Fresh off a bye-week, the Toledo Rockets (3-3, 2-1 MAC) return home fSaturday or a matchup against Navy (3-2). Despite the government shutdown, the game is still a go, and should prove to be quite a test for Toledo.
Navy enters Saturday with the nation's 11th best rushing attack behind the wheels of a dangerous read-option offense. The Midshipmen's resume this season is confusing, but also shows off how hard it is to stop their offense. They've lost badly to Duke, and somewhat badly to WKU. Wins against Delaware and Air Force weren't too terribly impressive, but they did knock off Indiana, 41-35, to open their season. You know, the same Indiana squad that demolished Bowling Green earlier this season.
Navy's offense, though one-dimensional, has the ability to mix things up and keep opponents guessing with a stable of talented runners. Six players have more than 100 rushing yards for the Midshipmen, including quarterback Keenan Reynolds, who has ran for 416 yards and seven touchdowns on top of his 467 yards and two scores through the air. Seven different Navy players have scored a rushing touchdown, illustrating how deadly its rushing attack actually is.
But Toledo enters the game with an equally dangerous rushing defense. The Rockets are allowing an average of just 142 rushing yards-per-game, second best in the MAC, and despite allowing 11 rushing touchdowns, have held opposing offenses to 3.7 yards-per-carry. Against a one-dimensional attack such as Navy's, Toledo can focus more attention on the running game, and should be able to cause some interesting matchups. Junior Sylvestre, a tackling monster, is already a force in the running game from the secondary. Linebacker Chase Murdock is another name to look out for on the Rockets' defense. The sophomore linebacker has had little problems getting into the backfield along with defensive end Jayrone Elliott.
But even if Toledo's defense can cause issues for Navy's ground game, it will have to find a way for its own offense to put up some points. The Midshipmen's defense isn't stellar, but it is better than Toledo's in many categories, and should be a tougher test for David Fluellen than CMU or WMU were. The Rockets' offense has had a ton of success on the ground with Fluellen this season, but will need to provide a balanced attack Saturday to avoid getting into a struggle.
Terrance Owens should be 100 percent finally after the week off, and will need to work in Bernard Reedy and Alonzo Russel to keep Navy from loading up on Fluellen all game. A win here would also put Toledo up over .500 for the first time this season and it one step closer to becoming bowl eligible.
Kickoff is schedule for noon and can be seen on ESPNews and streamed on WatchESPN.