Written By Darrell Wilkinson
Boca Raton, FL - After a quarter of slow moving, defensive football the Marmot Boca Bowl exploded at the start of the second quarter and offense started to rear its head. The Toledo Rockets defeated the Temple Owls 32 - 17 in a wet and wild fourth quarter.
Toledo’s offense began the game with 28 total yards in the first quarter but rallied behind senior quarterback Phillip Ely to finish with 435 yards in the game. Ely was masterful from the second quarter on, going 20 for 28 passing for 285 yards and two touchdowns including an 80 yard catch and run by Cody Thompson. The sophomore wide out caught the ball on a slant, raced across field before turning on the jets upfield and finding his way to the end zone with blazing speed.
Temple was expected to come into this game, play physical and pound the rock. That game plan though quickly turned astray once star running back Jahad Thomas, backed up near Temple’s own end zone lost the ball out of bounds causing a safety. This flipped the script for the whole game, as Temple was dominant in terms of possession and Toledo capitalized by scoring the game's first touchdown after retaining possession on the safety. Thomas was injured later in the quarter (knee) and did not return to the game.
With an attendance of 25,908 FAU stadium was jam packed despite the heavy rain that continued to soak the field by the bucketload. While most thought we’d see a resurgence by Temple because of their physical nature it was lacking. Toledo only allowed 99 yards on 33 rushes for Temple as a team, and the nation's number three red zone defense held Temple to three points instead of six at least three times in the game. Temple’s defense led by All-American Tyler Matakevich couldn’t stop Toledo’s passing attack which had 285 yards but also gave up 150 yards on the ground with an equal 33 carries. Matakevich himself had 12 tackles and did all he could, including a near miss interception.
Toledo now improves to 11-4 all time in Bowl games and winners of back to back Bowl games after last years thrilling 63 - 44 GoDaddy Bowl victory. The Matt Campbell era for Toledo ended before the Bowl started as Coach now faces a new challenge at Iowa State, while Jason Candle looks to lead this Rockets team for years to come and secured his first victory as Head Coach. Toledo also won every road game on its schedule this year, which shows a certain grind to the team that they can handle hostile environments. Temple will look to build back up and take another shot at a bowl victory next season with what should be a pretty strong team.
Written by Darrell Wilkinson
Boca Raton, FL - The night started with some uncertainty as the South Florida weather began to open up, casting a shadow about the kind of game the Boca Bowl will feature. With two teams who like to run the ball already in Temple and Toledo we expected a lot of work on the ground for both teams, but that hasn’t been the case. With Toledo leading 12 - 3 over Temple, it’s been on the arm of Rocket’s quarterback Phillip Ely.
After just 28 yards of offense to start the second quarter Toledo has caught fire with 199 yards heading into the second half. Temple held a slim lead after a Austin Jones field goal and then momentum went all the way of the Toledo Rockets. Owl’s star running back Jahad Thomas, backed up near his own end zone was blasted and the ball popped loose and went out the back of the endzone for a safety. Two points Toledo.
The Rockets then on the ensuing possession after the safety drove down on a five play 55-yard drive that was finished off by an emphatic 26-yard catch and run by Corey Jones. Jones, on a hook route caught the ball at the 16 and broke four would-be tacklers on his way to paydirt and put his team in the drivers seat.
Temple has struggled so far, only managing 67 yards of total offense after controlling much of the first quarter. Jahad Thomas looked like a factor early but has only scrounged together five yards on eight carries and will need to dramatically pick it up if he wants to help his team win. The Owl’s defense has done all they can to keep Toledo at bay and will need to be bailed out by their offense in the second half if they want to fight back and take over this game.
Watch for Phillip Ely in the second half as the Toledo signal caller has racked up 168 yards passing with a touchdown and only looks to have gotten started on this now beautiful Tuesday night.
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