Boca Raton Bowl: Liberty (8-4) vs. Toledo (8-5), Dec. 20, 7:30 p.m. EST (ESPN)
FANDUEL SPORTSBOOK COLLEGE LINE: Liberty by 4 1/2.
Series record: Toledo leads 3-0.
WHAT’S AT STAKE
The Liberty Flames look to win their fourth straight bowl game and end the 2022 season on a high note after losing their last three games. The Toledo Rockets will go for their 11th bowl win in 19 appearances overall. Toledo has lost its last four bowl appearances.
Toledo QB Dequan Finn vs. Liberty defense. Finn has had a ton of success this season as a dual threat. He led the MAC with 30 total touchdowns — 22 passing, eight rushing. He finished the season with 2,127 yards passing and 608 yards rushing, which was second-most on the team. Finn has thrown 12 interceptions this season and will face a Liberty defense that has generated 23 takeaways (14 interceptions, nine fumble recoveries).
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Liberty: WR Demario Douglas led the Flames with 977 yards receiving on 73 catches and six TDs. He’s had at least seven catches in his past six games and is averaging 13.4 yards per catch for the season.
Toledo: CB Quinyon Mitchell leads the country in passes defensed with 20. Mitchell, who earned multiple All-American honors, has a team-best five interceptions on the season. In an October win over Northern Illinois, Mitchell tied a school record with four interceptions, two of which he returned for TDs.
FACTS & FIGURES
Liberty will be led by interim coach Josh Aldridge, who has served as the Flames’ linebackers coach and co-defensive coordinator. Hugh Freeze left the program for Auburn after four years as head coach. Jamey Chadwell will take over as permanent head coach for next season. … The Flames are 3-0 all-time in bowl appearances. … Liberty started the season 8-1 and was ranked No. 19 before ending the season with losses to UConn, Virginia Tech and New Mexico State. … Toledo’s 8-5 finish this season was its best since finishing 11-3 in 2017. … The Rockets are 1-4 in bowl games under coach Jason Candle. … Toledo won the Boca Raton Bowl in 2015, just after Candle had the interim tag removed. … The Rockets lost their final two regular-season games but defeated Ohio 17-7 in the MAC Championship game for Candle’s second conference championship. … Toledo lost 31-24 to Middle Tennessee State in the Bahamas bowl last year. … Former Flames QB Malik Willis led Liberty past Eastern Michigan 56-20 in the LendingTree Bowl last year.
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