NASSAU, BAHAMAS – Both teams competing in the upcoming Makers Wanted Bahamas Bowl arrived in the capital on Monday, ready to begin preparing for the postseason matchup.
Both Florida International University (FIU) and The University of Toledo players and coaches spoke about being afforded the opportunity to close out their season in The Bahamas.
FIU head coach Butch Davis said his team is fired up for the challenge and that he expects a tough game against a talented Toledo team.
“Obviously the weather aspect of it is pretty similar to us in Miami. We’ve had seven practices before we left Miami and we’ll get three more opportunities here. I think it was enough preparation for our players, I think they’re super excited about playing,” Davis said.
“We’re unbelievably happy about being in The Bahamas and experiencing this. Our kids were amped up when they found out we were coming and they were even more excited this morning when we got on the plane.
“I think every bowl game, you really want the kids to have a good experience. Obviously, you want them to have fun and you want to win the football game. I can’t imagine a better place than Atlantis to come. The opportunities to get on the beach, and do all the things that Atlantis offers.”
FIU Redshirt senior defensive lineman Anthony Johnson said he’s thrilled for the opportunity to end his collegiate career in The Bahamas.
“Last year was my first time being in a bowl game. It feels good to help this team go to back-to-back bowl games. It’s kind of a pride thing,” he said. “I’m extremely proud of this senior class. After all the adversity that we’ve been through, it’s going to be exciting to go out and hopefully get this win, and continue to help FIU progress.
“This is actually my first time even out of the country. It’s my first time over here. I’m just extremely excited to see the different views and everything. We all want to experience different things that we aren’t able to do back at home. Everybody’s excited. Everybody on my bus was up, laughing, and having a good time. Everybody’s just extremely excited to experience all of this together.”
Toledo coach Jason Candle said he looks forward to getting his team ready to take on FIU on the road.
“We’ve been here a couple times now. Obviously, the sunshine, the nice weather and the relaxation, the feeling of being able to catch your breath and gather your thoughts is really important,” Candle said. “How awesome. Our kids are fired up. Any time you can get a reward for a great season and get to a bowl game, that’s really cool. To be able to bring it to another country and certainly a place we’re looking to spread our brand as a football team and university, it’s really exciting.”
Like Johnson, Toledo senior wide receiver Cody Thompson is also happy to end his college career at the Bahamas Bowl.
“It’s kind of bittersweet. I’ve had an amazing ride here, an amazing career. It’s been fun. To wrap it up in a different country like the Bahamas is going to be really exciting and something I never thought would be possible. I’m excited to go out and try to get a win with this team.”
The 2018 Makers Wanted Bahamas Bowl takes place December 21 at the Thomas A. Robinson National Stadium. Kickoff is set for 12:30 p.m.