AP NEWS

FIU tries for record win, Toledo looks to snap bowl slide

December 20, 2018

Bahamas Bowl: Toledo (7-5) vs. FIU (8-4), Friday, 12:30 p.m. EST. (ESPN)

Line: Toledo by 4 1/2.

Series Record: FIU leads 2-1.

WHAT’S AT STAKE

FIU has an opportunity to post a nine-win season for the first time, and a chance for its second bowl win in program history — the other came in 2010, over Toledo, in the most recent meeting between the schools. Toledo is bidding for a sixth consecutive eight-win season, and could end 2018 on a season-long three-game winning streak.

KEY MATCHUP

FIU secondary vs. Toledo receivers. The Rockets will air it out, and their top three receivers — Cody Thompson, Diontae Johnson and Jon’Vea Johnson — have a combined 75 touchdown catches in their careers. Toledo has also scored 50 or more points six times this season, and FIU does not thrive in high-scoring matchups. FIU is 7-0 this season when holding teams to 24 points or less, 1-4 when teams score more than that.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Toledo: TE Reggie Gilliam has as many blocked punts this season as he has catches — four of each. But when he touches the ball, something good usually happens: Gilliam has three TDs on those four receptions.

FIU: LB Sage Lewis leads the Panthers in tackles, averaging 10 per game, and will have to be the leader of a unit that is going to get spread out all over the field against Toledo’s high-octane offense.

FACTS & FIGURES

Toledo has dropped its last two bowl games. The Rockets have never lost three straight postseason contests. ... Nassau, Bahamas is 1,200 miles from Toledo and only 180 miles from Miami, but that doesn’t mean a shorter trip was an easy trip for the Panthers — they sent much of their cargo by ship, and spent thousands securing passports quickly for players who needed them. ... The teams have Miami as a common opponent this season. Toledo lost to the Hurricanes 49-24, FIU lost to the Hurricanes 31-17. ... It usually takes quite a few points to win the Bahamas Bowl: The four previous editions saw the winning team average 40 points.

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