It’s a good thing the World Series is going on. Ohio sports fans are used to seeing baseball scores, and they’ll likely get one when Toledo travels to Akron. And yes, I am joking. The final score is going to look more like a baseball team’s record at the All Star break.
If you like defense, you might want to ask your doctor’s advice before watching this game.
If you love quarterback duels, this is the place to be. Rockets QB Logan Woodside set the single season touchdown passing record with 31 against Ohio last week. His passer rating is 194.7, which is on pace to set the MAC record. The Zips have Thomas Woodson under center. In four of the six games Woodson has played this season, he has passed for more than 330 yards. Along with these two signal callers, there are weapons all over the field for both teams.
JoJo Natson Jr. and Jerome Lane have over 600 yards receiving for the Zips. Van Edwards Jr. and Manny Morgan both average over 5 yards per carry. The Zips might get Warren Ball back from injury for this game. The Ohio State transfer is averaging over 7 yards per carry. Scary good for this post-Halloween matchup!
For the Rockets, you have running back by committee. Kareem Hunt beats teams up, so that Terry Swanson can run past them. Damion Jones-Moore is good, too, but there is only one football. Defend at your own risk; each of these running backs are capable of springing 100+ yards each if you’re not careful.
The stats for the Rockets receivers are just as, if not more, staggering. Jon’Vea Johnson has 24 receptions for 534 yards. That calculates out to an impressive 22.3 yards per catch, helped by a 98-yard TD last week. Cody Thompson only needs 83 yards against a shaky Akron defense to reach 1000 receiving yards on the season, and Corey Jones, the third receiver, is already over 500 yards himself.
That wall of names and stats are what the two defenses are up against. Akron has a balanced defense. They are the only defense in the MAC to give up over 2000 yards in both passing and rushing this season. At least they are not Bowling Green. That’s about the only nice thing I can write about them.
Toledo’s defense has been much better this season. They have given up a respectable 23.5 points a game, and held teams to 377 yards per game. The problem is that when they have a bad game, it’s a really bad game.
Jamaal Williams set the BYU single game rushing record against the Rockets with 286 yards at the end of the Rocket’s OOC slate. Last week, Ohio was able to move the ball on the ground when it needed to in their upset. Their secondary is athletic, but has shown an ability to take a terrible angle or blow a coverage. I wouldn’t say it’s a pervasive problem, but it’s there. Against an offense as potent as Akron’s, it might become one.
Sometimes in a game like this, where it seems guaranteed to be a shootout, the defenses step up. They read all the projections, and play motivated football. Toledo has 2 offensive linemen that are questionable for the game, and their injuries have helped account for the offense slowing down the last two weeks.
Though I don’t predict it, a low scoring game wouldn’t completely shock me. Stranger things have happened, like last week in the MAC.