KALAMAZOO- The University of Toledo returns home to host Western Michigan in the Rocket's 82nd annual Homecoming game this Saturday. The Rockets (2-3, 1-1 MAC) will be happy to get back to the Glass Bowl following a rugged stretch in which they played four out of their first five games on the road. Western Michigan (0-5, 0-1 MAC) suffered a 32-14 defeat to Kent State in Kalamazoo last Saturday.
Toledo is coming off a tough 31-24 loss at Ball State last week. The defeat put the Rockets in a position where they can ill-afford another conference defeat if they hope to win the West Division title of the Mid-American Conference. Meanwhile, the Broncos have yet to lose in the West Division, but realistically it's best chance for a title this year is the Michigan MAC Championship that it can salvage with wins over Central Michigan and Eastern Michigan late in the year.
Toledo had a chance to beat the Cardinals but quarterback Terrance Owens’ fourth-down pass to a diving Alonzo Russell at midfield fell incomplete with 1:09 left in the game.
This will be the 69th meeting in program history, with 32 of those games being played in the Glass Bowl. This is the first day game between the two teams in the Glass Bowl since 1999. The Broncos trail 28-40 in the series and I don't expect the outcome of this one to close the gap. The "experts" have the "spread" as anywhere from 17 1/2 to 21 points in favor of the Rockets with the over/under pegged at 57.
Remember that BOTH teams scored over 60 the last time they got together in the Glass Bowl. Both Quarterbacks have been around their programs for a long time. The biggest difference is that the Rocket's Terrance Owens has multiple, reliable targets in Russell and Reedy whereas I am not sure that the Broncos Tyler VanTubergen knows that many reliable receivers on a first name basis. The Broncos running game has had some success but they are no where near the level of a David Fluellen.
Neither Defensive team is going to be a difference maker and will just be happy to get some time to catch their collective breath. Both teams feature relatively inexperienced head coaches, meaning neither has an advantage in that department either.The Broncos are led by P.J. Fleck, who at age 32 is the youngest head head coach in the FBS and exactly one year younger than the nation’s second-youngest coach, Toledo’s Matt Campbell.
Toledo should be able to put up a lot of points on WMU, but if the Broncos offense can get going they could make it competitive.