Glass Bowl – Toledo, OH
Time Warner Cable, Sports Channel, ESPN3
Two of the top MAC West title contenders enter Week Eight play after being pushed to the brink last Saturday.
Toledo managed to pull out a 42-35 victory over rival Bowling Green at the Glass Bowl. The winning score came with just 18 ticks left in regulation. Central Michigan, meanwhile, needed three overtimes to edge Northern Illinois, 34-28, in DeKalb.
Given the opponents and situations, neither was likely looking ahead. Still, this week’s Toledo-Central Michigan match-up . . .
Toledo leads the all-time series, 23-18-2, and the Rockets have won six straight meetings. CMU last won in Toledo in 2008.
Here’s more on the two teams:
CENTRAL MICHIGAN CHIPPEWAS (5-2, 2-1 MAC)
► The Chippewas took a first round shot to the jaw when Western Michigan pounded out a 49-10 victory in Mount Pleasant back on Oct. 1. Close calls followed as CMU edged Ball State 24-21 and Northern Illinois 34-28 (3 OT) over the next two weeks. Saturday’s game against Toledo may well be the toughest test on Central’s remaining schedule.
► CENTRAL MICHIGAN COACH JOHN BONAMEGO ON TOLEDO: “Top to bottom, they are an excellent football team. They’ve done a great job of recruiting consistently. … Anybody they may have lost to graduation, they just replaced them with somebody that is as good, or maybe even a little bit better.”
► MORE FROM BONOMEGO: “Offensively (Toledo) can move the ball on the ground or they can move it through the air. Defensively, they’re very stout. They’ve got a great front, and they are really good in the kicking game, as well. … They’re a complete football team. It’s going to take a complete effort on our part to go in there and try to get a win.”
“We’ll have to play well in all three phases. … You’re (also) going to have to take care of the football, and you’re going to haave to find a way to get a takeaway here or there on defense.”
► Both teams know their way to the end zone. Toledo is ranked second (MAC) in scoring (43.0 ppg). Central Michigan is third, albeit at 32.3 ppg.
► CMU is fourth in total offense (441.0 ypg) and second in pass offense (293.3 ypg). Toledo is first in both total offense (565.2 ypg) and passing offense (345.8 ypg).
► Central Michigan tops the MAC in time of possession (334.29 mpg). Toledo is fourth with a 32:32 mpg average.
► The Chippewas are last in red zone offense (65.2%). They trail only Miami in red zone defense.
► Quarterback Cooper Rush ranks fourth among MAC quarterbacks in pass efficiency and is third in passing yards per game (293.3 ypg).
► Two CMU running backs eclipsed 100 yards and contributed a touchdown last week. Junior Devon Spalding carried 22 times for 124 yards, while senior Jahray Hayes carried a like number of times and contributed 105 yards.
► Corey Willis leads Central Michigan receivers with 36 catches for 566 yards and eight TDs. His points is tied for fifth for MAC TD scores.
► Sophomore LB Malik Fountain leads CMU defenders with 51 tackles. His 5.5 tfl is second on the team. Senior linebacker Nathan Rickets has a team-high 7.0 tfl, while Joe Ostman tops the squad in sacks (5.0).
► Toledo posted a 28-23 win in Mount Pleasant least year.
► Quarterback Logan Woodside leads the nation with 24 touchdown passes in just six games. That already ranks fifth in UT history for most TD passes in a season. The all-time record is 29 – set by Bruce Gradkowski in 2003 and 2005.
► Woodside passed for 322 yards and four touchdown passes in the win over Bowling Green. Three of his scoring passes went to senior tight end Michael Roberts.
► Woodside is second in the nation in passing efficiency – les than a point behind Washington’s Jake Browning.
► TOLEDO HEAD COACH JASON CAMPBELL ON WOODSIDE:
“He’s continued to impress and continued to maintain a high level of preparation and a level of consistency that has propelled him to play well on Saturday afternoon. … Our football team has really fed off his consistency and preparation.”
► Junior RB Terry Swanson led Toledo’s rushing attack Saturday as he gained 112 yards on 12 carries. One trip was a 63-yard fourth quarter TD run.
► Toledo’s defense has forced 32 three-and-outs in 80 opponent possessions (40.0%).
► Senior punter Nick Ellis was named MAC West Division Secial Teams Player of the Week for his performance against Bowling Green. He averaged 46.6 yards per kick on six punts, botting one for a career 69 yards and also dropping two inside the BGSU 20-yard line.
► Toledo is second in the nation in converting third down opportunities (54.5%). At the same time, Rocket opponents have been successful on just 19.8 percent of their third down tries.
► CAMPBELL: “I think we’ve been very good on third down – both offensively and defensively this year. When you’re able to get off the field on defense, that’s huge for the offense to have more opportunities.”
► CAMPBELL ON CMU QUARTERBACK COOPER RUSH: “I think you’ve got to find ways to be disruptive and get him uncomfortable, (although) I know that is easier said than done. He’s a veteran guy who has played a lot of football, and he’s had some good games against us in his career, as well. He’s one of the better quarterbacks across the country.”