Toledo to play FIU in Bahamas Bowl

The University of Toledo Rockets have booked their ticket to the 2018 Makers Wanted Bahamas Bowl, and according to Head Coach Jason Candle, at a press conference on Friday inside the foyer of the Thomas A. Robinson National Stadium, they are as excited as they could be. They will take on the Florida International University (FIU) Panthers in the game on Friday December 21 at the Thomas A. Robinson stadium. The game is set to get underway at 12:30 p.m.

The Rockets finished second in the Mid-American Conference (MAC) West Division with a 7-5 win-loss record. This is their eighth bowl game in the nine last seasons.

Candle said it is not easy to make it to a bowl game. He said they are excited to be chosen to play in this particular game here in The Bahamas.

“I am happy for our seniors to get almost 40 wins over the last four years and to be playing in a bowl game again. It is a real difficult task to attain, going through a coaching change. We have 12 seniors, so I’m happy for those guys to be together and play in this great environment,” Candle said.

Third-year Head Coach Candle hopes to send off the seniors with a win in the bowl game.

Also on hand at the press conference was Vice President and Athletic Director of Toledo Mike O’Brien. O’Brien said he and his team wanted this bowl game.

“This is the bowl game that our team wanted to come to. I was fortunate enough to be in the room when Coach Candle made the announcement. They are really excited. They may never have an opportunity to be back here in The Bahamas so I really appreciate Makers Wanted and Atlantis making this happen,” O’Brien said.

Offensively, the Rockets are potent. They averaged 40.2 points per game but allowed 31.7 points per game. Candle said he has a number of playmakers on the team.

“We are blessed to have different playmakers on the team. It is a challenge every week to make sure that you do a good job as a coach in getting them the football and give them their opportunities. We have been able to be very efficient offensively. Our guys have done well in the situational aspects of the game. I am very happy for our team and excited to be down here,” said Candle.

He is not worried at all about having less experience than Panthers’ Head Coach Butch Davis. He had nothing but kind words to say about Davis and the Panthers. Candle said: “ Coach Davis has been doing this a long time. His track record speaks for itself. As a young coach, I watched him.”

For the Rockets, they will be playing in the 18th bowl game in school history. Their win-loss record in those bowl games is 11-6. They ended the season with two huge wins, defeating Kent State 56-34 and beating Central Michigan 51-13. They will hope to carry over that same high-powered offensive strategy against the Panthers.

The leading passer on the Rockets is Eli Peters. He passed for 1,573 yards to go along with 15 touchdown passes this season. He completed 54.6 percent of his passes. They have three receivers who have over 500 receiving yards this season – Diontae Johnson (663), Jon’Vea Johnson (611) and Cody Thompson (592).

It is expected to be a very exciting game as these two teams go head-to-head.

Tickets are currently on sale for the game at the Thomas A. Robinson Stadium box office. The game will also be broadcast live on ESPN.

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Simba French

Simba joined The Nassau Guardian in 2012 as a technical producer for Guardian Radio 96.9 FM. He joined the Editorial Department as a sports reporter in 2018. Simba has covered a wide range of sports stories, including the 2018 CARIFTA in Nassau, Bahamas. Education: College of the Bahamas, BA Media Journalism

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