Toledo head coach Jason Candle received a contract extension earlier this week that will keep him around through 2023. “The success of our program is the result of the unified effort of our players, coaches, staff and everyone in Rocket Nation who supports us,” Candle said in a statement announcing his contract extension. “To be a MAC Champion is a tremendous accomplishment of which we can all be proud. At the same time, we are even more focused on our mission of continuing to build on our program’s tradition of success. I’m proud to be a Rocket and proud to represent this great university and great city.” A bit of a concern is that MAC rival Akron got absolutely pasted 50-3 by Lane Kiffin’s Florida Atlantic in the Boca Raton Bowl on Tuesday. That was not a good look for the conference.
Toledo Rockets (11-2 SU, 7-6 ATS, 7-6 O/U) vs. Appalachian State Mountaineers (8-4 SU, 5-7 ATS, 6-6 O/U)
NCAAF: Saturday, December 23, 2017 at 7:00 p.m. EST
The Toledo Rockets have won eight of their last nine games heading into the Dollar General Bowl against the Appalachian State Mountaineers at Ladd–Peebles Stadium in Mobile, Ala. on Dec. 23. Toledo is 11-2 overall following consecutive victories over Bowling Green, Western Michigan, and Akron. The Mountaineers have also won three in a row, beating Georgia Southern, Georgia State, and Louisiana-Lafayette to comfortably secure their bowl eligibility.
The Rockets have lost only two games this season and one has come at the hands of Orange Bowl-bound Miami (FL). They recovered from their only badd loss of 2017 (38-10 at Ohio) with three straight wins by at least 17 points. Toledo pinned 66 points on Bowling Green and beat Western Michigan 37-10 before capturing the Mid-American Conference title with a 45-28 victory over Akron. The Rockets are averaging 39.2 points per game this year and have reached the 45-point mark on six occasions.
Running back Terry Swanson rushed 21 times for 180 yards and two touchdowns against the Zips. Quarterback Logan Woodside (28 touchdowns, five interceptions) went 23-for-37 with 307 yards, four TDs, and two INTs. The only other FBS quarterback with more than 25 touchdowns and fewer than eight interceptions is Heisman Trophy favorite Baker Mayfield of Oklahoma.
Back to ‘Bama
Appalachian State is no stranger to postseason play in Alabama. The Mountaineers made their way to Montgomery, Ala. for the Camellia Bowl in each of the past two seasons. Last year they played none other than Toledo and got the job done 31-28. In that showdown, Appalachian State took the lead four times only to have the Rockets respond with touchdowns and tie the score on every occasions. App State eventually kicked what proved to be the game-winning field goal with 5:14 remaining, as the Toledo offense finally failed to answer. Mountaineers’ quarterback Taylor Lamb, now a senior, rushed for 126 yards and passed for 119 yards while accounting for two touchdowns. Now head coach Scott Satterfield’s team is heading back to Alabama (this time Mobile) for a rematch with the Rockets.
“(We’re) very excited to be here in this bowl game,” head coach Scott Satterfield assured. “I know our players are very excited and our fans as well. The last two years we’ve been to Alabama, but not here at this bowl game, so we’re excited to come down and play in the Dollar General Bowl against a great football team.”
“Those guys did get us last year, so we’re looking to even the score up,” Swanson said of the Mountaineers. “It’s going to be a good team and a good game. We do carry some pride about ourselves, so we do remember that, so it’s going to be a fun experience.”
The Toledo Rockets are:
- 1-4 ATS in their last five non-conference games
- 1-4-1 ATS in their last six games in December
- 4-1 Under in their last five neutral-site games
The Appalachian State Mountaineers are:
- 4-1 ATS in their last five games against teams with winning records
- 5-1 ATS in their last six games after allowing less than 20 points in their previous game
- 4-1 ATS in their last five games following an ATS win
Lamb has thrown 27 touchdown passes this season with only six interceptions. The Mountaineers bounced back from a midseason swoon (two-game losing streak) to win their final three games, beating Georgia Southern, Georgia State, and Louisiana-Lafayette by a combined margin of 121-30 while racking up 933 rushing yards. “The last month, our preparation has been the best it’s been all year,” Satterfield assured. “The last three games we played, it’s the best football we’ve played and the most complete games.” The Rockets are 1-4 ATS in their last five non-conference contests and 1-4-1 ATS in their last six December games. Appalachian State is 4-1 ATS in its last five against winning opponents, 5-1 ATS in its last six after allowing less than 20 points in its previous outing, and 4-1 ATS in its last five following an ATS win. Don’t be surprised if those trends continue.
Pick: Appalachian State Mountaineers +7
Appalachian State’s defense has picked up the pace in a major way of late. In fact, it has allowed only 30 total points during its three-game winning streak. The under is 4-1 in the Rockets’ last five at neutral sites, 23-9-1 in their last 33 against winning opponents, and 10-4 in their last 14 following an ATS loss. It is also 4-1 in the Mountaineers’ last five against winning opponents, 4-1 in their last five following a win by more than 20 points, and 5-1 in their last six after allowing less than 20 points in their previous outing. Look for this one to stay under the total.