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Rockets arrive in Bahamas, begin week of preparation for bowl battle Dec. 21

The Toledo Rockets arrived at the world-famous Atlantis resort Monday, the first day of their trip at the Makers Wanted Bahamas Bowl in Nassau. Toledo (7-5) will face Florida International University (8-4) at Robinson Stadium Friday, Dec. 21.

The game will start at 12:30 p.m. and be televised on ESPN.

Senior Tyler Taafe won a pinball competition against FIU Monday at the Makers Wanted Bahamas Bowl.

The Rockets departed from Toledo Express Airport at 12:30 p.m. Monday and landed at Nassau Airport at 3:30, arriving at the hotel a short while later. Both Toledo and FIU attended a buffet dinner last evening and were treated to a musical and dance performance by a Junkanoo group. The teams then faced off in a pinball competition, which was won by UT senior Tyler Taafe.

Toledo will practice Tuesday morning and attend a beach party along with the FIU players at 4 p.m.

Other events during the week will include a visit to the Ranfurly Homes for Children and a youth football clinic Wednesday. On Thursday, the Toledo cheerleaders and band will lead a team pep rally.

“How awesome. Our kids are fired up,” UT Head Football Coach Jason Candle, said. “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.”

“The excitement started way before we pulled in, when we found out we were coming down here,” senior wide receiver Cody Thompson said. “A lot of guys haven’t ever been out of the country — my last time was when I was young. Going to the Bahamas is something everyone talks about and dreams about, so I’m really excited to be here. It’s an amazing opportunity to play football outside of our home country.”

“I hope our guys enjoy the week,” Candle added. “It’s a good chance to balance a little bit of fun, and we want to send our senior class off the right way with a win. We want their last time in the Midnight Blue and Gold to be a memorable one.”