The Raycom Media Camellia Bowl features the Appalachian State Mountaineers of the Sun Belt Conference and the Toledo Rockets of the MAC.
Appalachian State Mountaineers
The Mountaineers lost to Tennessee, Miami and Troy on the season to finish with a respectable three losses. Their wins over Akron, Idaho and Louisiana Lafayette were their most impressive wins on the season.
Marcus Cox was running great before going down with a quadriceps injury and missed four games. He still rushed for 872 yards this season. His back-up, Jalin Moore, turned out to have a great season with 1,367 yards and 10 rushing touchdowns. With this two-headed monster rolling, it would be hard for any defense to stop them.
Appalachian State has a junior quarterback who has been the starter since his freshman season in Taylor Lamb. This season was his least productive, but a lot of that had to do with the running game picking up. He finished with 2,162 passing yards and 14 touchdowns. He also had eight interceptions, to create a less than stellar touchdown to interception ratio. The Mountaineers will be confident in Lamb in this bowl game.
Shaedon Meadors is far and away the most productive receiver with 698 receiving yards, but only has two touchdowns. If the running backs are shut down in this game, Meadors will need to get open for Lamb to move the chains.
The offense is average in terms of points scored, but the Mountaineer defense is elite, giving up 17 points per game. That is good for seventh best in the country. They did give up 45 points to Miami and 38 points to Akron, but were able to hold Tennessee to 20 points in the season opener.
They don’t really have a forte when it comes to rush defense vs. pass defense. They rank 21st nationally in rush defense and 26th in pass defense, showing their quality at both.
Eric Boggs is the best tackler on the team finishing with 92 on the season, which comes on the back of a 104 tackle season.
Their freshman defensive back Clifton Duck leads the team in interceptions with five.
The Rockets came in second place in the MAC West to the Western Michigan Broncos, which was one of their three losses on the season. They also lost games to BYU and Ohio. Their impressive wins are over Eastern and Central Michigan, as well as Arkansas State.
Quarterback Logan Woodside really elevated his game for his junior season. With 3,882 passing yards and 43 touchdown passes, he is one of the premier signal-callers in all of the group of five conferences. He has led Toledo to the eighth best passing attack in the country. His tight end, Michael Roberts, is his favorite red zone target with 15 receiving touchdowns, but the guy he uses to pick up yardage is receiver Cody Thompson who finished the season with 1,170 receiving yards.
Kareem Hunt is a bigger running back at six feet and 225 pounds. He has used his size to pick up 1,355 rushing yards and eight rushing touchdowns. He really heated up down the stretch with four straight games of over 100 yards rushing, but most impressively finished with 200 yards to end the stretch against Western Michigan in the final game of the regular season.
Toledo’s defense may not be as impressive as Appalachian State’s, but they are still solid. They give up a respectable 25.3 points per game and are average at stopping the run and the pass.
Treyvon Hester was one of the few returnees on defense this season and finished with 5 sacks on the season.
Team defense is the best way to describe what Toledo does. Their aren’t guys who fill up the stat sheet with sacks or interceptions, but they get the job done. With the offense being so good, the defense doesn’t usually have to do much, but in this game they will be tested.
This is a game featuring a great offense, Toledo, vs. a great defense, Appalachian State. The difference in this game will be ball control. Appalachian State will chew the clock on offense with their running game, which will keep their defense rested enough to shut down Toledo’s offense.
Appalachian State 39 Toledo 35