2010 Little Caesars Preview
Toledo and Florida International square off on December 26th in Detroit for the Little Caesars Bowl. The game will be televised on ESPN and is slated to start at 8:30 pm EST. Toledo enters the game with a 7-1 record in MAC play and an overall record of 8-4. This will be the first bowl game for Toledo since their 2005 victory over UTEP in the GMAC bowl. Florida International is making their first ever appearance in a bowl game. The Golden Panthers started the season with four straight losses in non-conference games but went 6-2 in conference play to become bowl eligible.
When Toledo has the Ball
The Toledo Rockets put up some points this year scoring close to 28 points per game on average. Quarterback Terrance Owens took over as the starter with four games left in the season and played well down the stretch. The freshman threw for 12 touchdowns and only 2 interceptions. Running back Adonis Thomas averaged 6 yards per carry on his way to 905 yards this year. Sophomore wide receiver Eric Page went over 1000 yards receiving for the second straight season.
Florida International had the best scoring defense in the Sun Belt conference, but at 26.9 points per game they rank 65th in the country. The Golden Panthers defense will need to know where Eric Page is on every play and try to limit his touches. If Florida International can get Toledo into 3rd and long situations they have a chance to focus on rushing the passer.
When Florida International has the Ball
The Golden Panthers also scored about 28 points per game this season. Junior quarterback Wesley Carroll has had issues this year turning the ball over. Carroll had thirteen interceptions, and eight of those came in their six losses. Darriet Perry and Darrian Mallary split the carries at running back this year and combined for 1376 yards and 16 touchdowns. Wide receiver T.Y Hilton was a big time play maker for Florida International with 816 yards receiving and 238 yards rushing.
Toledo had some defense struggles this year giving up 28.1 point per game. The Rockets defense gave up 57 points to Boise State on October 9th, and then they gave up 65 points to Northern Illinois a month later. Toledo has had success forcing turnovers coming up with 19 interceptions, the fifth highest total in the country.
2010 Little Caesars Bowl Prediction
The game between Toledo and Florida International is not a marquee bowl match up but it is a game that should be competitive. The Rockets and Golden Panthers have similar numbers in scoring offense and scoring defense and the game should be close all the way to the end. I’m going to give the edge to Toledo in the Little Caesars Bowl. Toledo’s defense comes up with a lot of interceptions and Florida International quarterback, Wesley Carroll, throws a lot of bad passes. A late interception could seal the deal for the Rockets.
Prediction: Toledo 31 – Florida International 24