Kareem Hunt

Associated Press

Appalachian State claims second straight Camellia Bowl thriller

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If the College Football Playoff games can be half as good as the Camellia Bowl, we’ll be in good hands this bowl season.

For the second consecutive December, Appalachian State won a back-and-forth Camellia Bowl, backing up last year’s buzzer-beating 31-29 defeat of Ohio with a 31-28 see-saw win over Toledo on Saturday night.

In what would be the theme all night, the Mountaineers opened the scoring on a 72-yard drive capped by a 16-yard scoring strike from Taylor Lamb to Deltron Hopkins only to see Toledo immediately answer when Logan Woodside found Michael Roberts for a 15-yard score to end a 75-yard march.

Midway through the second quarter, Marcus Cox put App State back in front when he punched in a 13-yard rush to close a 93-yard march, which Kareem Hunt later answered by way of a 26-yard rush to tie the game at 14 at the break.

App State again opened the scoring in the second half, this time a 13-yard Lamb rush, and Toledo again answered on a 4-yard toss from Woodside to Cody Thompson. Appalachian State immediately nudged back in front when Darrynton Evans raced the ensuing kickoff 94 yards for a touchdown to give the Mountaineers a 28-21 lead. Five plays later, Toledo knotted its fourth tie when Hunt found pay dirt for a second time with a 1-yard plunge with 43 ticks left in the third quarter.

The Mountaineers blew a scoring chance on their next possession when a fake field goal pass on a 4th-and-13 flew incomplete, but the App State defense held serve by forcing a three-and-out. Back in field goal range a second time, App State head coach Scott Satterfield made the sensible call by asking Michael Rubino to knock in a 39-yard field goal, which he did, giving the Mountaineers a 31-28 lead with 5:14 remaining.

Given a chance to break serve and take their first lead, Toledo could not convert a 3rd-and-2 rush from the App State 8-yard line. Rockets head coach Jason Candle briefly looked like he was going to try a make-or-break 4th-and-2 with the clock rolling under two minutes to go but accepted a delay of game instead. He will live to regret that decision; Jameson Vest‘s game-tying 30-yard field goal sailed wide right.

Appalachian State (10-3) accepted the ball with 1:42 remaining and did not give it back. The Mountaineers out-rushed Toledo (9-4) 297-127 on the night. Lamb carried nine times for 126 yards and a score while completing 14-of-32 throws for 119 yards and a touchdown. Cox rushed 22 times for a game-high 143 yards and a touchdown.

For Toledo, Woodside completed 18-of-26 passes for 247 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions, while Hunt added 22 carries for 120 yards and two scores.

Toledo, App State deadlocked halfway through Camellia Bowl

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Toledo and Appalachian State are tied at 14-14 halfway through the Camellia Bowl.

In a see-saw affair, App State has taken two touchdown leads only to see Toledo tie the game each time. Taylor Lamb has hit 9-of-21 for 81 yards and a touchdown with four carries for 52 yards, while Marcus Cox has rushed 13 times for 90 yards and a score.

For Toledo, Logan Woodside is an efficient 10-of-13 for 130 yards and a score, while Kareem Hunt has carried 10 times for 42 yards and a touchdown. He is the only play to rush the ball for Toledo thus far.

Appalachian State will receive to open the second half.

 

WR Corey Davis sets FBS record as No. 21 Western Michigan remains undefeated with victory over Toledo

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For most of the day, it was truly a Black Friday for potential Group of Five teams across the country.

No. 19 Boise State was upset by Air Force while No. 20 Houston was more consumed with Tom Herman coaching speculation than with beating Memphis.

No. 21 Western Michigan paid no attention to those losses however and made a convincing case they were the best Group of Five team in the country by dispatching Toledo 55-35 and securing the MAC West title in record-setting fashion.

Wide receiver Corey Davis finished with eight catches for 81 yards and a touchdown to set a new FBS mark for career receiving yardage in the process. The mark was previously held by Nevada’s Trevor Insley at 5,005 yards but Davis will have plenty of time to put more distance between second place with the MAC title game and a bowl still left on Western Michigan’s schedule.

Broncos quarterback Zach Terrell had an ever efficient night, throwing for 196 yards and three touchdowns. As solid as he was however, he took a backseat to the rest of his backfield as Jamauri Bogan rushed for 198 yards and a touchdown while Jarvion Franklin had a relatively quiet night but did find the end zone twice.

Toledo’s normally potent offense was limited most of the night despite finishing with decent numbers by the final whistle. Signal-caller Logan Woodside had three touchdown passes and two picks on just 229 yards while terrific tailback Kareem Hunt rushed for 200 yards and found the end zone once.

The result concludes a terrific 9-3 debut season for first-year Rockets coach Jason Candle, even if the team couldn’t overcome their division rival on Friday. As for his opposite number P.J. Fleck, all eyes are on Western Michigan as they head into the MAC title game undefeated next week against Ohio.

With losses around the country, only No. 25 Navy represents a challenge to the Broncos for capturing that elusive Group of Five bid and a trip to the Cotton Bowl. Both need to win their conferences to actually end up with the bid but judging by the way the Broncos looked on Friday night, chances are high they’ll be sitting there undefeated entering the final set of rankings.

Toledo fends off Temple to win Boca Raton Bowl

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Toledo lost coach Matt Campbell to the Iowa State job earlier this month, while Temple coach Matt Rhule rejected overtures from Power Five programs to stay in Philadelphia. But in the Boca Raton Bowl, it was the team that lost its head coach that played far better than the team that kept its guy.

Toledo rolled No. 24 Temple, 32-17, on a soggy evening Tuesday at Howard Schnellenberger Stadium, giving the Rockets bowl wins in back-to-back season for the first time since 1969-1971 (a stretch in which it won all 35 games it played).

Quarterback Philip Ely, the ex-Alabama quarterback who reportedly was denied an appeal for a sixth year of eligibility by the NCAA, shined against a strong Temple defense, completing 20 of 28 passes for 285 yards and two touchdowns. His 80-yard scoring strike to receiver Cody Thompson early in the fourth quarter was the push Toledo needed for a comfortable win against an Owls offense that spun its metaphorical wheels all evening.

Owls running back Jahad Thomas suffered a leg injury late in the second quarter and did not return, though the guy who rushed for over 1,200 yards in the regular season wasn’t effective before leaving the game (eight carries, five yards). With Thomas stuffed and then taken out of the game, P.J. Walker & Co. struggled to move the ball and gained only 67 yards in the first half.

Temple finally got in the end zone with 2:50 remaining when Kip Patton plunged two yards for a touchdown, and Walker miraculously kept the two-point conversion attempt alive long enough to find a wide open Robby Anderson to pull the Owls within eight.

Toledo narrowly recovered the ensuing onside kick attempt — Temple kicker Tyler Mayes appeared to fall on the ball, but must’ve lost it in the scrum, and both team’s players pointed to indicate their team had possession —  and Kareem Hunt promptly sealed the Rockets’ win with a 41-yard touchdown run.

Toledo finished the season with a 10-2 record, its first double-digit win season since 2001. Temple entered the game with 10 wins, representing its best season since 1979.

Toledo thrashes Bowling Green, but will it matter?

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Toledo played a fantastic game on Tuesday night, winning 44-28 at rival Bowling Green.

The Rockets intercepted Bowling Green standout quarterback Matt Johnson on the first play from scrimmage. They scored touchdowns on their first two possessions and found points on all six of their first half touches. They led 17-0 after one quarter, 30-7 at one point in the second quarter and never allowed the Falcons to pull within one score.

Toledo displayed fantastic balance, as quarterback Phillip Ely completed 16-of-24 passes for 208 yards with a touchdown and an interception while Kareem Hunt rushed 29 times for 153 yards and two touchdowns. Its defense held Johnson, who entered the night as the nation’s second-leading passer, more than 100 yards below his season average an intercepted him twice, half the number of picks Johnson had thrown all season entering the game.

Toledo out-rushed Bowling Green 198-94 while holding the Falcons to 17 points below their season scoring average and more than 200 yards below its yearly yardage average.

All this while playing on the road against a hated rival.

Again, Toledo played a fantastic game on Tuesday night. Perhaps the best any MAC team has posted all season.

But while the Rockets (9-1, 6-1 MAC) went a long way to proving themselves the MAC’s best team, they may not get a chance to win the hardware proving themselves the conference’s top dog.

By virtue of a 32-27 loss to Northern Illinois last Wednesday, the Rockets ceded control of the MAC West to the Huskies – and they aren’t likely to give it back. NIU faces Western Michigan (Wednesday) and Ohio (next Tuesday) to close the season, both at home. Western Michigan is improved, but the Huskies own a six-game winning streak in the series. Ohio is 7-4 on the season, but has been outscored by an average of 51-18 in losses to the three best MAC opponents its faced to date this fall.

And, by the way, Northern Illinois has dropped just one MAC home game in the past seven seasons.

So it is Northern Illinois, not Toledo, that has the inside track to face MAC East champion Bowling Green (8-3, 6-1 MAC) in Detroit for the conference title.

But while Toledo may not have the opportunity to claim a conference championship, they do have the satisfaction of owning an emphatic sixth straight victory in a hated rivalry that dates back to 1919.

Not a bad consolation prize.