Northern Illinois at Eastern Michigan
MAC Western Conference foes will battle each other in two Wednesday night games. Toledo and Eastern Michigan, both of which are already bowl eligible, host a pair of teams coming off losses.
Toledo once again had its struggles against Northern Illinois, but it managed to pull out a 31-24 victory that kept it a game behind West leader Western Michigan. Playing Ball State at home may be welcome, but UT is far from guaranteed anything at the Glass Bowl. Ohio knocked off the hosting Rockets earlier this year.
Ball State, meanwhile still has a shot at qualifying for a bowl if it wins out. The Cardinals will be at Miami for their finale next week, so both outings will be a challenge.
Wednesday’s second game (8 p.m. ET) will be . . .
Here is more on the matchups:
Ball State at Toledo
Wednesday, Nov. 16 – 7 p.m. ET
Glass Bowl – Toledo, OH
TOLEDO ROCKETS (8-2, 5-1 MAC)
► Toledo leads the series 21-19-1
► The Rockets posted a 24-10 win in Muncie last year as Toledo’s limited the Cardinals to 262 yards of total offense and one touchdown on a long pass play. UT, which led 24-3 at the half, held BSU to 26 rushing yards on 30 carries. Offensively, QB Phillip Ely shook off two first quarter interceptions to complete 16 of 22 attempts for 164 yards and a pair of scores.
► The Rockets are averaging 539.7 yards of total offense per game. That figure, and 339.5 passing yards per outing, are both tops in the MAC.
► UT is second behind Western Michigan in points scored (39.4 ppg) and points allowed (22.9 ppg).
► Quarterback Logan Woodside leads the nation with 37 TD passes. He has thrown at least three TDs in every game this season.
► Senior RB Kareem Hunt has 4,518 rushing yards. That leaves him 331 yards off the record held by Chester Taylor (4,849 from 1998-2001).
► Senior TE Michael Roberts added two more TDs against NIU, putting him two off the UT season record for touchdown receptions (Lance Moore (14 in 2004). Meanwhile, junior WR Cody Thompson owns 1,021 receiving yards this season. Moore holds that record (1,194 in 2003)
► DeJuan Rogers (61) and Ja’Wuan Woodley lead the Rockets in tackles. John Stepec tops the team in tfl with 13.5, while Woodley had 10.0 and Treyvon Hester 8.0. Hester is the sack leader with 5.0 on the year.
► Punter Nick Ellis earned MAC West Special Teams Player of the Week honors after averaging 44.3 yards per boot on six kicks against NIU last week.
BALL STATE CARDINALS (4-6, 1-5 MAC)
► The Cardinals are in the basement of the MAC West standings. They are currently riding a three-game losing streak, with the last victory coming at Buffalo, 31-21, back on Oct. 15.
► The Cardinals have been very competitive in two of the three losses in their current streak. They fell to Akron, 35-25, but were within three points until a Zips TD with 2:22 remaining. Last week, BSU owned a 21-0 first quarter lead, but eventually lost 48-41 after the Eagles scored eight points with 32 seconds left in the contest.
► Ball State rolled up a season-high 393 yards passing against EMU. The 41 points were also a season-best.
► The Cardinals committed five turnovers in the loss to Eastern.
► Sophomore James Gilbert ranks first in the MAC in rushing yards (1,196) and rushing touchdowns (12). He had five straight games with at least 100 yards before being held to 54 by EMU.
► Quarterback Ryan Neal completed 30 of 50 for 393 yards and three TDs with two interceptions against Eastern.
► KeVonn Mabon and Cywettnie Brown combined for 15 catches, 254 yards and three TDs in the Cardinals last outing. Mabon notched personal highs in receptions (12) and touchdowns (3). He is 13 receptions away from a new program record.
► Sophomore CB Marc Walton is tied for the league lead with three interceptions. He also leads the loop with 14 pass break-ups.
Northern Illinois at Eastern Michigan
Wednesday, Nov. 16 – 8 p.m. ET
Rynearson Stadium – Ypsilanti, MI
NORTHERN ILLINOIS HUSKIES (3-7, 3-3 MAC)
► Northern has won 14 of the last 15 games with Eastern Michigan and leads the all-time series, 30-14-2. The Huskies exploded for 35 first half points en route to a 49-21 victory over EMU in last year’s meeting.
► NIU opened the season losing all four non-conference games. The combined record for those opponents to date is 28-8, including San Diego State’s 8-1 mark. The Huskies first win was a 31-24 decision at Ball State in the MAC opener.
► Conference play has been a roller coaster. After Ball State, the Huskies lost two and won two before the recent loss to Toledo.
► The Toledo-Northern Illinois game was technically a home game for NIU. It was played at Chicago’s Guaranteed Rate Field, home of the Chicago White Sox.
After four straight home tilts, the Huskies are on the road for their last two contests.
► Kenny Golladay caught a career-high 14 passes, good for 143 yards and a TD against Toledo. It was his third game with double-digit catches this season. Golladay is the first player in school history to record two 1,000-yard receiving seasons in his career.
► Sophomore QB Ryan Graham had thrown three passes in conference play prior to his start last week. Graham completed 24 of 43 for 227 yards with three TDs and one interception against the Rockets. He also rushed for a career-high 97 yards on 17 attempts.
► NIU’s offensive line has not allowed a sack in four games.
► Joel Bouagnon leads NIU rushing with 728 yards on 149 carries. His biggest performance of 2016 was against Bowling Green, when he scored five touchdowns.
► Shane Winmann caught one TD against Toledo, giving him a school record for tight ends (10).
EASTERN MICHIGAN EAGLES (6-4, 3-3 MAC)
► EMU bounced back from two losses to edge Ball State in Muncie last week. The win clinched bowl eligibility for Eastern.
► Brogan Roback earned MAC West Offensive Player of the Week honors this week after completed 37 of 71 passes for 468 yards and three TDs with no interceptions. He also ran eight times for 41 yards and a score.
► Sophomore Ian Eriksen came through for EMU with 25 carries for 109 yards and two touchdowns in the MAC West shootout in Muncie.
► Eastern is third among MAC teams in scoring offense (31.5 ppg). It ranks eighth in scoring defense (31.2 ppg).
► The Eagles are second in pass offense (301.0 ypg) and 11th in pass defense(284.2 ypg).
► DB Jason Beck owns 81 tackles. DL Pat O’Connor leads the way with 7.0 sacks and 11.5 tfl. Da Quan Pace has contributed 40 tackles and three interception to the cause.
► Eastern Michigan ranks fourth in turnover margin (+2), while Northern is tied for sixth (-1).