Military Bowl: Toledo (8-4) vs. Air Force (7-5)
Date: December 28, 4:30 PM EST
Venue: RFK Stadium, Washington D.C.
Betting Lines from BetOnline.com
Moneyline: Toledo (-165) Air Force (+145)
Spread: Toledo -3
Toledo received a lot of time on ESPN during the MAC midweek games this year. During those national broadcasts, we saw the greatness of the Toledo offense and the weakness of the Rockets defense.
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Air Force didn’t get as much air time this year, but they should feel right at home in the Military Bowl. Both teams have finished the season on a hot streak. Who will end the year with a big bowl win?
Tim Beckman was hired as the new head coach at Illinois, and he won’t be coaching Toledo in this one. The Rockets have won seven of their last eight games. Their only loss during that time was a 63-60 loss at the hands of Northern Illinois.
Austin Dantin and Terrance Owens have split time under center this year for Toledo. Both of them have put up tremendous numbers. Dantin is listed as questionable for this game due to a concussion. Owens has a 71.4% completion percentage, and he has thrown 15 touchdowns compared to just three interceptions. Toledo’s offense is so tough to stop because of their amazing balance. The Rockets average 272 yards per game through the air and 222 per game on the ground. Eric Page is the team’s best play maker. Page racked up 111 receptions during the regular season. The Rockets average 42.2 points per contest.
Toledo’s defense actually did a pretty good job this year against the run, but the secondary has had all sorts of trouble stopping the pass. The Rockets gave up 278 yards per game through the air. In their last three games, Toledo allowed 36 points per game. This defense must step up against the option attack.
Tim Jefferson Jr. is a four-year starter at quarterback for Air Force. Jefferson is a good decision-maker in the triple option attack, and he has improved his passing each year. He completed 61% of his passes for 1,478 yards during the regular season. Jefferson threw for 12 touchdowns and ran for 10 more. Asher Clark was the team’s top tailback this season. Clark averaged an astounding 7.3 yards per carry. Mike Dewitt is a top-notch fullback who ran for 10 touchdowns in 2011. Air Force ranked 19th in the nation in total offense this year. It’s no secret that this team wants to run the ball constantly, but it is very tough to stop.
The Falcons defense was exactly the opposite of Toledo this season. While Air Force did a great job against the pass, they were extremely vulnerable against the run. Air Force has a very badly undersized front four, and they have been dominated by most physical offensive lines this season. Overall, Air Force is giving up 27.2 points per game this year.
Both teams will be looking to run the ball early and often here. It’s hard to imagine a game with so many rushing attempts going over such a high total, but I think it will. Toledo should have trouble with the triple option, and the Rockets should be able to roll over the undersized Falcons defensive front.
Free College Football Pick: Over 70
Score Prediction: Toledo 38 Air Force 35