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College Football Analysis: Military Bowl Game Preview

Offensive coordinator Matt Campbell takes over as head coach after Tim Beckman left Toledo to replace Ron Zook at Illinois. Although Beckman’s coaching years were spent on the defensive side of the ball, it was Campbell’s spread-option offense that propelled the Rockets in 2011. Toledo used a balanced attack of passing and rushing to garner the most points in the MAC (42.3 ppg), a mark good for eighth nationally.

Since the start of November, Toledo’s scoring increased to an FBS-best 53.8 points per game. With an average of 221.2 ypg rushing (14th in the nation) and 272 passing ypg, the Rockets are one of 14 FBS schools above 200 ypg in both offensive categories. Terrance Owens has made two starts since replacing Austin Dantin who started the first ten games but was sidelined with a concussion; Dantin is expected to be available, but it is unclear who will get the start. In the three games Owens has played in, he has a completion percentage of 80.2%, while throwing for 860 yards, nine touchdowns and one interception.

All-conference receiver Eric Page is third in the country with 112 receptions, 1123 yards, and 10 TDs, including 16 catches for 145 yards and a score in the 45-28 win over Ball State in the regular-season finale. Adonis Thomas has 648 yards and eight TDs in four games, leading the team with 963 yards and 11 TDs total. Morgan Williams also ran in 11 TDs and has gained 671 yards this season. Defensively, Toledo has allowed an average of 30.9 points per game, ranked ninth in the MAC and 89th nationally and is second to last in the conference in passing defense allowing 277.9 ypg (109th in FBS). However, the run defense has been solid, holding opponents to a MAC-best 123.2 yards on the ground, ranked 25th in the nation.

While the Rockets use the balanced spread-option, Air Force relies on their triple-option ground attack. The Falcons are second in the FBS in rushing with 320.3 yards per game and are fourth in the nation with rushing touchdowns with 38. Asher Clark leads the team with 1096 yards and six TDs, while Mike DeWitt has 546 yards and 10 scores.

QB Tim Jefferson also has contributed 10 TDs and added 492 yards on the ground. In the air, Air Force is 113th in the FBS averaging 138.5 ypg with Jefferson passing for a regular-season total of 1478 yards, 12 TDs and 6 INTs including a 221 yard, three touchdown performance in the 45-21 victory over Colorado State on November 26th.

Jefferson has made 43 straight starts with 64 career touchdowns and is the only quarterback in the history of service academies to lead his team to four consecutive bowl games. On the other side of the ball, Air Force’s defense is just as unbalanced as their offense, allowing 27.3 ppg (65th in FBS) and 227.75 rushing ypg (113th), but are ranked sixth nationally in passing defense holding opponents to an average of 162.7 ypg. In the last two games of the regular season, the Falcons allowed 259 rushing yards to UNLV and Colorado State to rack up 348 yards on the ground.

Dory LeBlanc, covers Gator sports for Gators First and Not just a college sports enthusiast, Dory is also a fan of NFL, NHL, NBA, and MLB. Born outside Philly, she moved to Tampa, and now resides in Illinois, giving her a broad perspective on the sporting world. You can follow Dory on twitter @DoryLeBlanc


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