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GAMEDAY College Football

Boca Raton Bowl: Toledo 21, Liberty 19

(AP Photo/Jim Rassol)

By ALANIS THAMES
AP Sports Writer

BOCA RATON, Fla. - Dequan Finn passed for 133 yards and a touchdown and rushed for another score to lead Toledo past Liberty 21-19 in a rainy Boca Raton Bowl.

Toledo came from behind, then fended off Liberty, handing the Flames their first loss in a bowl game after three bowl victories.

Liberty (8-5) was directed by interim coach Josh Aldridge, who stepped in for Hugh Freeze, who became the head coach at Auburn at the end of the regular season.

Toledo (9-5) punctuated a successful season that included winning the Mid-Atlantic Conference title with its first bowl victory since 2015.

Liberty scored twice in a five-minute span of the fourth quarter, turning a 21-7 deficit into a two-point game. Kaidon Salter hit Treon Sibley with a 29-yard scoring pass at 7:24 of the period to make it 21-13 and CJ Daniels found Bentley Hanshaw with a 67-yard scoring strike to close the game to two points. But, Liberty's 2-point conversion try failed and Toledo held on for the final 3:40

Finn was just as dangerous offensively as he had been all season, when he led the Mid-American Conference with 30 total TDs.

Finn guided Toledo's offense 75 yards on the opening drive of the second half to give the Rockets their first lead of the game, 10-7, and they led the rest of the way. Lenny Khule's 4-yard TD reception capped the drive and was his third TD of the season.

Finn's 1-yard rushing score in the fourth gave Toledo a 21-7 lead.

Liberty held a 7-3 lead at the half as its defense kept Toledo out of the end zone, even though the Rockets had more first downs, offensive yards and led in time of possession.

Liberty running back Shedro Louis scored the Flames' first touchdown with a 9-yard rush in the first quarter.

Salter finished 12 for 20 for 84 yards and a TD.

Salter had the game's first turnover with a sack-fumble on Liberty's first offensive play of the third quarter. That set up a 29-yeard field goal by Thomas Cluckey that gave the Rockets a 13-7 lead.

A couple drives later, Toledo's Adam Beale muffed a punt at rain drenched FAU Stadium, setting up Liberty at the 10 yard line.

Consecutive offensive penalties sent the Flames backward, and kicker Nick Brown, who'd made six straight field goals from inside 50, missed a 32 yarder.

GOING TO THE GROUND

Toledo bullied Liberty in the run game behind Finn's mobility and running back Jacques Stuart, who had a season-high 23 carries for 111 yards on 4.8 yards per carry.

JOHNSON'S DOMINANCE

There were questions entering Tuesday's game about whether Liberty's senior defensive end Durrell Johnson would play in the team's bowl game. He did. And his quickness and ability to generate pressure kept Toledo from scoring more points. Johnson added four tackles for loss to Liberty's 12 total for the game. The Flames lead the nation in team tackles for loss.

THE TAKEAWAY

Liberty: Penalties in the second half undid the Flames. After no penalties through the first two quarters, the Flames ended with five flags for 40 yards, most of which stalled their offensive drives.

Toledo: The Rocket's offense chewed up the clock, especially in the second half with drives of six and seven minutes, and they converted 10 of 17 third downs.

December 20, 2022


Scoring Summary
First Quarter LibToledo
Lib TD 3:50 Shedro Louis 9 yd run (Nick Brown kick) 7 0
Second Quarter LibToledo
Toledo FG 10:51 Thomas Cluckey 41 yd FG 7 3
Third Quarter LibToledo
Toledo TD 8:45 Lenny Kuhl 4 yd pass from Dequan Finn (Thomas Cluckey kick) 7 10
Toledo FG 7:09 Thomas Cluckey 29 yd FG 7 13
Fourth Quarter LibToledo
Toledo TD 10:35 Dequan Finn 1 yd run (Jacquez Stuart 2pt pass from Dequan Finn) 7 21
Lib TD 7:24 Treon Sibley 29 yd pass from Kaidon Salter (missed kick) 13 21
Lib TD 3:40 Bentley Hanshaw 67 yd pass from CJ Daniels (failed 2pt pass) 19 21
Team Stats
  Liberty Toledo
First downs 12 27
  Rushing 4 13
  Passing 5 13
  Penalty 3 1
3rd Down Efficiency 2-8, 25% 10-17, 59%
4th down efficiency 0-0, -% 0-1, 0%
Rushes-Yards 20-102 56-173
Passing Yards 151 183
Return Yards 70 29
Completions-Attempts-Int 13-21-0 18-28-0
Sacks-Yards Lost 2--20 4--30
Punts 5 4
Punts-Average 42.4 34.3
Fumbles Lost 1-1 3-1
Penalties - Yards 5-40 5-55
Time of Possession 19:57 40:03
Liberty Passing
Player Cmp Att Yds TDs Int
K. Salter 12 20 84 1 0
C. Daniels 1 1 67 1 0
Toledo Passing
Player Cmp Att Yds TDs Int
D. Finn 16 24 133 1 0
T. Gleason 2 4 50 0 0
Liberty Rushing
Player Carries Yds Avg TDs
K. Salter 10 63 6.3 0
S. Louis 8 37 4.6 1
T. Green 1 3 3.0 0
Toledo Rushing
Player Carries Yds Avg TDs
J. Stuart 23 111 4.8 0
P. Boone 6 25 4.2 0
D. Finn 17 23 1.4 1
M. Kelly 7 22 3.1 0
J. Newton 1 -1 -1.0 0
Liberty Receiving
Player Rec Yds Avg TDs
B. Hanshaw 2 73 36.5 1
T. Sibley 3 42 14.0 1
D. Douglas 6 16 2.7 0
C. Snead 1 13 13.0 0
C. Yarbrough 1 7 7.0 0
Toledo Receiving
Player Rec Yds Avg TDs
J. Turner 3 53 17.7 0
J. Newton 5 42 8.4 0
D. Blankumsee 4 42 10.5 0
A. Torres 1 18 18.0 0
L. Kuhl 2 16 8.0 1
D. Maddox 1 12 12.0 0
T. Zsiros 1 6 6.0 0
J. Stuart 1 -6 -6.0 0
Liberty Interceptions
Player Int Yards
Toledo Interceptions
Player Int Yards
Liberty Punting
Player Punts Yards Avg
A. Alves 5 212 42.4
Toledo Punting
Player Punts Yards Avg
J. Batzke 4 137 34.3
Liberty Punt Returns
Player Ret Yards Average
D. Douglas 1 1 1.0
Toledo Punt Returns
Player Ret Yards Average
A. Beale 3 28 9.3
Liberty Kick Returns
Player Ret Yards Average
S. Louis 2 37 18.5
D. Douglas 2 32 16.0
Toledo Kick Returns
Player Ret Yards Average
D. Blankumsee 1 1 1.0
Liberty Missed FG
Player Length
N. Brown 32
Toledo Missed FG
Player Length




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