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Five Things Learned: Toledo 48, Akron 21

The Rockets rolls through another MAC opponent

NCAA Football: Toledo at Miami Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

After scoring 30 points in a rain filled Kelly/Shorts Stadium last week to ruin the homecoming of Central Michigan, the Toledo Rockets (6-1, 3-0) cruise to a third consecutive MAC win at home over the Akron Zips (4-4, 3-1).

Now, one of two teams currently undefeated in the league, UT has five games remaining before likely earning a trip to the championship game at Ford Field.

Here are five key take-aways from Toledo’s decisive win at the Glass Bowl:

Logan Woodside is one level above the rest

There’s a reason why Logan Woodside received so much recognition throughout the preseason.

Having been named to watch list for the Maxwell Award, Davey O’Brien Award, Manning Award and Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award, the top rated quarterback in the conference completed 17-of-24 passes for 304 yards and five touchdowns against the Zips.

Woodside took to the air early, finding Desmond Phillips for a screen pass, before the receiver took it 40 yards for the touchdown. It was 21-0 when the senior recorded his second scoring throw of the first half.

It got to the point where Woodside was replaced by backup Robbie Kelly, who also had a touchdown on 5-of-7 passing for 83 yards.

Among all 12 quarterbacks within the MAC, Woodside ranks first in passer rating (157.1) and yards per throw (9.0). He’s also thrown just one interception on the season.

Toledo’s rushing attack can’t be overlooked

With the weather at Central Michigan playing a major factor in the Rockets game plan, they looked to the ground game for the heavy lifting, as the group finished with nearly 350 total yards rushing.

A week later, UT’s running backs surpassing the 300-yard marker once again, with senior Terry Swanson finishing with 123 yards on 20 carries and redshirt freshman Shakif Seymour totaling 71 yards and a touchdown.

This shows the balance of the Toledo offense, even while Woodside continues to make his mark as one of the top passers among all Group of Five programs. It also means a lot to have Swanson on pace to finish with his best season ever, as he grabbed his 11th 100 yard-plus outing of his career.

Jon’Vea Johnson is the top receiving option

Nothing can be said about losing senior receiver and team captain Cody Thompson to a season-ending injury after the Eastern Michigan win two weeks ago, other than the blow it had to the receiving corp.

When Thompson was healthy, he led the MAC with 107.4 yards in receptions per game. As a junior, he caught six passes for a school-record 1,269 yards and 11 touchdowns.

With the number one receiving option for Toledo out of the picture, this meant an opportunity for others to take the spot, which is what Jon’Vea Johnson did on Saturday.

Even though Johnson finished with two catches last week, his production exploded against Akron, finishing with 102 reception yards, five catches and two touchdowns.

Look for Johnson to see a similar consistency down the stretch.

Akron’s momentum severely halted

It’s not very difficult to imagine how major of a upset it would have been for the Zips had they knocked off Toledo. Despite already losing to Iowa State, currently-#2 Penn State and Troy this season, what matters most is how well they performed in league play before Saturday.

Generating nothing significant offensively, Akron was held to 333 total yards, including 42 yards on 28 attempts on the ground. Quarterback Thomas Woodson was 18-of-33 passing for 205 yards with two touchdowns and an interception.

It’s the third time this season in which Toledo has allowed an opponent to rush for fewer than 100 yards.

The MAC East is up for grabs

A week ago, it appeared that the division was Akron’s to lose after leaving Kalamazoo.

Before Saturday, the Zips were the only team in the East to not lose a conference game, getting past Bowling Green, Ball State, and the Broncos. It was a sure-fire confidence booster before the heavy past of the schedule commenced.

But as the Toledo loss puts the team tied for first in the standings with Ohio, the division title has swung itself open. Akron won’t host the Bobcats for another two weeks at Infocision Stadium before concluding league play against Kent State.

OU, meanwhile, has already gained bowl eligibility following its 48-3 win over the Golden Flashes. It’ll be the ninth time that the Bobcats have made it into the postseason under head coach Frank Solich.