FIU tries for record win, Toledo looks to snap bowl slide

Bahamas Bowl: Toledo (7-5) vs. FIU (8-4), Friday, 12:30 p.m. EST. (ESPN)

Line: Toledo by 4 1/2.

Series Record: FIU leads 2-1.

WHAT’S AT STAKE

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FIU has an opportunity to post a nine-win season for the first time, and a chance for its second bowl win in program history — the other came in 2010, over Toledo, in the most recent meeting between the schools. Toledo is bidding for a sixth consecutive eight-win season, and could end 2018 on a season-long three-game winning streak.

KEY MATCHUP

FIU secondary vs. Toledo receivers. The Rockets will air it out, and their top three receivers — Cody Thompson, Diontae Johnson and Jon’Vea Johnson — have a combined 75 touchdown catches in their careers. Toledo has also scored 50 or more points six times this season, and FIU does not thrive in high-scoring matchups. FIU is 7-0 this season when holding teams to 24 points or less, 1-4 when teams score more than that.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Toledo: TE Reggie Gilliam has as many blocked punts this season as he has catches — four of each. But when he touches the ball, something good usually happens: Gilliam has three TDs on those four receptions.

FIU: LB Sage Lewis leads the Panthers in tackles, averaging 10 per game, and will have to be the leader of a unit that is going to get spread out all over the field against Toledo’s high-octane offense.

FACTS & FIGURES

Toledo has dropped its last two bowl games. The Rockets have never lost three straight postseason contests. … Nassau, Bahamas is 1,200 miles from Toledo and only 180 miles from Miami, but that doesn’t mean a shorter trip was an easy trip for the Panthers — they sent much of their cargo by ship, and spent thousands securing passports quickly for players who needed them. … The teams have Miami as a common opponent this season. Toledo lost to the Hurricanes 49-24, FIU lost to the Hurricanes 31-17. … It usually takes quite a few points to win the Bahamas Bowl: The four previous editions saw the winning team average 40 points.

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