There were blue skies and red-hot offenses on Monday in the Miami Beach Bowl at Marlins Park.
A little over 28 hours later — and about 45 miles north — the Boca Raton Bowl featured frequent rain and much tougher defenses.
In the end, it was the Toledo Rockets who pulled a mild upset, knocking off the No. 24 Temple Owls 32-17 on Tuesday night at FAU Stadium.
Toledo (10-2) produced its first 10-win season in 14 years.
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Temple (10-4) fell just short of what would have been the first 11-win season in school history.
And while there was far less offense than the combined 80 points posted in Western Kentucky’s win over South Florida on Monday, the fourth quarter did produce a wild finish — a total of 28 points.
Toledo was led by senior quarterback Phillip Ely, who completed 20 of 28 passes for 285 yards and two touchdowns. He was not intercepted and was named the game’s Offensive MVP.
Rockets linebacker Ja’Wuan Woodley, who produced a hit that forced a fumble and a safety, was the game’s Defensive MVP.
The Rockets’ defense was stellar all night, holding Temple running back Jahad Thomas to five yards on eight carries.
Thomas, who entered the game having rushed for 1,257 yards, a 4.7 average and 17 touchdowns, did not play in the second half due to a knee injury.
Perhaps the biggest play of the game occurred with 12:41 left in the fourth quarter. Toledo was clinging to a 12-9 lead when Ely hooked up with wide receiver Cody Thompson on an 80-yard touchdown pass.
Thompson caught Ely’s medium-range pass over the middle and outraced the Temple secondary for the final 50 yards, angling toward the right corner. That gave Toledo a 19-9 lead.
Temple drove into Toledo territory on the next possession, but reserve cornerback Juwan Haynes picked off a pass by Temple quarterback P.J. Walker. The pass was intended for tight end Colin Thompson, but cornerback Rolan Milligan broke it up, and Haynes, a senior, came up with his first career interception.
The Rockets seemingly put the game away on a one-yard touchdown run by running back Kareem Hunt, which gave them a 25-9 lead.
But Temple scored a touchdown and two-point conversion with 2:50 left to make the score 25-17. Kip Patton caught a two-yard touchdown pass from P.J. Walker, and Robby Anderson caught the conversion pass, also from Walker.
Temple nearly grabbed the ensuing on-side kick, but Cody Thompson somehow recovered on the wild play, and Hunt put the finishing touch on Toledo’s win with a 41-yard touchdown run with 2:29 left.
Walker was Temple’s star of the game, passing for 236 yards, but he completed just 23 of 42 passes and suffered one interception.
Toledo’s Hunt led all rushers with 82 yards, scoring two touchdowns on 16 carries.
Teammate Cody Thompson had four catches for 119 yards and one touchdown.