Ball State will be looking to bounce back from a pair of blowout losses when it hosts Toledo in a MAC West matchup on Saturday afternoon. The Rockets have also lost their last two games, but they have been competitive. Ball State was blown out by Penn State and Wyoming in a pair of road contests.
Toledo coming off disappointing lossToledo opened the season with a 49-10 win over Norfolk State on Labor Day weekend. The Rockets almost pulled off a huge upset in Week 2, coming up just short in a 32-29 loss at No. 8 Notre Dame. They took a 29-24 lead with 1:35 left in the game, but the Fighting Irish responded with a touchdown 26 seconds later to avoid the upset. Notre Dame was a 16.5-point favorite. Toledo might have been dealing with a letdown effect in its 22-6 loss to Colorado State last week. The Rockets allowed a punt return for the only touchdown of the game.
They were never able to get the offense going in a game where they were 14.5-point favorites. Sophomore quarterback Carter Bradley has completed for 63.2% of his attempts for 658 yards and two touchdowns this season. He has not thrown an interception through the first three games. Junior running back Bryant Koback leads the rushing attack with 42 carries for 198 yards and two touchdowns. He was held to 32 yards on 13 attempts in the loss to Colorado State, which was a surprising result following his 114-yard performance against Notre Dame. Sophomore wide receiver Devin Maddox has caught 14 passes for a team-high 254 yards. An 84-yard catch against Norfolk State and a 66-yard reception against Notre Dame have led to an average of 18.1 yards per catch.
Plitt coming off benching against WyomingBall State will be happy to return home after a very disappointing two-game road trip. The Cardinals opened the season with a 31-21 win over Western Illinois, but they have not been competitive since then. They were blown out in a 44-13 loss at No. 11 Penn State in Week 2 and then they dropped a 45-12 final at Wyoming last week. Wyoming was only a 6.5-point favorite, but it jumped out to a 31-0 lead by the end of the first half. Ball State did not get on the board until the final minutes of the third quarter.
"It's crucial that we understand the severity of this game."@BSUCoachNeu and @__BCos5 look back at Wyoming and ahead to Toledo on this week's @VHMuncie BirdFeed Live!— Ball State Football (@BallStateFB) September 21, 2021
FULL AUDIO: https://t.co/cs73JhhGvi@WeFly l #ChirpChirp pic.twitter.com/YZCBJXokEm
Sixth-year senior quarterback Drew Plitt, who led Ball State to its first winning season since 2013 last year, is not off to a good start this year. He was benched at halftime of last week’s game after going 8 of 14 and throwing an interception. Plitt has now thrown two pick-sixes this season. Backup quarterback John Paddock averaged just four yards per attempt in relief, throwing a pick-six of his own. Freshman running back Carson Steele and senior running back Will Jones have been splitting reps. They are both averaging more than 4.0 yards per carry. Senior wide receiver Justin Hall has 17 receptions for 192 yards and two touchdowns.
- 3-7 ATS in its last 10 conference games
- 2-5 ATS in its last seven games vs. a team with a losing record
- 3-7 ATS in its last 10 road games
Ball State is:
- 4-0 ATS in its last four conference games
- 8-2 ATS in its last 10 games as an underdog
- 4-1 ATS in its last five games following a loss of 20-plus points
Best Bets for this Game
Full-Game Side Bet
While Toledo has shown fewer negative signs through the first three weeks of the season, I still believe Ball State has the higher ceiling. The Cardinals won the MAC West last year and returned 20 starters from that team. I can’t explain what has gone wrong to open this season, but I trust their experienced group to get things together. Plitt is the most experienced quarterback in the conference and has shredded Toledo’s defense the last few times he has faced them. I expect Ball State to get Hall involved early and often on Saturday afternoon.
Full-Game Total Pick
There have not been many teams cashing the over following a loss than Ball State. The Cardinals have gone over the total in their last six games after a setback. Plitt was benched at halftime last week, which I expect to be a serious wake-up call. He is an All-MAC quarterback who has been significantly downgraded in the betting market. I expect him and Hall to make a statement in this game. On the other side, Bradley is going to take care of the ball and put his team in a scoring position. The Rockets have gone over the total in their last four road games.