FIU is playing in their very first bowl game, quite remarkable for a football program that is just nine years old at any level; the Golden Panthers’ six wins this season comprise one-fifth of their 30 victories all-time.
The Golden Panthers hit their stride down the stretch, averaging 38.0 points while winning four of their final five games.
Toledo has appeared in this bowl three times over the last decade; their last bowl victory was in 2005; a 45-13 victory over UTEP in the 2005 GMAC Bowl. Toledo is 8-2 lifetime in bowls.
The Rockets finished second in the West Division of the MAC behind NIU and three of their four losses were to teams also playing in bowls - Boise State, Northern Illinois and Arizona.
The Rockets forced 33 turnovers in 2010, tied with Hawaii for the most in the nation; the Rockets allowed an average of 46 ppg in their four losses, and were 1-4 when forcing fewer than three turnovers.
The offense leans heavily on a pair of running backs; Darriet Perry (707 yards and 14 TDs in 2010) & Darrian Mallary (669 yards, two TDs).
QB Wesley Carroll, a transfer who played two years at Mississippi State, completed 62% of his passes for 2,483 yards with 15 TDs and 13 interceptions.
WR Eric Page had 94 receptions for 1,081 yards and eight TDs this season and has also scored three touchdowns on kickoff returns.
LB Archie Donald led this team in tackles for three straight seasons, and is poised to become the first Toledo player to pull that off for four years. Donald is tied for the conference lead in tackles with 134 and has also picked off three interceptions. His pursuit skills make him a vital piece of Toledo’s run defense.
RB Adonis Thomas emerged in the second half of the season as the dominant ball carrier for the Rockets. Thomas is second in the conference with 905 rushing yards, and his six yards per carry was the best in the league among running backs. Thomas is also a dangerous receiver, with 29 receptions out of the backfield.
Passing Yards Per Game
Rushing Yards Per Game
Points Per Game
Pick: Toledo 34 – FIU 21
Comment: This game may not feature much cache in terms of house-hold name players, programs or fan following, but from a competitive standpoint, this should be a very entertaining contest.