One school has more of the city feel to it, while the campus has more of a rural or pastoral setting. They are, nonetheless, ever-so-close neighbors. In this case, familiarity breeds competitiveness. Up for grabs is the I-75 trophy, but that bragging rights are something every winner can take home and carry into the future.
Kickoff for this year’s contest is at 6 p.m. ET, and the game will be played at Bowling Green’s Doyt L. Perry Stadium.
Here’s a quick look at the two teams:
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> The Rockets came out of the gate fast and earned a spot in the AP top 25 rankings before a recent loss to defending MAC champ Northern Illinois. The Huskies came from behind to win that game despite (1) Playing on the road, (2) Playing a team ranked No. 24 in the Associated Press FBS poll. losing two of NIU’s players (Quarterback Drew Hare and wideout Tommy Lee Lewis) in the second quarter.
> Toledo cannot afford another loss. In fact, it needs some help, so a loss at BG would mean more than a loss of bragging rights. It could be the difference in reaching the MAC Championship game.
> Toledo rebounded from the Northern Illinois loss with a hard-fought 28-23 win over Central Michigan Nov. 10. Kareem Hung gained 113 yards on 20 carries for the 18th 100-yard game of his Rocket career.
> Terry Swanson leads the Toledo rushing attack with 749 yards on 107 carries, while Hunt has stepped off 602 yards on 114 trips. The two have combined for 12 of UT’s 18 rushing TDs. Damion Jones-Moore owns five rushing scores.
> Quarterback Phillip Ely has been somewhat inconsistent and tossed five interceptions over two games (UMass and Northern Illinois) before avoiding any picks against CMU. Bowling Green can score plenty on its own, so avoiding turnovers would be well-advised. Ely has completed 174 of 318 passes (54.7%) for 2,192 yards with 18 TDs and nine interceptions for the season.
> Toledo’s receiving corps has includes three players with at least 27 catches. Corey Jones leads in receptions with 45 for 426 yards. Cody Thompson leads in yardage with 553 yards on 27 trips. Alonzo Russell has 28 receptions for 482 yards. All three own four TDs.
> Kicker Jameson Vest has converted all 38 extra points and 66.7 percent of his field goal tries 14 of 21). He has a long of 44 yards.
BOWLING GREEN FALCONS (8-2, 6-0 MAC)
> The Falcons have secured the MAC East title and have, in fact, gone undefeated against MAC foes in each of the last three seasons. Defeating MAC West opponents have been tough for all the East teams, but the Falcons pulled off a biggie last week when they knocked off front running Western Michigan in Kalamazoo, 41-27.
> Bowling Green’s only losses this year were to No. 25 Tennessee in the opener (59-30) and Memphis (44-41) two weeks later. The Falcons own wins over Big Ten members Maryland and Purdue.
> Quarterback Matt Johnson is the key to BG’s offense (fifth nationally), which averages 585.4 ypg). The Falcons are second, nationally, in passing yards (414.1 ypg). Johnson has thrown 36 touchdowns against just four interceptions. He has completed 69.1 percent of his passes and ranks fourth nationally in quarterback rating.
> Receiver Roger Lewis has 69 catches for 1,310 yards. His 131.0 ypg average is third in all of FBS and the total yards is second.
> Four players have at least 48 catches: Lewis, Ronnie Moore (55/732 yds), Gehrig Dieter (58/722 yds) and Ryan Burrink (48/563 yds).
> Travis Green (149 carries, 866 yds, 10 TDs) andFred Coppet (14 carries, 590 yds, 2 TDs) are the top rushers for BG.
> Lienbacker Austin Valdez owns 98 tackles and 6.0 TFL. Terrance Bush has registered 40 stops, 6.5 TFL and 6.0 sacks.
> Kicker Tyler Tate has converted 58 of 61 PATs and 8 of 15 field goals with a long of 40 yards.