« Little Caesars Pizza Bowl: FIU vs. Toledo -- TONIGHT! | Main | Live blog from sort of warm Miami »

Little Caesars Pizza Bowl Edges

FIU OFFENSE VS. TOLEDO DEFENSE

EDGE: PUSH

Both sides have the same strength: Controlling the line of scrimmage, and by extension, the running game. The Golden Panthers' rush offense is ranked 28th nationally, gaining 189.2 yards per game. Toledo's run defense? It's also the 28th-best, surrendering just 130.6. The game may hinge on FIU's ability to block senior Archie Donald, Toledo's second-team all-conference linebacker.

FIU DEFENSE VS. TOLEDO OFFENSE

EDGE: FIU

With all due respect to T.Y. Hilton, Toledo's Eric Page is probably the best player on the field. But the Rockets' offense has a problem. It doesn't have much anything else. Page has accounted for 26.6 percent of Toledo's 4,314 yards of offensive output. Expect FIU, statistically the Sun Belt's top defense, to stick all-conference corner Anthony Gaitor on Page, and then pressure freshman quarterback Terrance Owens into making bad decisions.

SPECIAL TEAMS

EDGE: FIU

In the return game, Page - named first-team All-American by several publications - and Hilton, the Sun Belt player of the year, are essentially a wash. Both are outstanding. But if it comes down to a game-winning field goal, the Panthers have to like their chances. FIU kicker Jack Griffin has made 15 of 18 FG attempts this year, with a long of 50 yards. Toledo's combination of Bill Claus and Ryan Casano has missed 8 of 13 tries.

COACHING

EDGE: PUSH

For FIU coach Mario Cristobal and Toledo's Tim Beckman, this is all brand new. Both are bowl newbies, at least in the top job. Combined, they have just six seasons of head coaching experience after spending decades as assistants. Cristobal is an offensive guy, while Beckman's specialty is defense. He was a three-time nominee for the Frank Broyles Award, which goes to the nation's top assistant coach, while the defensive coordinator at Bowling Green.

INTANGIBLES

EDGE: TOLEDO

With Ford Field just 63 miles from campus, the Rockets could only have more of a homefield advantage if the game were played at the Glass Bowl. Expect Toledo fans to outnumber FIU partisans by 10-to-1, at least. And while none of the current Rockets were around for Toledo's last bowl appearance, at least the school has some postseason history. Toledo is 7-3 all-time in bowl games, and played in Detroit three times between 2001 and 2004. This is a first for FIU.

TrackBack

TrackBack URL for this entry:
http://www.typepad.com/services/trackback/6a00d83451b26169e20148c710376b970c

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Little Caesars Pizza Bowl Edges:

Comments