FACTS & STATS: Site: Glass Bowl (26,248) — Toledo, Ohio. Television:
ESPN3.com. Home Record: Central Michigan 1-1, Toledo 2-1. Away Record: Central
Michigan 1-1, Toledo 0-1. Neutral Record: Central Michigan 0-0, Toledo 0-0.
Conference Record: Central Michigan 0-0, Toledo 1-0. Series Record: Toledo
GAME NOTES: After starting the season with back-to-back wins, the Central
Michigan Chippewas will try to dig out of a two-game losing skid as they
travel to face the Toledo Rockets in a Mid-American Conference battle at the
Central Michigan opened the season with wins over Chattanooga and Purdue, but
then fell victim to Syracuse and Kansas in consecutive weeks. The Chippewas
will try to end that drought when they travel to face the Rockets for their
first conference clash of the season.
Toledo is coming off its first conference game against Ball State, which was
delayed twice in the first quarter due to inclement weather. The delays
totaled over two hours, but that didn’t stop the Rockets from defeating the
These two conference foes are no stranger to facing each other on the field.
Toledo leads the all-time series against Central Michigan, 21-18-3, in a
series that began during the 1928 football season.
The Chippewas had a seemingly favorable matchup against the Kansas Jayhawks
this past weekend, but simply couldn’t find a way to get any offense going in
the team’s 24-10 loss on the road. Quarterback Cooper Rush was unspectacular,
passing for a meager 178 yards with an interception, while also being sacked
three times. In four games this season, the Chippewas are averaging just 17.8
ppg, with 176.5 passing ypg.
Perhaps part of the reason the Chippewas have found it so hard to generate
offense is because star wide receiver Titus Davis is missing. Davis sat for
the third consecutive week after injuring his knee in the season opener.
Without Davis in the lineup, Jesse Kroll has been the go-to pass catcher. His
206 yards and 12 receptions leads the team through four weeks. He’s the only
CMU player to have double-digit receptions so far.
Although tailback Saylor Lavallii returns from last season after sharing
starts with Zurlon Tipton, the major factor in the run game for CMU has been
Thomas Rawls, who leads the team with 276 rushing yards and three scores. The
problem there is that Rawls has only played in two games, missing the most
recent few due to injury. Central Michigan, when healthy, has a strong core
group of offensive players, but has struggled to do so through four games.
The defense has done all it can to make up for the loss of some key
contributors on offense. The Chippewas held Kansas to 369 total offensive
yards in the loss, and managed to force an interception. Still, the Jayhawks
scored twice through the air and once on the ground to bury Central Michigan.
Opponents are scoring an average of 24.2 ppg on CMU through four contests, and
are gaining 353.8 total ypg. That’s too much for the Chippewas to contend with
at the moment. Standout linebacker Justin Cherocci leads the team with 48
tackles (double the total of the next best tackler on CMU), adding 1.5 tackles
for loss, one sack and a forced fumble to his efforts.
Toledo waited for hours Saturday night for the rain and lightning to subside,
and when everything cleared away the Rockets began to assert their dominance
over the Ball State Cardinals. Logan Woodside, who is the team’s starter under
center following Phillip Ely’s early-season injury, has performed well so far.
He carried the team with one passing touchdown and two rushing scores in the
win over Ball State.
The running game for Toledo has been spectacular through four contests. Led by
Kareem Hunt (527 yards, seven touchdowns), the Rockets are averaging 254.5
rushing ypg and an astounding 6.2 ypc. Between Hunt, Damion Jones-Moore and
Woodside, Toledo has punched in 11 scores on the ground in just four games.
That’s not to say the focus has been solely on the ground attack, either.
Woodside is proficient throwing the football, tossing four touchdowns and 526
yards in three games. He and Ely have combined for eight scores through the
air – seven of which have gone to either Corey Jones (two), Alonzo Russell
(three) and Justin Olack (two).
With strong players on the defensive side of the football, the Rockets could
do some serious damage in the MAC. The team had a hard time controlling
Cincinnati and the high-powered Bearcats offense over a week ago, but the unit
was back on point against Ball State. The Rockets limited the Cardinals to 351
yards of total offense, and put pressure on Ball State quarterback Ozzie Mann
Junior Sylvestre logged 13 tackles to lead Toledo in the win, adding a pass
breakup and a quarterback hurry to his stat line. He leads the team on the
season with 35 total stops, adding 1.5 tackles for loss, two pass breakups and
three quarterback hurries. Fellow linebacker Trent Voss has been a beast
disrupting the backfield, logging 4.5 tackles for loss and two sacks through
four games. The Rockets could do a better job at limiting opponents’ scoring,
though (37.5 ppg allowed).
What it comes down to in this matchup between MAC rivals is offense. Toledo’s
offense is firing on all cylinders four games into the season, while Central
Michigan’s is reeling from key injuries. The Chippewas defense will have some
success slowing Hunt and Woodside, but won’t be able to stop it entirely. CMU
just won’t be able to keep pace with the rapid scoring offense of the Rockets.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Toledo 32, Central Michigan 17