It will be déjà vu all over again when the University of Toledo and Appalachian State University clash this Saturday in the Dollar General Bowl at Ladd-Peebles Stadium. Kickoff is set for 6 p.m. and the game will be televised on ESPN.
In 2016, the same teams met in the Camellia Bowl, with the Mountaineers taking 31-28 victory. Four times App State secured a 7-point lead, only to see Toledo force a tie. The outcome was not decided until Michael Rubino kicked a 39-yard field goal with 5:14 left to play.
The two powerhouses managed to earn the rematch by winning league titles. App State (7-1 in the league, 8-4 overall) is the co-champion of the Sun Belt Conference with Troy. Toledo (7-1, 11-2) comes in as the Mid-American Conference champion.
“We are excited to welcome back Toledo and host Appalachian State for the first time here in Mobile,” Dollar General Bowl President Jerry Silverstein said. “We look forward to treating each team and their fans to a first-class bowl experience.”
This will mark App State’s first bowl trip to Mobile. The team from Boone, North Carolina, clinched a share of a second straight Sun Belt title by defeating Louisiana-Lafayette 63-14 in the regular season finale.
“This is an exciting opportunity for Appalachian State University,” Director of Athletics Doug Gillin said. “We’re proud of what our student-athletes, coaches and staff have accomplished as co-champions of the Sun Belt Conference, and this is a deserved reward for their hard work and dedication. The Dollar General Bowl is a great bowl game with a rich tradition and an impressive lineup of activities. We have the best fanbase in the Sun Belt, and we look forward to a special experience in Mobile.”
App State had a league-leading eight first-team selections on the Sun Belt all-star squad. The Mountaineers’ first-team picks were senior linebacker Eric Boggs, senior defensive lineman Tee Sims, sophomore defensive back Clifton Duck, senior offensive lineman Beau Nunn, senior offensive lineman Colby Gossett, sophomore offensive lineman Victor Johnson, senior receiver Ike Lewis and junior running back Jalin Moore. Gossett, Boggs and Duck repeated as first-team honorees.
Senior quarterback Taylor Lamb received second-team recognition along with junior defensive back Tae Hayes. App State’s third-team choices were senior defensive back A.J. Howard, senior linebacker Devan Stringer and senior defensive lineman Caleb Fuller.
Junior linebacker Anthony Flory, junior defensive lineman Myquon Stout, sophomore tight end Collin Reed and true freshman receiver Thomas Hennigan represented the Mountaineers on the honorable mention list.
While this bowl game is new for App State, the Toledo Rockets are back for their third appearance after having played at Ladd-Peebles Stadium in 2005 and 2015. In the 100th anniversary season of their founding as a football program, the Rockets claimed their 11th conference title by defeating Akron 45-28. Jason Candle has been named the MAC Coach of the Year.
“We are very excited to return to Mobile to play in the Dollar General Bowl,” University of Toledo Vice President and Athletic Director Mike O’Brien said. “We would like to thank President Jerry Silverstein, Executive Director Frank Modarelli and the entire Dollar General Bowl selection committee for choosing the University of Toledo to participate in their outstanding bowl. We are looking forward to another terrific bowl experience in the beautiful state of Alabama against a very fine Appalachian State team. I also want to congratulate head coach Jason Candle, his staff and our entire Rocket football team on a memorable MAC Championship season.”
Senior quarterback Logan Woodside was named MAC Offensive Player of the Year and the Vern Smith Leadership Award winner. He was 225-of-345 passing for 3,451 yards and 24 touchdowns this season.
Woodside was one of seven Rockets who earned first-team All-MAC honors, the most first-team honorees in the conference. Sophomore Diontae Johnson earned all-league honors at three positions: wide receiver (first-team), punt returner (first team) and kickoff returner (second team). Other Rockets on the first team were senior running back Terry Swanson, senior offensive linemen Elijah Nkansah and Brant Weiss, and junior placekicker Jameson Vest. Junior defensive end Olasunkanmi Adeniyi earned second-team All-MAC honors.
• On Wednesday morning, players from both teams will visit patients at USA Children’s and Women’s Hospital. Also taking place is the Wives Day Out with a tour of Mobile and lunch at Wintzell’s Oyster House for the spouses of the coaches and conference staff. The day will wrap up with App State and Toledo facing off in a friendly bowling competition at the Eastern Shore Lanes.
• The main event on Thursday is a luncheon for the bowl teams and their travel parties at the USS Alabama Battleship Memorial Park. Tours of the ship and the military complex will follow.
• The USO Mayor’s Luncheon will be at noon Friday at the Mobile Convention Center. Individual tickets for this event are $30, and tables of 10 cost $300. Former Oklahoma head football coach Bob Stoops is the keynote speaker. Also taking part will be Mayor Sandy Stimpson, the participating Dollar General Bowl teams and Champion of Life honorees.
• Later on Friday, the Alabama Street Party starts at 5 p.m. in Bienville Square, featuring a disc jockey, Santa Claus, games and activities for all. The Greer’s/This is Alabama Mardi Gras Parade is next at 6:30 p.m., followed by the This is Alabama Pep Rally in Bienville Square.
• On game day, the Wind Creek Fanfest — a tailgate experience with games and activities for all football fans — will take place at Ladd-Peebles Stadium’s East parking lot starting at 3 p.m. For the first time, a free iHeart Media Concert featuring country artist Holli Mosley will be featured. Fans can also purchase a $15 all-you-can-eat ticket at the Piggly Wiggly VIP buffet.
• Dollar General Bowl game and event tickets can be purchased online at www.DollarGeneralBowl.com/tickets or by calling the Dollar General Bowl office at 251-635-0011. Tickets to Ladd-Peebles Stadium cost $45 for sideline seats and $15 for general admission.
• For the first time, the Dollar General Bowl will adhere to the clear-bag policy that has become common at sporting events. Bags must be clear plastic, vinyl or PVC, and no larger than 12-by-6-by-12 inches. More details can be found on the bowl website.
(Photo | Submitted) Appalachian State linebackers linebackers Eric Boggs and Devan Stringer were named all-SBC.