Dollar General Bowl Preview: Appalachian State vs. Toledo

DOLLAR GENERAL BOWL STORYLINES

1. Mobile, Ala., will be the site for a December 23 rematch between Toledo and Appalachian State, who will meet in a bowl game for the second straight season – this time in the Dollar General Bowl. Toledo and the Mountaineers played right down to the wire last season in the Camellia Bowl in Montgomery, Ala., as Appalachian State escaped with a 31-28 victory after the Rockets missed a potential game-tying field goal with fewer than two minutes remaining. Toledo won the Mid-American Conference title and Appalachian State earned a share of the Sun Belt championship.

2. This game will feature two of the nation’s most efficient quarterbacks in Toledo senior Logan Woodside and Appalachian State senior Taylor Lamb, each of whom has thrown for more than 25 touchdowns and fewer than eight interceptions – a feat matched by only one other quarterback in the FBS, Heisman Trophy finalist Baker Mayfield of Oklahoma. With Lamb at quarterback, the Mountaineers have won 35 of their last 44 games – the best record of any Group of 5 team and one that is topped by only five power conference teams. Unlike his counterpart from Toledo, Lamb can hurt an opponent with his legs, something he did in last season’s bowl game when he ran for 126 yards and one touchdown against the Rockets.

3. Woodside hasn’t been quite as good this season as he was in 2016, when he completed nearly 70 percent of his passes for over 4,000 yards and 45 touchdowns, but he hasn’t needed to be with Toledo’s running game churning out 2,834 yards and 32 touchdowns. Terry Swanson and Shakif Seymour have more than made up for the loss of NFL Rookie of the Year candidate Kareem Hunt by combining for 26 touchdowns while becoming one of eight sets of teammates nationally to score double-digit rushing touchdowns. “We don’t want to go out with a bad taste in our mouths,” Swanson, who has run for 3,557 career yards, told reporters. “It is a chance to go out and win 12 games, something that has only been done here a couple of times. “

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ABOUT APPALACHIAN STATE (8-4, 7-1 Sun Belt): The Mountaineers’ defense struggled for much of the year, including giving up 82 points in back-to-back losses to Massachusetts and Louisiana Monroe, but regained its form over the final three games by allowing 30 total points. The unit is led by senior linebacker Eric Boggs, who boasts a team-leading 97 tackles, senior defensive end Antonious Sims (13.5 tackles for loss, including 9.5 sacks) and sophomore defensive back Clifton Duck (10 career interceptions). On offense, the Mountaineers operate behind an offensive line with three All-Sun Belt first team members in seniors Beau Nunn and Colby Gossett and sophomore Victor Johnson. 

ABOUT TOLEDO (11-2, 7-1 MAC): In addition to having a 1,000-yard rusher in Swanson, the Rockets also feature a 1,000-yard receiver in Diontae Johnson. The sophomore, who sat out last season due to injury after catching 14 balls as a freshman, has 1,257 receiving yards and 13 touchdowns – including 118 yards and two scores in the MAC title game victory over Akron. Jon’Vea Johnson, who has taken over as the No. 2 receiver after a mid-season injury to Cody Thompson, has racked up 10 catches for 199 yards and one score in the last two games.

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