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2016 MAC Football Preview: Bowling Green Falcons @ Toledo Rockets

Will a pumped up BGSU take the Battle Of I-75 Trophy?

NCAA Football: Toledo at Brigham Young Chris Nicoll-USA TODAY Sports

Bowling Green played much better the last 2 weeks, but still ended up with 2 losses. They would love nothing more than to knock off their old enemy while getting back into the win column. It’s a tough challenge, and the toughest part will be stopping the Rockets’ offense. An offense that is number 5 in the entire country in total yards, at 570 a clip. An offense that is loaded with weapons all over the field. Cody Thompson is averaging 129 yards receiving per contest. Logan Woodside is throwing for 338 per contest. Kareem Hunt is averaging 110 on the ground for the Rockets. All three lead the MAC in their respective categories. That’s a tall order for any defense. But Bowling Green isn’t just any defense. It’s a defense that has given up 77 points twice this season. A defense that is giving up a whooping 515 yards and 46.5 per game.

If this wasn’t the battle of I-75 it would be easy to imagine the Rockets going for triple digits. But funny things happen in rivalry games. Defenses that have been torched all season suddenly show up, and make plays. Quarterbacks like James Morgan, who has thrown for just 3 touchdowns and 7 picks his first season, start to get it and make smart decisions with the ball. This guy wont be shocked if all the numbers go out the window, and Bowling Green makes it a game.

But this guy also wont be shocked if Toledo pours on the points. Their offense is one of the most complete offenses I have seen in 30 years of watching college football. Quarterback that can read a defense and has a cannon? Check. Two big play wide receivers and several others that contribute? Check. Giant tight end that can block and catch TDs in the red zone? Check. A stable of running backs led by arguably the best back in the MAC? Check. An offensive line that lets the play makers make the plays? Check. I just don’t see how a defense that is playing better as of late by only giving up 29 per the last two weeks can compete with this offense.

Where Bowling Green can make it a game is by running the football. They have a solid run game, and if Toledo has a weakness, it’s in their rush defense. Jamal Williams of BYU torched it for 289 yards and 5 touchdowns. BYU was struggling on offense, but showed some promise in the game leading up to the Toledo game, much like this BGSU team. The only real way to stop this Rockets’ offense is to keep the ball out of their hands. On paper, even a good day rushing the football from the Falcons’ Fred Coppet wont be enough. Luckily for the Falcons, games aren’t played paper, especially rivalry games. I’ll be tuning in Saturday expecting a football game, at least for 3 quarters.