This Friday, the (7-4) Toledo Rockets will travel to Kalamazoo, MI to take on the (4-7) Western Michigan Broncos. Kickoff will be at Noon EST inside Waldo Stadium. We have some "MACtion" in this one, as I am expecting an entertaining battle Friday afternoon.
The Toledo Rockets are coming into this one after falling to Bowling Green, 42-35. The Rockets struggled on the defensive side of the field, as they couldn't make enough stops to win this game outright. They will have to stop the run in this one if they want to challenge the Broncos on the road.
The Western Michigan Broncos are entering this matchup after taking down Central Michigan, 12-10. The Broncos' defense stepped up big time in that game, as they continued to give their offense chances to take the lead. Their defense will have to show up again in this one if they want to defend their home field against the Rockets.
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Can Toledo Bounce Back?The Toledo Rockets are currently in first place in the MAC West, as they are (5-2) inside the conference this season. They will also be looking to bounce back after their loss to the Bowling Green Falcons last week. On offense, the Rockets are scoring 35.1 points per game and they are averaging 413.9 total yards. This is the 25th most points scored in the country and the 48th most yards averaged per game. The Rockets have also shown that they can sling the rock all over the field. They are currently throwing for 234.3 yards per game, which is the 64th most in the NCAA. Dequan Finn has been the Rockets starting QB this season, but he is currently listed as questionable for this game with a leg injury. He has thrown for 21 touchdown passes this season and only 10 interceptions, as it would be a big loss if he couldn't play. If he can't start, Tucker Gleason will get the nod. He threw for 329 yards, three touchdowns, and two interceptions against the Falcons last week. Toledo is also running for 179.6 yards per game, which is the 50th most in the country. Jacquez Stuart is the lead back for the Rockets, as he has scored three touchdowns this season and recorded 557 yards on the ground. Micah Kelly will also get some touches, as he has recorded 96 carries this season for 323 yards and a touchdown.
On the defensive side of the field, the Rockets have not been as strong. They are currently surrendering 27.7 points per game and 351.4 yards. This is the 86th least amount of points given up per game and the 38th least amount of total yards. Their secondary has continued to lead the way, as they have been very tough to beat this season. They are only allowing 199.5 passing yards per game, which is the 30th least in the nation. The Rockets have also shown that they can load the box and stop the run as well. They are allowing their opponents to rush for 151.9 yards per game, which is the 71st least in the country. Dallas Grant continues to lead the way for this defense, as the junior linebacker has recorded 95 total tackles and two forced fumbles this season. Last week, he had seven tackles against the Bowling Green Falcons.
Injury Report: Dequan Finn QB (Leg) is currently listed as questionable for Friday's contest.
Can the Broncos Pull off the Upset?The Western Michigan Broncos are currently in fourth place in the MAC West, as they are only (3-4) inside the conference this season. Last week, they took down Central Michigan, as they will look to stay hot in this one. On offense, the Broncos are scoring 18.9 points per game and they are averaging 312.3 total yards. This is the 120th most points scored per game and the 118th most yards. Treyson Bourguet will not start in this game, as he is preserving his redshirt so that he can have another year of eligibility. Jack Salopek will most likely get the start now, as he has thrown for seven touchdowns this season and ten interceptions. The Broncos are throwing for 175.8 yards per game, which is the 118th least in the country. They are also running for 136.5 yards per contest, which is the 87th most in the NCAA. Sean Tyler is the lead back for the Broncos, as he has run for 896 yards this season and six touchdowns. Last week, he finished with 177 yards and one touchdown against Central Michigan. The Broncos will also look to get the ball to Corey Crooms, as he is the lead receiver for Western Michigan. He has recorded 788 yards and five touchdowns this season.
On defense, the Broncos have continued to make it tough for their opponents to consistently move the ball. They are only allowing 25 points per game and 354.2 total yards. This is the 55th least amount of points given up per game and the 41st least amount of yards. Western Michigan has been great against the run, as they continue to clog the middle. They are only allowing 145.1 rushing yards per game, which is the 61st least in the nation. Their secondary has been the strongest part of this team, though. The Broncos are only allowing 209.1 passing yards per game, which is the 44th least in the country. Zaire Barnes continues to lead the way for this defense, as he has recorded 85 total tackles, one sack, and one forced fumble this season.
Injury Report: La'Darius Jefferson RB (shoulder) is listed as out indefinitely.
Best Bets for this Game
Full-Game Side Bet
I will be picking the Western Michigan Broncos and I will take the points (+7.5). Toledo's starting quarterback is still questionable and I believe this WMU defense is good enough to keep this score within the spread. They are currently allowing the 55th least amount of points per game and the 41st least amount of yards. The Rockets won't be able to pull away throughout this game, as the Broncos' secondary won't allow them to consistently move the ball through the air. WMU is currently allowing the 44th least amount of passing yards per game and the 61st least rushing. They will be able to stop the run and the pass at different times in this game, which will allow them to keep this game within the spread. Toledo's defense is great at stopping the pass, but they have struggled to stop the run at different times this season. The Broncos will keep the ball on the ground and continue to run the ball down the field. Toledo won't be able to slow them down, as they will score enough points to keep this game within a touchdown. Toledo's defense was shredded last week by the Bowling Green Falcons, as the Broncos will do the same and score enough points to cover this spread.
Pick the Western Michigan Broncos and take the points (+7.5).
Full-Game Total Pick
I will be hammering the under (53.5) points in this matchup, as I don't see either of these teams scoring enough points to push this total over the number. Toledo could be without their QB and this WMU defense is legit. They are allowing the 55th least amount of points per game and the 41st least amount of total yards. They will make it difficult for Toledo to consistently move the ball in this game, as the Rockets won't score enough points to push this total over the number. I don't see the Broncos scoring many points either. They have struggled on the offensive side of the ball all season, as they are only scoring the 120th most points per game and averaging the 118th most yards. They can't move the ball through the air and the Rockets will continue to load the box to stop the run. This will lead to multiple punts, as the Broncos will struggle to score enough points to push this total over (53.5). They have struggled on the offensive side of the field this season, but their defense has continued to keep them in games. I see that trend continuing, as neither of these teams will score enough points to pull away or push this total over the number.
Pick the under (53.5) and expect a low-scoring battle in this one.