Toledo beat Liberty 21-19 to win the RoofClaim.com Boca Raton Bowl. What happened, who was the player of the game, and what does it all mean?
Toledo 21, Liberty 19 RoofClaim.com Boca Raton Bowl What Happened, Player of the Game, What It All Means
RoofClaim.com Boca Raton Bowl What Happened
– Toledo overcame a 7-0 deficit by getting the ground game going on a 21-point run, and then hung on late for the Boca Raton Bowl win. Shedro Louis got it all started with a nine-yard scoring run for the Flames, but Thomas Cluckey hit two field goals and QB Dequan Finn ran for a score and threw a short touchdown pass to put the Rockets in the lead for good.
– Liberty made it interesting. Trebon Sibley caught a 29-yard touchdown pass, but the extra point went wide – that mattered. On a trick play, tight end CJ Daniels took a double pass 67 yards for a touchdown in the final minutes, but down 21-19 Liberty had to go for two, didn’t connect, and Toledo was able to grind out the clock.
– The weather mattered. It started raining early on, and that made it come down to getting physical on the offensive line. Liberty owned the tempo early, and then it all flipped as the Toledo offense was able to grind it out the rest of the way. The Flame defense couldn’t get off the field.
RoofClaim.com Boca Raton Bowl Player of the Game
Durrell Johnson, DE Liberty
In a losing cause, the veteran end got banged up, but he still made nine tackles seven of them solo – with a sack and five tackles for loss.
RoofClaim.com Boca Raton Bowl Fun Stats
– Toledo RB Jacquez Stuart took over with a physical 23 carries for 111 yards averaging close to five yards per carry.
– Liberty LB Mike Smith made a game-high 16 stops with half a sack and two tackles for loss.The Flames came up with a total of 12 tackles for loss.
– Time of Possession: Toledo 40:03 – Liberty 19:57. The Rockets converted 10-of-17 third down chances. Liberty converted 2-of-8 tries.
RoofClaim.com Boca Raton Bowl What It All Means
This was massive for the Jason Candle era. Not only did his Rockets win the MAC Championship, but it came up with nine wins for the best season since his 11-win run in 2017.
It was also the first bowl win – Candle was 0-4 after winning his first game in the 2015 Boca Raton in an interim status – in the last seven years. His team was getting beaten up early, got more physical, and was able to pull it off in the rain.
It was a brutal end to the season for a Liberty team that looked to be in the mix for a New Year’s Six game as late as November 12th. And then it all collapsed with a four-game losing streak to close. The team did what it could under rough coaching circumstances, but it fought well in this and had a chance to tie it up late.
Even so, it was still the fifth season in five in the FBS without a losing campaign, it was still a fourth straight year with eight wins or more, and while it might have been the first bowl loss in the FBS, it wasn’t a horrible performance. Now it’s on to the Jamey Chadwell era.