There was a point early in this season that many of the sharpest college football minds in the country thought that the Appalachian State Mountaineers were going to have an outside shot at the New Year’s Six out of the Sun Belt. They didn’t get the job done and ended up losing four games, but they have a shot to make amends in the Dollar General Bowl against the MAC champion Toledo Rockets.
Toledo Bowl History
Just as Matt Campbell left Toledo for a Power Five job with Iowa State a few years ago, it’s only a matter of time until Jason Candle does the same. He has won 20 games in his first two seasons since replacing Campbell, and he’s keeping the Rockets at the top of the MAC.
Candle is 1-1 in his two bowl appearances, winning the Boca Raton Bowl two years ago as the interim boss while losing the Camellia Bowl last year. This, though, is considered to be Toledo’s best team in quite some time, and it can win 12 games for the first time since 1971 if it claims the Dollar General Bowl.
Appalachian State Bowl History
App State is playing in a bowl game for the third consecutive season. It won the Camellia Bowl both in 2015 and 2016, and now, Scott Satterfield has his team in the Dollar General Bowl.
Though the Mountaineers have taken a small step back in each of the last two seasons, there’s no shame in what has been accomplished this year even if the Dollar General Bowl is lost.
Why Toledo Will Win the Dollar General Bowl
Toledo was easily the best team in the MAC this year. And outside of UCF, we can’t help but wonder if the Rockets were as good as it got in the Group of Five. We would have loved to see Memphis matched up with Toledo in a bowl game, but this is a good substitute.
The Rockets were unstoppable offensively, ranking No. 8 in the land in total offense and No. 11 in scoring.
It’s a pipe dream to get Logan Woodside to 4,000 passing yards, Terry Swanson to 1,500 rushing yards and Diontae Johnson to 1,500 receiving yards, but these three players have had fantastic years nonetheless. Swanson and Shakif Seymour combined to run for over 2,000 yards and already have 26 touchdowns between them on the ground.
Woodside, who has a legitimate chance at getting drafted in a few months, threw for 3,758 yards and 28 touchdowns and only tossed five picks, averaging 9.8 yards per pass attempt.
Why Appalachian State Will Win the Dollar General Bowl
Appalachian State had 20 starters returning from last year’s 10-win team, and that’s why many thought it was going to have a shot against Georgia early on in the season. No one knew the Bulldogs were going to be two wins away from the National Championship on January 1, of course. As it turned out, far better teams were beaten by far more points than the 21 App State was beaten by in Athens.
The Mountaineers’ other three losses came by a combined 11 points.
This defense is thoroughly underrated and could dominate this game. The Mountaineers allowed just 359.1 yards per game, and they’ll end up being one of the toughest tests Toledo has faced this season.
Dollar General Bowl Prediction
Toledo is going to be looking for a degree of revenge after losing in the Camellia Bowl to Appalachian State last season, but we don’t think it’s going to get it.
The Rockets are probably going to have a tough time moving the ball consistently again in this game, and if they can’t figure out how to slow down Appalachian State’s running attack, they could once again be limited with the ball. The Mountaineers held the rock for 35:44 in the Camellia Bowl last year, and running for over 200 yards again would be the ticket to winning the 2017 Dollar General Bowl.
Dollar General Bowl Pick: Appalachian State 34, Toledo 20
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