FACTS & STATS: Site: Glass Bowl (26,248) — Toledo, Ohio. Television:
ESPN3.com. Home Record: Bowling Green 1-4, Toledo 4-2. Away Record: Bowling
Green 0-5, Toledo 0-4. Neutral Record: Bowling Green 0-0, Toledo 0-0.
Conference Record: Bowling Green 0-6, Toledo 2-4. Series Record: Bowling Green
GAME NOTES: Following their first in-conference loss of the season, the Toledo
Rockets will try to bounce back at home against the Bowling Green Falcons in a
Mid-American Conference clash at the Glass Bowl Wednesday in the Battle of
Bowling Green currently leads the MAC East Division with a 5-1 record, and is
bowl eligible. The Falcons have a two-game lead over Ohio and Massachusetts in
the East Division with two games left, so this matchup with Toledo could be a
preview of the conference title game.
Toledo’s unbeaten streak in conference play came to an end with a tight 27-24
loss to Northern Illinois, which now leads the MAC West Division at 8-2
overall and a 5-1 conference mark. NIU, Toledo and Western Michigan are all
sitting at 5-1 in league play entering the week.
The all-time series between Bowling Green and Toledo runs pretty deep, with
the Falcons owning a 39-35-4 advantage. But Bowling Green hasn’t defeated
Toledo since the 2009 campaign.
Bowling Green made quick work of Kent State in the team’s latest outing,
defeating the Golden Flashes, 30-20, behind the spectacular running of
tailback Andre Givens. Givens finished the game with 157 yards and two
touchdowns on the ground, and now has 415 yards and eight touchdowns on the
season. The Falcons’ top rusher, Travis Greene, missed the contest with an
ankle injury. Bowling Green has been able to use multiple backs effectively
this season, with three players having recorded at least five rushing scores
A pleasant surprise for the Falcons has been the play of quarterback James
Knapke, who stepped in earlier this season when top quarterback Matt Johnson
went down with a leg injury for the year. Knapke has passed for 2,443 yards
and 12 touchdowns against 10 interceptions, and has led the Falcons into first
place in the MAC East Division with a spot in the conference title game
The Bowling Greene has been more suited to keeping the ball on the ground, but
when called upon, the redshirt sophomore quarterback can air it out. He’s
found top target Roger Lewis 60 times this season for 858 yards and five
touchdowns, while Ronnie Moore has brought in four receiving scores in 10
games played. The Falcons offense is averaging a potent 32.6 ppg.
Bowling Green’s defense has been playing up to a high level lately as well.
The Falcons haven’t given up more than 26 points in a game since a 36-35 win
over Buffalo back on the team’s Oct. 4 Homecoming. Bowling Green even limited
Western Michigan’s explosive offense to 26 points later on in October,
although the Falcons did lose that game. This season, the team is allowing
32.2 ppg and 507 offensive ypg to opponents.
Linebacker Gabe Martin has recorded a team-best 79 tackles this season with
9.5 tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks and two interceptions. Martin has filled up
the stat sheet nicely, but the team has counted on players like Bryan Thomas
(11.5 tackles for loss, six sacks) and Nick Johnson (four interceptions, three
pass breakups) to hold down their respective areas on the field. The Falcons
will need to force Toledo into making some mistakes in this road contest.
Toledo quarterback Logan Woodside was a game-time decision in the Rockets’
last outing against Northern Illinois, and although he ended up playing, he
only saw a few reps under center. It’s been a rough season for Toledo
quarterbacks, considering starter Phillip Ely went down two games into the
campaign with a torn ACL, and now his replacement Woodside is banged up.
Dwight Macon was the Rockets’ leading statistical quarterback last week,
throwing for 140 yards and a touchdown on eight completions. Michael Julian
also saw some time under center, completing 20of-7 passing for 49 yards. The
Rockets, who average 33.4 ppg this season, have mostly been reliant on the run
That fact is evidenced by the 247.6 rushing ypg and 22 touchdowns for Toledo
in 10 games played. Bowling Green can expect to see plenty of Kareem Hunt in
the Wednesday night contest. This season, Hunt has rushed for a team-best 985
yards and eight touchdowns, despite missing three games due to injury. Terry
Swanson is also a viable running threat, having gone for 702 yards and six
scores in 10 games played.
The Rockets have been able to get by teams this season using an overpowering
offense, so the team’s defense hasn’t needed to really pick up much slack. All
things considered, holding Northern Illinois to 27 points in a three-point
loss isn’t even the worst thing. Still, if Toledo wants to make an impact in
the final two games of the regular season and into the postseason, the team
will have to fix a 31.6 ppg allowed average as best it can.
Linebacker Junior Sylvestre has a team-high 63.5 tackles this season, adding
in 7.5 tackles for loss, five pass breakups and four quarterback hurries. He
and fellow linebacker Trent Voss (43 tackles, 10 tackles for loss, four sacks)
will be responsible for taking care of a vicious Bowling Green run game.
Lineman Orion Jones (eight tackles for loss, five sacks) will help out as
well, while cornerback Jordan Haden (three interceptions, four pass breakups)
will try to hold Knapke in check.
These two teams both have very powerful offenses, so don’t expect much of a
defensive battle. The fact that Bowling Green hasn’t defeated Toledo since
2009, and that Toledo has homefield advantage in this one, means the scales
are tipped in the Rockets’ favor. This is a very critical game for Toledo,
which can’t afford to lost any ground in the MAC West Division.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Toledo 36, Bowling Green 34