Start time: 7:00 PM ET, Tuesday, December 22
Where: Boca Raton, Florida, FAU Stadium
Series: Toledo leads 7-3
Betting Line: Temple -1.5, Over/Under Points Total: 51.5
When Toledo has the ball
As the numbers suggest, Temple's defense is stout. Their opponents had success with explosive plays but if they weren't breaking huge runs or connecting on deep passes they weren't moving the ball.
Fortunately for the Toledo Rockets that's what they do best. Kareem Hunt and Terry Swanson both have over 800 rushing yards and have combined for 17 rushing touchdowns.
Despite Temple ranking tenth at Overall Havoc Rate, seventh at DL Havoc Rate, and 22nd at LB Havoc Rate, they rank a disappointing 103rd at Standard Downs Run Rate. That's not good when you're playing an offense that ranks 40th at Standard Downs Run Rate.
Tyler Matakevich must play a monster game at linebacker in order to keep the Rockets from running up and down on the Owl defense.
The one thing that's going for the Owls is that Toledo ranks 94th in finishing drives whereas Temple does a great job of playing a bend-but-don't-break defense as they rank 20th.
When Temple has the ball
Wow. I thought Temple may not have many advantages over the Toledo defense but I was not expecting the numbers to give the Rockets an edge in all but one category. Temple has the field position edge but that was to be expected as teams with great defenses are more willing to play it safe and hope for a mistake.
Temple's offense has looked good in spurts as P.J. Walker will use his legs to move the ball as well as his arm but that's really the only threat Toledo has to worry about. Being that Walker has completed 57% of his passes the Rockets probably don't have to worry much about Walker's arm. Just keep him in the pocket and they should be fine.
Toledo has a better offense than Temple, and a defense just as good as Temple. S&P gives Toledo a 57% win probability but Vegas favors Temple. That's probably more due to the Owls being more in the nation's consciousness with games against Notre Dame and Houston.
The key to the game will be Toledo's defense against Temple's offense. Toledo has played against much better offenses in the MAC. If they keep Temple's offense grounded they should be able to separate themselves at some point in the game due to having a more dynamic offense.
Toledo did lose head coach Matt Campbell to Iowa State but promoted offensive coordinator Jason Candle to head coach so I don't expect the Rockets to miss a beat under Candle.
Kareem Hunt and Terry Swanson will lead the way for the Rockets as they both will score touchdowns en route to a Toledo Rockets win.
Toledo 23 Temple 10