It took a bit longer than anticipated, but Hustle Belt bloggers thechuck_2112 (a birth name) and Culby have a preview of today's action at the Glass Bowl for you. More after the jump!
Culby: As the visiting team, you can start.
Chuck: Although our offense has been offensive this season (and I really hope Treadwell has taken playcalling duties away from John Klacik), I've been impressed with the development of Eric Finklea and Chrishawn Dupuy at tailback -- not least since neither one was supposed to be a tailback in college. Finklea, especially, has shown really great development in the spot the past few games (even in that debacle against Kent), and if we could have, just for once, a healthy offensive line and a relatively soft opponent, I think he'd really have a breakout performance.
Unfortunately, this is not that game. The line is banged up yet again, and is probably on its 457th collection of five guys at one time this season (did I mention John Klacick coaches the OL, too?). And Toledo is only giving up about 3 yards a carry on the season. So we're back to Zac Dysert having to throw his way to victory, which should hopefully be somewhat more doable, especially with better weather than last week.
Culby: And I'd say the weather helped Toledo out last week... their pass defense seems to give up a lot of yards (which is usually offset by a well-timed pick). You could see last week that the wind knocked down more balls than the secondary did. The ability to contain Dysert is really going to be the key this week, and I really feel like that D-line will be up to the task, injuries and all.
The other side of the ball will be interesting as well: Miami has a dynamite defense, and I think Dantin and Owens were exposed last week as having some soft passes. The Hawks' 11th ranked Pass D could have a field day if they play their cards right.
Chuck: The key for Miami on defense will definitely be getting to Dantin and Owens. Once the ball gets to Eric Page, I'm not sure there's much we can do to stop him (especially on special teams, which are a years-old bad spot for Miami). If anyone can cover him, it's Dayonne Nunley, who is second in the conference in passes defended, but I'm still worried. Page is awfully, awfully good.
Culby: And, as has been the case all year, it's no longer feasible to double-team #12: guys like Bernard Reedy are good enough to hurt you if you leave them alone. That threat alone may be enough to open up the running game: the Hawks haven't been too bad in stopping the ground game, but if they're dropping enough guys back to stop the pass, Morgan Williams and David Fluellan will burn 'em.
Chuck: So what are you thinking for a final? I refuse to pick Miami to lose, in any situation, so I say RedHawks 25, Rockets 22. I have no idea how this happens, except that thirty-eleven Toledo penalties will be involved.
Culby: Hey, with this Rockets team, a yellow hankie party is always possible.
I say the Rockets win it, but it's not nearly the 16 1/2 the degenerates give them. Toledo 31, The Original Miami 20.