one bowl-eligible team in Marshall to help them qualify.
The offense can find the end zone a decent amount of times at 29.4 points per game, which ranks 55th in the country. The Blue Raiders rush for 120.8 yards per game (ranked 107th) and pass for 235.5 yards per game (ranked 65th).
Due to injuries and transfer, the Blue Raiders have played a few different quarterbacks during the season. Nick Vattiato has been starting recently. The freshman has passed for 776 yards, five touchdowns and six interceptions on 67.4 percent completion. Middle Tennessee has four receivers with at least 400 receiving yards on the season. Jimmy Marshall leads the team in all major categories with 45 catches for 510 yards and six touchdowns.
Three running backs have produced more than 200 yards on the ground for the Blue Raiders this season. Martell Pettaway leads the team with 74 carries for 359 yards and three touchdowns. Chaton Mobley and Frank Peasant have provided good changes of pace for Pettaway with 241 and 239 rushing yards respectively.
The defense allows 25.8 points per game, ranking 63rd in the country. They give up 128.2 rushing yards (ranked 63rd) and 238.6 passing yards (ranked 86th) per game. Safety Reed Blankenship has been a star with a team-lead of 106 tackles, eight passes defended and one interception. Jordan Ferguson leads the team with seven sacks with DQ Thomas not far behind him with five.
Toledo Rockets (7-5)
The Toledo Rockets finished the regular season with a 7-5 record. They defeated two bowl-eligible teams in Western Michigan and Ball State. Their only loss to a team that did not qualify for a bowl game came against Colorado State. The Rockets are hot right now, riding a three-game winning streak into bowl season.
Toledo’s offense is solid, scoring 34.2 points per game, which ranks 25th in the country. They rush for 129.9 yards (ranked 33rd) and pass for 241.3 yards (ranked 58th) per game.
Late in the season, Toledo turned the offense over to freshman Dequan Finn. Finn has impressed with 1,855 passing yards, 16 touchdowns and one interception on 59.7 percent completion. He has six pass-catchers who have over 200 yards on the season. His top receiver is Devin Maddox, who has 38 catches for 562 yards and four touchdowns. Isaiah Winstead has also been highly-productive with 34 receptions for 489 yards and one touchdown.
On the ground, Bryant Koback has led the team with 190 carries for 1,274 yards and 15 touchdowns(10th in the country). Finn has chipped in from the quarterback position with 418 yards and eight touchdowns. Micah Kelly and Jacquez Stuart both have carried the ball well in relief at over 5.2 yards per carry.
The defense has been solid this season, allowing 21 points per game, which is good enough for 27th in the country. Toledo allows 150.8 rushing yards (ranked 67th) and 191.8 passing yards (ranked 17th) per game. Linebacker Jonathan Jones and Jamal Hines, along with safety Maxen Hook all have over 80 tackles on the season. Defensive end Desjuan Johnson leads the team with 4.5 sacks.
With Middle Tennessee’s quarterback situation, it makes it very tough for them to beat solid teams. Toledo’s pass defense will make it hard for the Blue Raiders to move the ball. On offense, Finn and Koback will keep the chians moving and will lead Toledo to a bowl win.
Toledo Rockets 34 Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders 23
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