Dequan Finn passed for one touchdown and rushed for another to help Toledo record a 21-19 victory over Liberty on a rainy Tuesday night in the Boca Raton Bowl in South Florida.
Finn was 16-of-24 passing for 133 yards for the Rockets (9-5), who ended a four-game bowl losing streak. Lenny Kuhl caught a touchdown pass and Jacquez Stuart rushed for 111 yards for Toledo.
Kaidon Salter completed 12 of 20 passes for 84 yards and one touchdown and added 63 rushing yards for Liberty (8-5), which lost its fourth straight game. Receiver CJ Daniels threw a touchdown pass to Bentley Hanshaw for Liberty.
Shedro Louis rushed for a score and Treon Sibley caught a touchdown reception for the Flames, who fell for the first time in four FBS bowl appearances.
Liberty star defender Durrell Johnson recorded five tackles for loss to raise his national-leading total to 27.5, including his ninth sack. Teammate Mike Smith Jr. racked up 16 tackles.
The Rockets outgained Liberty 356 to 253.
The Flames dipped into the trick play bag when Daniels received a backwards throw from Salter and threw to the wide-open Hanshaw, who caught the ball near the Rockets’ 35-yard line and finished off the 67-yard play to bring his team within two with 3:40 left in the game. The ensuing two-point pass was no good.
The Rockets covered the ensuing pooch kick and ran out the clock.
Toledo opened the second half with a 13-play, 75-yard drive to move ahead to stay. Finn capped it with a 4-yard scoring pass to Kuhl to give the Rockets a 10-7 edge with 8:45 left in the third quarter.
After a turnover, Thomas Cluckey’s 29-yard field goal made it a six-point margin with 7:09 left in the period.
The Rockets later possessed the ball for seven minutes and covered 80 yards on 16 plays. Finn finished it with a 1-yard run and then completed a two-point shovel pass to Stuart to give Toledo a 21-7 lead with 10:35 left in the contest.
The Flames moved within eight on Salter’s 29-yard touchdown pass to Sibley with 7:24 left. But holder Aidan Alves fumbled the point-after snap and Nick Brown’s off-kilter attempt wobbled wide to the right.
Liberty led 7-3 at halftime.
The Flames struck first on a 9-yard scoring run by Louis with 3:50 remaining in the first quarter.
Finn was injured late in the first quarter when he was sacked and missed Toledo’s next series. Backup Tucker Gleason engineered a 10-play, 68-yard drive in his absence that led to Cluckey’s 41-yard field goal with 10:51 remaining in the first half.
–Field Level Media