Toledo (3-1) at Western Michigan (2-2)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, September 29, 7:00 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Waldo Stadium (30,200) -- Kalamazoo, Michigan. Television: None. Home Record: Toledo 2-0, WMU 2-0. Away Record: Toledo 1-1, WMU 0-2. Neutral Record: Toledo 0-0, WMU 0-0. Conference Record: Toledo 1-0, WMU 0-0. Series Record: Toledo leads, 38-28.
GAME NOTES: A rematch of last season's offensive shootout is on the horizon as the Toledo Rockets head to Waldo Stadium for a Mid-American Conference showdown with the Western Michigan Broncos.
Last season when these teams met, the Rockets held on for a 66-63 victory as the team's combined for 1,439 yards of total offense. The win was the second straight over WMU for Toledo, which holds a 38-28 series lead.
Although it was not easy, the Rockets outlasted Coastal Carolina to earn a 38-28 victory in a non-conference bout at the Glass Bowl last week. Toledo is now 3-1 with a 1-0 mark in MAC play. The Rockets dropped a 24-17 decision to Arizona in an overtime thriller in their season opener before defeating Wyoming and Bowling Green for their first two wins of the season. Toledo has been very successful in conference play, winning 15 of its last 17 MAC contests.
The Broncos have split their four games this season with losses to Big Ten foes Illinois (24-7) and Minnesota (28-23) on the road and home wins against both Eastern Illinois (52-21) and most recently Connecticut (30-24).
After splitting time with Austin Dantin in the season opener, Terrance Owens exclusively has led Toledo two three straight wins while starting under center. Owens has passed for 1,027 yards and nine touchdowns without an interception. Owens enters with a streak of 230 passing attempts with a thrown pick.
Bernard Reedy has become the main target in the passing game this season following the departure of all-time l0eading receiver Eric Page. Reedy set a new career-high last week versus Coastal Carolina with 10 catches for 102 yards. Alonzo Russell was also a factor last week, with seven grabs for 97 yards. Cordale Scott showed he can be a viable red zone target with two touchdown receptions last week.
David Fluellen was transitioning into a vital role in Toledo's offense before suffering an injury in last week's contest. Fluellen, who is questionable for this week, was replaced by Cassius McDowell.
Toledo's total defense (483.2 ypg) is rated ninth in the conference, but it still has the fourth ranked scoring defense due to a positive 1.0 turnover margin. The Rockets have also been great defensively on third downs, making stops on 40-of-58 of their opponents' third down plays so far.
Jermaine Robinson is a huge reason why Toledo's opponents have been turnover prone. The senior safety intercepted a pass in the team's opening pair of games. Senior linebacker Dan Molls has been the anchor of the Rockets' defensive unit and had 14 stops and a sack last week.
Western Michigan bounced back from a week three loss to Minnesota with a 30-24 victory over Connecticut last week. The Broncos continued their pass heavy style by passing on 40 of their 70 offensive plays.
The Broncos like to pass the ball in order to keep the ball in the hands of quarterback Alex Carder. The senior is currently second in the MAC with 1,049 passing yards after he completed 18-of-34 passes for 237 yards and a score last time out. Carder managed to avoid throwing an interception for the first time in 2012, an issue he has struggled with this season, with five picks already.
Running the ball has not been as big a priority for Western Michigan this season. Dareyon Chance had a big game with 144 yards on 29 carries versus Minnesota, but he was held to just 66 yards on 19 attempts last week by UConn.
Josh Schaffer and Jamie Wilson each broke the 100 yards receiving mark in last week's contest. Wilson is leading the MAC in receiving yards with 430 on 37 receptions. He has also grabbed four touchdown passes. Schaffer is a solid second option with 200 yards and a score on 15 catches.
Western Michigan has been the second best team in the MAC in terms of yards allowed this season (353.5). Against Minnesota the Broncos surrendered 397 total yards in a losing effort. They were even worse last week, allowing 425 yards to UConn in a victory.
A big reason for WMU's victory last week was Desmond Bozeman. The junior linebacker was named the Walter Camp National Defensive Player of the Week after he registered a career-high 12 tackles, two sacks, two tackles for loss, forced fumble, and had a fumble return for a touchdown in the win over the Huskies.
As many MAC games will be this season, this matchup will be a back-and-forth battle with neither side holding a huge advantage. This one could produce big offensive numbers once again with two adept quarterbacks going up against weak defenses. Carder has a chance to prove that he deserves to be considered an elite QB and should deliver a big-time performance in his last scheduled game against the Rockets.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Western Michigan 42, Toledo 38
09/26 10:46:54 ET