Appalachian State (8-4) at Toledo (11-2)
When: Saturday, December 23rd 2017
Where: Ladd-Peebles Stadium, Mobile, AL
Time: 7:00 ET | TV: ESPN
Opening Odds: Toledo -8/62.5
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The Appalachian State Mountaineers and Toledo Rockets should be familiar with each other even though they play in different conferences, as they meet for the second year in a row in the state of Alabama. These teams played a tight one last season in the Camellia Bowl in Montgomery, Ala., as Appalachian State escaped with a 31-28 victory after the Rockets missed a potential game-tying field goal in the closing minutes and they will get a chance at some revenge in this year’s Dollar General Bowl in Mobile. Toledo won the Mid-American Conference title, while Appalachian State earned a share of the Sun Belt regular season championship – the Sun Belt doesn’t have a championship game. Two of the most explosive quarterbacks will take center-stage in this one as Toledo senior Logan Woodside faces-off against Appalachian State senior Taylor Lamb. Both QBs have thrown for more than 25 touchdowns and fewer than eight interceptions – a feat matched by only one other quarterback in the FBS, Heisman Trophy winner Baker Mayfield of Oklahoma. With Lamb at quarterback, the Mountaineers have won 35 of their last 44 games – the best record of any Group of 5 team. Woodside hasn’t been quite as good this season as he was in 2016, when he completed nearly 70 percent of his passes for over 4,000 yards and 45 touchdowns, but Toledo’s running game has been so good that Woodside doesn’t need to be spectacular. The Rockets own the nation’s 26th-best rushing attack with 2,834 yards and 32 touchdowns. Terry Swanson and Shakif Seymour together have replaced current NFL Rookie of the Year candidate Kareem Hunt by combining for 26 touchdowns.
Lamb can hurt an opponent with his legs as well as his arm, something he did in last season’s bowl game when he ran for 126 yards and one touchdown against the Rockets. The Mountaineers’ defense struggled this season, giving up 82 points in back-to-back losses to Massachusetts and Louisiana Monroe, but solidified themselves over the final three games by allowing 30 total points. The unit is led by senior linebacker Eric Boggs, who has a team-leading 97 tackles, senior defensive end Antonious Sims (13.5 tackles for loss, including 9.5 sacks) and sophomore defensive back Clifton Duck (10 career interceptions). The Mountaineers have a terrific offensive line with three All-Sun Belt first team members in seniors Beau Nunn and Colby Gossett and sophomore Victor Johnson.
Swanson and Seymour were one of eight sets of teammates nationally to score double-digit rushing touchdowns this season. In addition to having a 1,000-yard rusher in Swanson, the Rockets also feature a 1,000-yard receiver in Diontae Johnson, who sat out last season due to injury after catching 14 balls as a freshman. Johnson boasts 1,257 receiving yards and 13 touchdowns – including 118 yards and two scores in the MAC title game victory over Akron. Jon’Vea Johnson, who has taken over as the No. 2 receiver after a mid-season injury to Cody Thompson, has racked up 10 catches for 199 yards and one score in the last two games.
NCAA FOOTBALL ODDS – SCORES – PUBLIC PLAYS
These teams are pretty evenly matched on defense, but the offensive edge goes to Toledo and their rushing attack. Is it enough to win the game by a touchdown? I don’t think so. Appalachian State can score with the best of them behind their sensational offensive line. I expect another close game like last year’s contest.
Pick: Appalachian State +7
- Mountaineers are 5-1 ATS in their last 6 games after allowing less than 20 points in their previous game.
- Mountaineers are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games following a ATS win.
- Mountaineers are 4-1 ATS vs. a team with a winning record.
- Mountaineers are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games following a straight up win of more than 20 points.
- Mountaineers are 6-13 ATS in their last 19 games after accumulating more than 200 yards rushing in their previous game.
- Mountaineers are 3-7 ATS in their last 10 games after accumulating more than 450 total yards in their previous game.
- Mountaineers are 2-5 ATS in their last 7 games after scoring more than 40 points in their previous game.
- Rockets are 6-1 ATS in their last 7 games after scoring more than 40 points in their previous game.
- Rockets are 6-1-1 ATS in their last 8 games after allowing more than 280 yards passing in their previous game.
- Rockets are 16-4-1 ATS in their last 21 games after accumulating more than 200 yards rushing in their previous game.
- Rockets are 4-1-1 ATS in their last 6 vs. S-Belt.
- Rockets are 6-2 ATS in their last 8 games overall.
- Rockets are 6-2 ATS in their last 8 games on fieldturf.
- Rockets are 5-2 ATS in their last 7 games following a straight up win.
- Rockets are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 non-conference games.
- Rockets are 1-4-1 ATS in their last 6 games in December.
- Under is 10-1 in Mountaineers last 11 games after scoring more than 40 points in their previous game.
- Under is 5-1 in Mountaineers last 6 games after allowing less than 20 points in their previous game.
- Under is 4-1 in Mountaineers last 5 games following a straight up win of more than 20 points.
- Under is 4-1 in Mountaineers last 5 vs. a team with a winning record.
- Under is 9-3 in Mountaineers last 12 games after accumulating more than 200 yards rushing in their previous game.
- Under is 8-1 in Rockets last 9 games after allowing more than 280 yards passing in their previous game.
- Under is 4-1 in Rockets last 5 neutral site games.
- Over is 6-2 in Rockets last 8 non-conference games.
- Under is 6-2 in Rockets last 8 games after scoring more than 40 points in their previous game.
- Under is 23-9-1 in Rockets last 33 vs. a team with a winning record.
- Under is 10-4 in Rockets last 14 games following a ATS loss.
- Under is 9-4 in Rockets last 13 games after accumulating more than 280 yards passing in their previous game.