If nothing else, it’s warm.
Thanks in very large part to FIU’s major gaffe to start the game, Toledo (7-5) jumped out to a 10-0 lead in the first quarter. After an FIU (8-4) touchdown cut the lead to three early in the second, Toledo was driving deep in FIU’s territory when their own gaffe, a Bryant Koback fumble inside the five-yard line, cost them what would’ve been a near-certain touchdown. It also ultimately cost them seven points as FIU turned around and drove 96 yards for the go-ahead touchdown.
Add it all up, and the Panthers headed into halftime with a 14-10 lead in what thus far has been a mostly listless — and sparsely-attended — Makers Wanted Bowl in the Bahamas.
In replacing James Morgan (school-record 26 touchdown passes), Christian Alexander struggled early on in the passing game but then came on late, finishing the half 8-of-16 passing for 93 yards. Alexander connected with Sterling Palmer on a 36-yard touchdown pass that gave the Panthers their first lead of the game On that scoring drive, Alexander also ripped off a huge 41-yard run that flipped field position in a significant way.
After forcing a punt on the ensuing possession,
Alexander’s Toledo counterpart, Eli Peters, meanwhile, completed nine of his 18 passes for 127 yards. The Rockets’ rushing offense couldn’t muster much, gaining just 33 yards on 16 carries.
Were it not for the first few seconds of the game, Toledo could’ve found itself in an even bigger hole at the half. FIU received the opening kickoff, albeit very briefly as it turned out as Bryce Singleton looked utterly confused in fielding the ball and ultimately fumbled it over to Toledo inside the five-yard line.