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The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, October 6, 3:00 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: The Glass Bowl (26,248) -- Toledo, Ohio. Television: ESPN3. Home Record: CMU 1-1, Toledo 2-0. Away Record: CMU 1-1, Toledo 2-1. Neutral Record: CMU 0-0, Toledo 0-0. Conference Record: CMU 0-1, Toledo 2-0. Series Record: Toledo leads, 19-18-3.
GAME NOTES: The Toledo Rockets try for their fifth win in a row as they host the Central Michigan Chippewas for a Mid-American Conference duel at The Glass Bowl.
Central Michigan comes in with a 2-2 record after being dismantled and losing 55-27 to Northern Illinois last week. The defeat came just a week after a big- time upset of Iowa on the road. The Chippewas have been effective offensively, but need to find a way to slow down their opponents if they hope to contend for the MAC title. Coach Dan Enos, now in his third season at the helm of the program, has a career record of 8-20 entering this week's contest.
Toledo knocked off Western Michigan, 37-17, last week for its fourth consecutive win. The Rockets would be undefeated had they not dropped a 24-17 decision to Arizona in an overtime thriller in their season opener. After losing to the Wildcats, Toledo defeated Wyoming, Bowling Green, and Coastal Carolina. Coach Matt Campbell appears to have a clear contender for the MAC crown in his first season on the sidelines.
This will be the 41st meeting between the two schools with Toledo leading the series, 19-18-3. The Rockets are 16-2 in their last 18 MAC games.
CMU's offense has averaged 399 yards and 25.3 points per contest through its first four games. The leader of the offense is quarterback Ryan Radcliff, who is averaging 242.3 total yards per game. Radcliff threw for a season-best 332 yards in last week's loss to NIU. The senior has thrown one more touchdown (five) than interceptions (four) this season. He is just 282 passing yards short of reaching the 8,000-yrd plateau for his career.
Junior running back Zurlon Tipton is the main threat in the Chippewas' offensive attack. He leads the team with 446 all-purpose yards and needs just 47 rushing yards to reach the 1,000-yard milestone mark for his career. Tipton is ranked second in the MAC with a scoring average of nine points per game.
Titus Davis and Cody Wilson are both viable threats in the passing attack. Wilson has tallied team-highs of 24 receptions and 286 yards and Davis comes in with three catches for scores. The duo has combined for 21 of the 28 career receiving touchdowns on CMU's current roster. Wilson has made a catch in 33 consecutive games, which is tied for the third longest active streak in the NCAA.
CMU is a weak defensive squad with allowed averages of 463.8 yards and 38.5 points per game. The Chippewas are especially poor against the run, which was evident as NIU gained 407 yards on the ground against them last week. Justin Cherocci leads the team and is ranked fourth in the MAC with 42 total tackles.
Toledo's offense should have no problem this week if David Fluellen continues to thrive. Fluellen rushed for a career-high 213 yards and three touchdowns last week against Western Michigan. Fluellen has gained 500 yards on the ground this year and has had 20 or more rushes in four of five games.
The Rockets' effective offense starts with their precise passer, Terrance Owens. The junior quarterback set a conference record last season with a 72.2 pass completion percentage. This year, Owens has completed 105-of-160 attempts (65.6 percent) for 1,270 yards and nine touchdowns. Owens has not thrown an interception in seven straight games dating back to last season.
Owens has a versatile receiving corps to spread the ball out among. Freshman Alonzo Russell has used his 6-4 frame to his advantage frequently on his way to a team-high 459 yards and two touchdowns. Russell pairs nicely with the speedy Bernard Reedy, who has 31 catches for 337 yards and three touchdowns.
Although Toledo's offense has been solid all season, its defensive unit is on the rise as of late. Toledo's total defense (467.6 ypg) is rated eighth in the conference, but it still has the fourth ranked scoring defense due to a positive 1.6 turnover margin. The Rockets forced four turnovers in last week's game versus Western Michigan.
In the same contest, Jordan Hayden made his first career interception and returned it 64 yards for a score in the third period. Dan Molls recorded 13 tackles to lead the team for the fourth time in five games in that category.
Although the Chippewas showed they are capable of a road upset earlier this season against Iowa, they are not going to sneak up on their conference rival in this one. Toledo continues to gain steam with Owens acting as general and should coast to a victory to extend its winning streak.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Toledo 41, Central Michigan 28
10/03 10:50:08 ET
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