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Toledo Rockets vs. Central Michigan Chippewas football preview

After losing to Northern Illinois last Tuesday, the Rockets try to defeat the Chippewas. Central Michigan has won their last three games in a row.

Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

As Northern Illinois, Toledo, and Central Michigan all have 4-1 records in conference play (only behind 5-0 Western Michigan Broncos), the MAC West is still up for grabs. The Broncos have a game lead, but arguably have the roughest remaining schedule as they host Bowling Green, then travel to both Northern Illinois and Toledo.

The Central Michigan Chippewas (5-4, 4-1 MAC) defeated NIU earlier this season, but were unable to defeat WMU. Lead by quarterback Cooper Rush, the Chips have attacked everyone through the air the entire season, as their running game just has not been there throughout the season. Rush, who is second in the MAC in nearly every passing category behind Bowling Green's Matt Johnson, has accumulated 2,626 yards through the air, with 20 touchdowns and eight interceptions. Rush completes 70 percent of his passes, speaks to the fact that he takes what the defense gives him and he usually doesn't try to force any bad passes.

Toledo Rockets (7-1, 4-1 MAC) went undefeated up until last week, losing to Northern Illinois 32-27. Led by their tough running game, and quarterbacked by senior Phillip Ely, the Rockets have had a very balanced attack on offense. Ely has accumulated 1,870 yards passing, with 16 touchdowns and nine interceptions. Ely has helped the Rockets to defeat Arkansas and Iowa State earlier this year.

The ground game for the Chippewas is now lead by Martez Walker, as he continues to fill in for Devon Spalding who was injured earlier in the season. The junior running back has now carried the ball 80 times to the tune of 241 yards and two touchdowns. The Chippewas have another back in junior Jahray Hayes, who has carried the rock 67 times for 238 yards and two touchdowns. The Chips running attack just is not as strong as the team hoped it would be, but Central has found a way to win, and that is through the air.

The Rockets have a two headed monster at running back in junior Kareem Hunt and sophomore Terry Swanson. Hunt has carried the ball 94 times, gaining 489 yards, which is more then Walker and Hayes of CMU combined and five touchdowns, which is more then Walker and Hayes as well. Swanson has shared to workload, as he has also carried the rock 97 times, for 723 yards and five touchdowns. The Rockets look to run the ball and get past the Chippewas.

Both defenses are very strong as well. Toledo is averaging 35.8 points per game, while only allowing 18.3 points per game. Central Michigan has averaged 26.3 points per game, while allowing 21.7 points per game. The Rockets have allowed about 371 yards per game, and the Chippewas about 317 yards per game. The turnovers could be the key contributor to who wins this game. It will be a battle for who will own second place in the MAC, and the Rockets and Chippewas are ready for Tuesday night.