Two very successful programs will meet up in the 2017 Dollar General Bowl. Appalachian State has been a consistent program ever since they joined the Sun Belt Conference, while Toledo came just a few games short of an undefeated season. Here are how the two teams will match up:
Appalachian State Mountaineers (8-4)
The Mountaineers beat two bowl teams to get to an 8-4 record this season. During their campaign they secured a share of the Sun Belt title with Troy, because there is no championship game and the two teams did not play. Appalachian State will be going to and trying to win their third straight bowl game.
Their offense scores 33.9 points per game and is extremely balanced. They are slightly better at running the ball than passing. Jalin Moore leads a potent rushing attack that ranks 28th in the country at 215 yards a game. He missed two games due to injury, but still amassed 912 rushing yards and nine touchdowns. Quarterback Taylor Lamb is the second leading rusher on the team with 539 yards.
Lamb is a senior leader for the Mountaineers, who has started since his freshman season. This year he threw for 2,606 yards, 27 touchdowns and six interceptions. He protects the football well and manages the offense. Ike Lewis and Thomas Hennigan are the leading receivers. Lewis has 666 receiving yards and eight touchdowns, while Hennigan has 556 receiving yards and seven scores. When one of the two struggles, the other one usually steps up.
The defense has only given up 21.9 points per game and are a solid unit. They rank 45th against the run and 44th against the pass. Eric Boggs is the leader of the defense and has 97 total tackles this season. He is a well-rounded player with 8.5 tackles for loss, four sacks, two interceptions, six passes defended, two fumbles recovered and one fumble forced.
Toledo Rockets (11-2)
Toledo won the MAC Championship and only lost two games in the process. Their two losses were to solid teams in the Miami Hurricanes and the Ohio Bobcats. Their solid wins include Central Michigan, Western Michigan and Akron (twice).
They are tied for 13th in the country in points per game with 39 points scored per game. Their run offense averages 218 yards a game. Terry Swanson has rushed for 1,319 yards and 14 touchdowns, while Shakif Seymour has done well backing him up with 704 yards and 12 touchdowns. Even third string runner Art Thompkins sees a lot of action with his 618 yards and two touchdowns.
The running game has a lot of production, but the passing game has some stars. Quarterback Logan Woodside is an NFL Draft prospect who has an outstanding career. He has 3,758 yards, 28 touchdowns and five interceptions. Woodside has completed 64.9% of his passes. They have a lot of talented receivers in Diontae Johnson and Jon’Vea Johnson. Diontae Johnson leads the way with 1,257 receiving yards and 13 touchdowns.
The defense gives up an average number of points per game at 25.6 allowed. They rank 68th against the run and 47th against the pass. Junior defensive lineman Olasunkanmi Adeniyi has produced for the Rockets with 8.5 sacks.
The Rockets have a better offense that will lead the team to victory. Woodside has one more game to improve his draft stock and will have a great game. The defense will be able to get just enough stops to help win the game.
Toledo Rockets 36 Appalachian State Mountaineers 27
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