Boca Raton Bowl: Toledo 21, Liberty 19
Jason Candle won his first game as Toledo’s coach in the 2017 Boca Raton Bowl, defeating Temple in a rainstorm. As Toledo faced the Liberty in the exact same bowl, it was the Rockets who pushed their second bowl victory in the Candle Era up a notch after another rainy Tuesday night. It was a strong finish to the season that Candle won his MAC Championship for the second time, and the title against Ohio. It was a great play.
Liberty’s early advantage and late-game charge were impressive, considering they are in the midst of a coaching change with Hugh Freese moving to Auburn and Jamie Chadwell taking over for 2023. Offensive callers, but the biggest story on the field was mostly how both defenses held the advantage. Chadwell was present at Liberty to support and promote his football, but his attacking influence did not seem to translate into the game.
The Candles, who were promoted after Matt Campbell moved to Iowa State, have lost four straight bowl games since making their coaching debut in the 2017 Boca Raton Bowl. The Rockets were dominant in all four games, as they were against Liberty on Tuesday, so when things started to level off early on, it was worth wondering if Toledo would be short again in the postseason. . Toledo’s first-half drive included three punts, one turnover on downs, one field goal and zero touchdowns, with Finn and the offense moving the ball against the Flames defense. It gave me the impression that I couldn’t do it.
But that story turned upside down on the first drive of the second half, when Finn led the Rockets with a 75-yard drive in 13 plays that ended with a touchdown toss to Lenny Cool to give Toledo a 10–7 lead. gave
Liberty were self-harming heavily throughout the third quarter, limiting their ability to react and increasing Toledo’s scoring chances. There was a fumble deep in Liberty territory setting up a field goal for Toledo, and multiple penalties that turned a touchdown opportunity into a missed field goal attempt. It looked like the flames were cooking until they connected with a pair of touchdown passes in the 4th quarter.
Toledo happily snapped a four-game bowl losing streak, but Liberty became just the second program in FBS history to win a bowl game in each of the school’s first four years of bowl qualification. I missed an opportunity. The Flames went 3-1 overall in bowl games, Toledo went 11-9 overall in bowl games, and since 2010 he’s 4-6.