Toledo 31, Purdue 20: Ya Had The Spread Backwards

The Day of MACkoning did not go entirely as planned. The upsets in Evanston and State College did not happen. Ohio State and Michigan rolled up 138 points against two teams. 51 points for Missouri, 45 for Iowa, and 45 for UConn — and a total of 34 points by Miami, Ball State and Buffalo in those three matches. Ugliness.

But we did have one nice win in the noon batch, and it's really strange, because many sportsbooks had the Purdue Boilermakers as an 11-point favorite. Which was in retrospect — as are most spreads — laughable. You basically have to forget about that 41-2 laugher at home vs. Arizona in the first week, because Toledo is now back as a MAC powerhouse.

This was not a squeaker win where you tie it up and go for the two-point PAT and the win. This was a game UT led by 17-0, 24-7, held off a slight Purdue surge then hit the afterburners pulled away. The roles were reversed. Purdue was the MAC team today.

Right on cue, Eric Page made some more plays: a 50-yard kickoff return, and 10 receptions for 94 yards. And Austin Dantin made even more: four total touchdowns, with two on the ground and two through the oxygen. And Archie Donald was just all over the damn field, recording 13 solo tackles and intercepting the ball on Purdue's last gasp.

This is now three straight road wins for UT, and look at this streak: they allowed OHIO 13 points, WMU 24, and now Purdue just got to 21. It's not a world-class defense, but it's far better than we've seen out of the Rockets in quite some time. Any team would love to take those defensive performances.

When I picked them to win the MAC East West — cough, cough, whaddya think of that now? — I didn't envision a good-scoring, strong-defensive team. I was still thinking back to the Pinkel-Amstutz days, spreading it out, lighting the scoreboard for 40 and holding the other team to about 30. These are not your older brother's Rockets. These are Tim Beckman's Rockets. Good luck trying to get an early lead on them.

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