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Election Night MAC Football: Ball State at Toledo

Ball State doesn't have much of a chance to win the MAC West, but at the very least their offense can keep up with the Rockets as a perfect distraction to keep you away from watching election returns.

That's why it's called the Mid-AMERICAN Conference
That's why it's called the Mid-AMERICAN Conference

Did you vote? Oh well, probably too late now. Let's just watch football. A presidential election happens every four years, but a golden MAC football season is every nine years. That makes it almost as important as the census.

In the scope of the MAC West, this game is a last-ditch effort to keep Ball State in the race. I don't consider them in it:

Northern Illinois 6-0
Toledo 5-0
Ball State 3-2

Ball State would not only need to beat Toledo, Ohio and Miami, but they'd need Toledo to beat NIU, then have NIU lose to Eastern Michigan just to enter into tiebreaker scenarios. Not having it.

But Ball State is bowl eligible again, and at 6-3 they ought to sneak in there somewhere. Another victory down the line would help the cause. This may not be the time for a win; but when does Ball State ever do anything expected of them? Of all the success against other FBS opponents, the only school that posted back-to-back wins over AQ conference schools was the Fightin' Cardinals. We are including Indiana as an AQ conference team for the purposes of this discussion. South Florida still counts, right?

They also should have beaten Western Michigan, then they should've lost to WMU (after a game-winning interception was fumbled away, resulting in the game-tying field goal), then they beat them anyway in overtime. They should've beaten Kent State, only to have Kent State's even more magical season trump that.

In all their six wins have been by a total of 42 points, with the largest margin of victory being 11. They keep this stuff close. They've got a terrific offensive line which is 15th in the country in fewest sacks allowed (less than one per game). If you haven't watched the BSU offense, look for wide receiver Jamill Smith to be used in a variety of ways, especially on returns, Willie Snead to make some big catches, and Jahwan Edwards to move the chains.

The problem, as is an epidemic in the MAC, is that darn defense. Their rushing yards/passing yards/points allowed rank 100th or worse in all categories. And Toledo's pretty good at getting that football into the end of the field in the hands of a man they call their own. That man is likely one of two people: Bernard Reedy is a legitimate No. 1 receiver who has seamlessly replaced Eric Page on that front, who has also returned three kicks/punts for touchdowns. David Fluellen is also a super running back who was No. 3 on the depth chart last year, but replaced Adonis Thomas with relative ease (at least to our eyes). The O-Line is solid in terms of run blocking, helping Fluellen get over six yards per carry, and their pass blocking is decent enough, giving up about 1.5 sacks per game.

I thought the Rockets defense would be better at this point, but injuries especially to the defensive line have thinned out the ranks a bit. Both defensive ends (T.J. Fatinikun, Christian Smith) won't be in this one. But you might see backup senior QB Austin Dantin play perhaps a series or even block during punting situations. Now that's what you call Tebowing.

My fellow Mid-Americans, the choice is clear. Watch this football game, or watching something stupid such as cable news. Be it the election or Toledo-Ball State, first to 270 wins.