Jan. 4 GoDaddy Bowl
Toledo 63, Arkansas State 44
And You Care Because … Toledo ran wild behind five Kareem Hunt touchdown runs, but the defense game started out with a Rocket fumble recovery for a score from Trent Voss just ten seconds into the game. Arkansas State bounced back with a 44-yard Booker Mays touchdown catch just over a minute later, but then it was all Hunt with scoring dashes from four, 44, 29, six and one yard out, along with a 67-yard fumble return for a score from Allen Covington for a 42-17 lead. ASU kept making it interesting with Mays catching a 55-yard touchdown pass and Money Hunter returning a pick 94 yards for a touchdown. Mays pulled the Red Wolves to within 11 on a 27-yard fourth quarter catch, but Damion Jones-Moore ran for scores from ten and 29 yard away to help the Rockets put the game away.
What Else? Toledo RB Kareem Hunt ran 32 times for 271 yards and five scores, and Damion Jones-Moore ran 15 times for 103 yards and two scores
- Arkansas State QB Fredi Knighten completed 23-of-31 passes for 403 yards and five scores, and Booker Mays caught five passes for 138 yards and three scores
- Toledo QB Logan Whiteside completed 21-of-27 passes for 176 yards and a pick
- Rushing yards: Toledo 365 – Arkansas State 65
Game Rating: B
By Pete Fiutak
1. For the second-to-last game of the year, it certainly was a fun one. That’s what I wanted out of the GoDaddy Bowl. It was a game most fans would never watch under regular circumstances, it came at the end of a long day of playoff football, and it came at the end of a vacation run for many, but it was still worth it. It was still college football with the season about to end in a few days. It was Kareem Hunt running wild, and it was Arkansas State not going away. It was a shootout with lots of fun, lots of hard-fought performances, and lots of players giving it the college try.
By Rich Cirminiello
2. Arkansas State got, well, Kareem-ed tonight in Mobile.
This evening’s GoDaddy Bowl was a four-quarter showcase opportunity for Toledo RB Kareem Hunt. And, boy, did he make the most of a date with the soft Red Wolves D and a rare chance to lead the offense on national TV. In a game that was going to be decided by the ground games, Hunt was an unstoppable juggernaut, rushing for five scores, over eight yards a touch and more total yards than any other back this postseason.
Off-the-radar postseason matchups involving Group of Five teams are specifically designed with players like Hunt in mind. They often operate in the shadows, sans a lot of media attention, but the explosive young Rocket’s ability to spot the hole, suddenly change direction and erupt into daylight was impossible to ignore in today’s Toledo win.
Arkansas State was unable to contain No. 3, but the Red Wolves had plenty of company in the fall. The only thing that kept Hunt below 100 yards in 2014 was a midseason ankle injury. In fact, had the sophomore not missed three full games, there’s a very good chance that he would have used the GoDaddy Bowl to join Wisconsin’s Melvin Gordon and Indiana’s Tevin Coleman as the only 2,000-yard rushers of the year.
By Pete Fiutak
3. This game was so Toledo. It was the offense running wild and putting up massive numbers, and it was the defense that occasionally came up with some huge plays, but was just horrible enough to let Arkansas State stay around. This was a microcosm of what Toledo needs to do going forward – it needs more defense. It needs to finally be able to come up with more big stops to go along with the big O attack to give the program more of a chance to fight for the MAC title. This is a MAC championship-worthy program that needs to be more balanced. But as is, the offense is good enough to keep making things interesting.
4. What’s next for Toledo
Behind Kareem Hunt running the ball, look out. The Rockets are going to be gutted up front, losing all five starters, but the skill players should shine with QB Logan Woodside returning to hand off to Hunt and Terry Swanson – the ground game will work. Justin Olack is gone off the receiving corps, but leading targets Alonzo Russell and Corey Jones are back.
The defense can’t help but be stronger with all four starters back up front, along with all of the key backups. Ray Bush is gone from the linebacking corps, and Junior Sylvestre will be sorely missed, but Zach Quinn is back. Safety Jordan Haden is the lone loss in the porous secondary, but DeJuan Rogers is ready to take over. At least there’s experience to help improve the D. Sensational PK Jeremiah Detmer is done, but P Nick Ellis is back – he has to be better after averaging under 37 yards per kick.
5. What’s next for Arkansas State
The offense gets back playmaking QB Fredi Knighten along with GoDaddy star target Booker Mays, but there’s more to get excited about. Michael Gordon and Johnston White are back after finishing the year as the team’s top two backs, and the receiving corps is loaded with everyone of note returning including Dijon Paschal and Tres Houston. Three starters return up front, losing C Tyler Greve and OG Devin Mondie.
The defense returns loaded, too, with three of the four starters back up front, losing DT Dexter Blackmon, and while hitting-machine Qushaun Lee is finished, Xavier Woodson is back. The secondary is the problem with three starters gone including FS Sterling Young and CB Artez Brown, but SS Money Hunter should be terrific as the new leader of the bunch. PK Logan Spry is back after a rocky year, and P Luke Ferguson returns after a strong campaign, averaging 41.5 yards per pop.
5 Thoughts On The GoDaddy Bowl
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