Fasten your seatbelts – the 2016 bowl season is about to take off. Before its over, six MAC teams will be participating in bowls. Leading it all off is a potentially outstanding matchup in the Raycom Media Camellia Bowl, where the Toledo Rockets meet the Appalachian State Mountaineers.
Both teams fashioned a 9-3 overall mark, flirting with spectacular seasons. Both have offensive weaspons, while still being able to shine on defense. Among the matchups Saturday will be Toledo’s passing offense against App State’s outstanding pass defense. But there will be plenty of other battles going on across the gridiron, as well.
Here’s more on the two teams . . .
Raycom Media Camellia Bowl
Saturday, Dec. 17, 5:30 p.m. ET
Crampton Bowl, Montgomery, Alabama
APPALACHIAN STATE (9-3, 6-2 SUN BELT)
► This is the second straight Camellia Bowl for Appalachian State. The Mountaineers defeated Ohio, 31-29, last year on a field goal as time expired. Ohio owned a 24-7 lead heading into the final quarter. With the victory, App State became the first team to post a bowl win in their first year of FBS bowl eligibility.
► The Mountainneers are 20-2 in Sun Belt play since the middle of 2014.
► The Sun Belt champions have won eight of their last nine games. The only loss in that stretch was a 28-24 loss at Troy.
► The Mountaineers met one MAC team in the non-conference schedule, defeating Akron 45-38 on the road. App State also defeated Old Dominion (31-7). ODU is now headed to a bowl game, meeting Eastern Michigan in the Popeyes Bahamas Bowl. Non-conference losses were to No. 9 Tennessee (20-13 in overtime), and #25 Miami (454-10).
► Appalachian State averages 29.1 ppg, second in the Sunbelt and 65th nationally.
► The Mountaineers run game has provided 57.3 percent of the offense and 64 percent of the offense’s 42 TDs.
► Sophomore Jalin Moore (5-11, 205) has carried 221 times for 1,367 yards and 10 TDs. He has exceeded 100 yards rushing in eight of the last nine games. His only game beneath the century mark was 91 yards against Troy, and the Moutaineers lost that game.
► Senior RB Marcus Cox missed four games during the middle of the season. He has registered more than 100 yards rushing in four of the five outings since coming back and averaged 115.2 ypg during that span.
► Quarterback Taylor Lamb has completed 62.5 percent of his passes, good for 2,162 yards and 14 TDs with eight interceptions.
► The Mountaineers top receiver is junior Shaedon Meadors (6-2, 185) owns 43 receptions for 698 yards and two TDs. Tight end Barrett Burns has a team-high three TDs.
► Mountaineers head coach Scott Sattefield was an assistant at Toledo for one season (2009) under then-head coach Tim Beckman.
TOLEDO ROCKETS (9-3, 6-2 MAC)
► Saturday marks the sixth bowl outing in the last seven years for UT.
► Were it not for an electrical storm that cancelled their opening 2015 game, the Rockets likely would have entered Saturday’s game with identical 9-3, 6-2 MAC records).
► Toledo was coming off a regular season final loss to Western Michigan in 2015, but rebounded to defeat No. 24 Temple, 32-17. The Rockets will be looking to perform a similar rebound after falling to No. 21 Western Michigan, 55-35, in the 2016 regular season finale.
► UT is on pace to shatter the school records for total offense and passing offense. The Rockets are averaging 529.8 yards of total offense. The passing attack is producing 329.1 yards per game.
► Junior quarterback Logan Woodside leads all FBS quarterbacks with 43 touchdown passes. He has already climbed atop the UT passing record book with 3,882 yards on 271 attempts this year. He has completed 69.1 percent of his passes and has nine interceptions on the year.
► Among Woodside’s targets is tight end Michael Roberts, who leads the FBS ranks in tight end TDs (15). The rest of the receiving corps includes Cody Thompson (59 catches, 1,170 yards, 10 TDs), Jon’Vea Johnson (38/751/10) and Corey Jones (60/745/5).
► The Rockets potent passing attack will be matched up against a formidable defense. The Mountaineers ranked 7th nationally in scoring defense (17 ppg). The 94 points allowed in Sun Belt play were the fewest allowed in conference play by any FBS team this season. Freshman CB Clifton Duck’s five interceptions rank sixth nationally. The 20 team picks was second behind San Diego State (22) and Wisconsin, both of which played 13 games.
► RB Kareem Hunt has rushed for 1,355 yards and needs just 25 more to break UT’s career record.
► Toledo ranks in the top 10 in the nation in six categories: total offense, pasing offense, third-down conversion, red-zone offense and sacks allowed.
► The Rockets defense is led by senior safety DeJuan Rogers (82 tackles), senior end John Stepec (14.0 tfl) and senior defensive tackle Treyvon Hester (5.9 sacks).
► This is the first meeting between Toledo and Appalachian State. The Rockets are 7-0 against Sun Belt Conference teams. The most recent meeting was a 31-10 victory over Arkansas State in UT’s 2016 season opener.