Friday afternoon, Middle Tennessee and Toledo face off in the Bahamas Bowl, officially kicking off bowl szn. Sure, I could tell you who I think will win and why but where is the fun in that? Fun fact about me: I am a numbers girl - I love stats and generally they love me back.
Another fun fact: Entering the 2021 Bahamas Bowl, both of the teams playing rank first nationally in at least one category. Maybe that’s why DraftKings predicts this game will be relatively close with Toledo -11 heading into this contest.
Let’s take a closer look at which statistics will prove most fun under the Bahamian sun.
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Toledo’s six turnovers, two interceptions and four lost fumbles, is the fewest lost by any team at the FBS level. Conversely, MTSU’s 31 takeaways tops all FBS teams. So the question has to be asked: what does an unstoppable force do when it meets an immovable object?
When you have an offense as efficient and careful as Toledo’s and a defense as disruptive as Middle’s, you just keeping doing what you do. Middle Tennessee leads the nation with 15 fumbles recovered and tied for fifth in the FBS with 16 interceptions and the Blue Raiders are tied for the FBS lead with six regular-season defensive touchdowns, three interceptions and three fumbles.
Yards per Game
The Blue Raiders’ offense has been in the bottom-third nationally with 351.1 total yards per game. They are also averaging just 10.4 yards per completion entering the Bahamas Bowl, the 11th-lowest mark in the FBS.
Toledo’s offense is the opposite, ranking first in the MAC in scoring offense (34.2). Redshirt freshman Dequan Finn has 418 rushing yards this season with eight rushing touchdowns - his season-high 106 rushing yards was against Ball State. Finn has racked up 1855 yards in the air this season, with a season-high of 461 passing yards against Eastern Michigan. He has 16 touchdowns and only one interception. Finn will be backed up by freshman Tucker Gleason, a Georgia Tech transfer who’s completed 5-of-9 passes this season for 69 yards and rushed three times for four yards in three games this season.
Two words: Samuel Womack. The senior cornerback has 15 pass breakups this season, ranking him third in the nation. He has a total of 40 career PBU’s, the most in Toledo history.
Two more words: Jamal Hines. The three-time All-MAC selection junior has 82 tackles, 10 sacks and eight pass breakups on the year and is bound to be a nightmare for the Middle Tennessee offense.