Camellia Bowl Preview
- Updated: December 16, 2016
It’s bowl week, baby. It’s Toledo week, baby!
Your blogger isn’t going to re-write history here. There’s no disputing that this AppFan didn’t want the Mountaineers to go back to the Camellia Bowl. As expected, the New Orleans Bowl went with a known commodity in 6-win UL-Lafayette — even though the Ragin’ Cajuns do very little ragin’ over their opponents.
Montgomery is…Montgomery. Tucson or St. Petersburg — even, maybe, Orlando — seemed like better destinations. Your blogger wanted palm trees, sunshine and warm temps. And though this created some heartburn on the Twitters, it seemed easier to justify the expense of traveling to Arizona, Florida or even Vegas than…Montgomery.
But most Mountaineer Maniacs live closer to The Rock than yours truly, and let this guy know they can drive to Alabama so I should STFU. I hear that. But do App Fans realize this is the best it might ever get? This sets a precedent. Think the Sun Belt Conference is going to lobby to get App State in the New Orleans Bowl even if the ‘Neers in, say, 2018 run the regular season table then win the #FunBelt Championship game?
Won’t happen if there is a single 6-win Louisiana team, or a bowl-eligible Arkansas State squad. Won’t. Happen.
Current mood: This conference largely is garbage, with a few pretty good and slightly above average (read: Idaho) teams at the top. It’s bowl-selection process is a joke. Sure, #Stink is a rival and at least one other game against a conference, um uh, elite keeps us entertained…BUT…how many times did your blogger have to make coffee to even fathom getting through a conference game? More than five, easy. (And that ODU non-con? Yeah, more java, please…)
There’s nowhere to go, I know. Not until the
Big 12 Medium 10 decides to live up to its own damn name, or one of the other Power Five leagues decides there’s money in expan$ion. Until one of the FB$ tectonic plates shift, we’re stuck in a league constructed for mid-majors in the Deep South, with few true rivals and virtually no emotion or even bad blood. Maybe that will come in time, but it’s hard to see how anything compelling develops with any team south of Statesboro.
/Sets phone calendar reminder to order a crate of K-Cups for delivery in late August/
All of that said, AD Doug Gillin got the best matchup he could. While palm trees and some, uh, poolside, uh, recreation in sunny F-L-A would have been nice, The #FunBelt co-champs versus the high-flying Rockets, the third-place finisher from the
MAC #MACtion, is a quality postseason exhibition tilt.
Ever heard of Logan Woodside, App Fan? No? That’s about to change. Come 5:30 p.m. on Saturday, get ready for ESPN, the network that loves quarterbacks — until it turns on them — to tell you more than you even wanted to know about the junior Toledo signal caller.
He’s damn-near thrown 400 passes this season, completing 69% of them for /whistles!/ 3,882 yards and /holy sh*t!/ 43 TDs. (That’s not a typo, folks.)
Even more impressive, Woodside has only thrown 9 interceptions. Nine. That computes to a QB rating — whatever that is — of 183.9, according to the BigFourLetterNetwork.com.
And, oh, do these Rockets score points. Consider this: In its three losses — including at 8-4 BYU and at No. 12 Western Michigan — Toledo put up 53, 26, and 35 points. Overall, the Rockets score 38.8 points per game. The offensive stats are eye-popping and acid reflux-triggering: 6357 total yards, 7.22 yards per play, 59 TDs, and 529.8 yards per outing. The Rocket O is the third-best in all of the FB$ land. Impressive stuff, folks.
/Reaches for that bottle of brown in the back of the cabinet. The one for special situations…/
But, hey, there’s less reason to be skeered of the Rocket O because we have the #LegionOfBoone and that #FunBelt-best Mountaineer D!
/rings the KBS third-down bells/
/rings them again…and again…until he needs Tommy John surgery…/
The App defense is the 15th-best on FB$, and third with 19 INTs, two turned into picks-six.
/marvel at my grammar, folks. and i recommend noting at your pre-Camellia tailgate that you’ve had 7 Millers Lite nestled in your Block A koozie, which makes a great
Christmas Holiday gift. your friends will be amazed very annoyed./
Woodside will look to beat the Apps up top, but he’ll have to go through one of the nation’s best pass defenses, one that your blogger will declare the best Group of Five pass defense unit in the country. The black shirts have given up just 10 TD tosses, and we can remember a few that came with the kids and back-ups playing in #FunBelt garbage time.
The Toledo QB will go to his top guys, Cody Thompson and Jon’Vea Johnson, early and often.
/Quack. Quack! Quack!/
As in Clifton Duck, the App State cornerback with five INTs and a USA Today All-Freshman Team honor. Kid’s a freshman, but he won’t be awed by either Rocket WR.
No palm trees, but storylines and match-ups galore in this one. And you know Coach Visor doesn’t want to lose to Toledo, where he was the passing game coordinator for one season.
Bottom Line: Get pressure on Woodside, don’t get confused with coverage packages and the various looks the Rockets will throw at you. Did we mention getting pressure, and hitting Woodside? Yeah, put No. 11 on his rear end. A lot. Duck & Co. have to be aggressive while not letting these stud MAC receivers behind them for big plays. Woodside’s offense will move the ball and score points, even against a great Mountaineer defense. That means the App OL has to keep Jalin Moore and Marcus Cox on the field — and the clock ticking. We need gaping holes — and fewer first down-killing penalties from No. 75 and his #BandOfBrothers. And, as always, QB Taylor Lamb — the game manager’s game manager — must be efficient.
The Toledo O can score, but its D also gives up just over 25 per game. We like that stat. We know the App State offense, fueled by the Dynamic Duo of Cox (#Beast) and Moore (#TheFranchise), can put up points, sometimes seemingly at will. But to beat a very good team, for the Group of Five at least, the Mountaineers will have to cut down on the penalties and be slightly below average on third down — which would be an improvement from its current status of God-awful.
Prediction: Expect a shootout. Points aplenty. Lots of yards. Woodside puts on a show. But so does the Law firm of Lamb, Cox & Moore. Mr. Duck is going to be a star, and your blogger expects he has a national coming out party on ESPN Saturday night with not one but two second-half INTs, including one very late to seel it. Quack Attack: Mountaineers 35, Toledo 31. #GiveEmHell –Appstradamus (On Twitter: @APPstradamus)