BOCA RATON, Fla. (AP) — Phillip Ely hit Cody Thompson with an 80-yard touchdown pass early in the fourth quarter Tuesday night, and Toledo won Jason Candle’s first game as head coach, beating No. 24 Temple 32-17 in a soggy Boca Raton Bowl.
Candle was promoted from offensive coordinator three weeks ago when Matt Campbell took over at Iowa State.
The Rockets (10-2) positioned themselves to crack the final Top 25 for the first time since 2001, the last season they won 10 games. Temple (10-4) lost for the fourth time in seven games after starting 7-0.
Frequent driving rain hampered both offenses, but Ely went 20 for 28 for 285 yards and two scores with no turnovers.
Linebacker Ja’Wuan Woodley’s jarring tackle sent the ball squirting backward 15 yards through the end zone for an early safety, and the hits kept coming from the Rockets’ defense. Temple came into the game averaging 31 points but didn’t reach the end zone until less than three minutes remained.
Jahad Thomas, who came into the game with 1,257 yards rushing for Temple, hurt his knee late in the first half and didn’t return. He was held to 5 yards on eight carries, and his fumble led to the safety.
AKRON 23, UTAH STATE 21
BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Robert Stein made three field goals and Jatavis Brown led a smothering defense as Akron won the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl for its first victory in a bowl.
Stein, who became the school’s career scoring leader with 268 points, connected from 29, 33 and 46 yards, and was selected the game’s MVP. His longest kick gave the Zips a 23-14 lead with 8:15 remaining.
Akron (8-5) finished with eight wins for the first time since moving up to FBS in 1987. The record came four years to the day after the school hired coach Terry Bowden.
Utah State (6-7) mounted a comeback behind senior quarterback Chuckie Keeton, who threw a 2-yard touchdown pass to Hunter Sharp with 1:12 remaining. But Akron recovered the onside kick and then stopped one final flea-flicker play by Utah State as time expired.