Temple vs. Toledo Prediction, Boca Raton Bowl Preview

    Temple vs. Toledo prediction and Boca Raton Bowl preview for the matchup between the Owls and the Rockets.

    December 14, 2015

    The Temple Owls (10-3) and the Toledo Rockets (9-2) will be looking to bounce back from tough losses when they meet in the Boca Raton Bowl. Check out the Temple vs. Toledo prediction and game preview.

    Temple vs. Toledo Prediction & Preview


    Date: Tuesday, December 22
    Game Time: 2:30 ET
    Network: ESPN

    Follow and/or Contact @Rich Cirminiello

    Why You Need To Care

    Yeah, Temple and Toledo are excited to be in Boca Raton, but both had visions of a different destination at the end of November. However, that was before the Owls lost in the American title game and the Rockets squandered a MAC West lead with a loss to Western Michigan on the final weekend.

    While the regular season didn’t end well, 2015 could still go down as a launching point for Temple. For a time, the Owls were the team to beat in the hunt for an American title and a Big Six bowl berth. At 8-1, the Owls had upset Penn State and lost a nail-biter to Notre Dame. But the team has split its last four games, getting routed by South Florida and dropping the league title game to Houston. Still, Temple has a chance to break a school mark with win No. 11, and head coach Matt Rhule is still on the payroll, so this has been a phenomenal year in Philly. But capturing a bowl win is especially important, since the season didn’t end the way the team scripted it.

    Toledo is a little disoriented as well entering college football’s second season. Not only did it fumble a chance to meet Bowling Green in the MAC Championship Game, but successful head coach Matt Campbell has also taken the same job at Iowa State. The era of Jason Candle, promoted from offensive coordinator, officially begins on Tuesday. The Rockets, like the Owls, were in the Big Six discussion earlier in the year, beating Arkansas and Iowa State as part of a 7-0 start. Unfortunately, just like Temple, Toledo has also split its last four to prevent the team from reaching the full extent of its goals.

    Why Temple Will Win

    The defense has been Power Five-caliber all year long.

    While the offense has been spotty, coordinator Phil Snow’s D has been stout since the opening day upset of Penn State at the Linc. The Owls, led by tackling machine LB Tyler Matakevich, are rugged at the point of attack and tough to move off the ball. Joining Matakevich in the front seven are all-league linemen Nate D. Smith, Matt Ioannidis and Haason Reddick, who are holding opponents to 3.7 yards per carry. And the secondary, headlined by all-star CB Sean Chandler and S Alex Wells, is plus-five in picks to touchdowns, and is shutting teams down on third downs.

    Why Toledo Will Win

    The Rockets will be the more consistent offensive team in Boca Raton.

    Toledo has displayed greater pop than Temple this season. The Rockets average more points per game and yards per play, and they’ll have deeper options for QB Phillip Ely, an Alabama transfer. Three Toledo backs, Kareem Hunt, Terry Swanson and Damion Jones-Moore, have scored at least five times, and receivers Alonzo Russell and Cody Thomson can stretch the field from ‘X’ and ‘Z’, respectively. The Rockets greatest edge, though, will be in the trenches. While Temple has had serious problems since C Kyle Friend was injured, Toledo boasts three senior all-stars, DT Orion Jones and ends Allen Covington and Trent Voss, anchoring the line.

    Player Who Matters

    While the Owls have been shaky along the O-line, the Rockets have been sensational. But will that trend continue against the Owl D?

    Temple has yielded 91 tackles for loss in 2015. Toledo? A nation’s-low 38, as well as just four sacks on 382 passing attempts. Spearheaded by First Team All-MAC LT Storm Norton, the Rockets do a sound job of protecting Ely and springing Hunt. But the Owls present a stiff challenge, because they’re tough and relentless in pursuit of the backfield. And while mobile quarterbacks have frustrated Temple this fall, Ely rarely leaves the pocket and doesn’t the wheels to do damage on designed runs.

    What’s Going To Happen?

    Battle-tested and defensively sound, Temple is poised to notch its school-record eleventh win of the season.

    The Owls will revert to a familiar formula that served it well throughout the regular season, defeating a quality Toledo team with a bare-knuckle defense and the offensive balance of QB P.J. Walker and RB Jahad Thomas. Thomas isn’t quite as gifted as Hunt, but he’s a relentless feature back who meshes nicely with the personality of the team. And he’ll be the offensive MVP of a game dictated by the running backs.

    Temple vs. Toledo Prediction

    Final Score: Temple 30, Toledo 24, Line: Temple -1.5, o/u: 51
    Must See Rating: 5: Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens – 1: Property Brothers at Home on the Ranch… 2.5

    MORE: 10 Best College Football Bowl Games


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