Appalachian State (9-3) vs Toledo (9-3)
When: Saturday, December 17th 2016
Where: Cramton Bowl, Montgomery, AL
Time: 5:30 ET | TV: ESPN
A pair of 9-3 teams will square off in this year’s Camellia Bowl as the Appalachian State Mountaineers take on the Toledo Rockets. Runner-up in the MAC West Division, the Rockets season came down to the final game against undefeated Western Michigan, but the Broncos were just too much for Toledo in a 55-35 victory. Toledo comes into the Camellia Bowl with the fourth-ranked offense in the country at 529.8 yards a game and are led by quarterback Logan Woodside. The junior led the nation with 43 touchdown passes and had at least three scoring strikes in every game this season. Toledo will be making its sixth bowl appearance in the last seven years, most recently beating Temple 32-17 in last season’s Marmot Boca Raton Bowl – the first game as coach for Jason Candle. The Rockets have a solid running game they can implement if Appalachian State plays for the pass, and Kareem Hunt has some incentive to end his collegiate career on a high note. He enters the game with 1,355 rushing yards on the season and 4,825 for his career, 25 away from passing Chester Taylor as the school’s career leader. Hunt has 27 games with at least 100 rushing yards during his stay at Toledo and has become a dependable receiver as well, catching at least three passes in eight games this season – another reason why he was invited to participate in the Senior Bowl.
Appalachian State will participate in the Camellia Bowl for the second consecutive season after last year’s 31-29 win over Ohio. The Mountaineers are a run-first team that features three running backs that scored at least eight touchdowns this season. Marcus Cox ran for over 1,400 yards the previous two seasons, but suffered an injury early in the season which opened the door for Jalin Moore. The sophomore responded with 1,367 yards on the ground and 10 scores and topped 100 yards in eight of the last nine games. With a stout running game, quarterback Taylor Lamb wasn’t asked to do as much as last season, when he threw 31 touchdown passes. This year’s total is down to 14 with 8 interceptions, but only one of those picks have come in the last four games. The Mountaineers have a solid defense that finished seventh in the nation in points allowed (17.0) and 15th in total defense (326.5). Appalachian State won the Sun Belt Conference with a 7-1 mark for the second straight season.
This should be a shootout and would recommend taking the over in this one. As far as who wins the game, I’m going with Appalachian State since I think they have a little better defense. They held six opponents to 10 points or less this season. Toledo will score points, but not enough to beat the Mountaineers today.
Pick: Appalachian State +1.5