We have a good one on tap for the Mid-American Conference this week as the Toledo Rockets are traveling to face the Ohio Bobcats. Toledo is slightly favored in this one by only three points, the Rockets are 8-1 on the year and are atop the MAC West standings. Meanwhile, the Bobcats are 7-2 on the year and are atop the MAC East standings. So here we go, it is East versus West and since both teams have a strong hold on their respective conferences there is a solid chance that the two teams will face off again at the end of the season for the MAC Championship. As for their matchup this time around, here are my keys to victory for both sides.
Toledo Keys to the Game
- Work Off Of The Passing Game. It is no secret that Toledo QB Logan Woodside (pictured) is the real deal but Ohio’s pass defense has not been that good. On average the Bobcats are letting up over 250 yards per game through the air and if there is any MAC quarterback that can take advantage… it is Woodside.
- You Need To Stop The Run. Bobcat quarterback Nathan Rourke (below) and running back AJ Ouellette are a certified problem for opposing defense and Toledo’s defense will have problems with them. It will be important for the Rockets to run commit and slow down Rourke and Ouellette as much as they can. Bend, Don’t Break.
- Do Not Bite On The Play-Action. The fact that Ohio has such a strong running game, paired with a sound QB, you can expect them to use the running game to maximize the impact of the play action. At the end of the day, Toledo will need to commit to stopping the run but do not overcommit and let Rourke throw the ball all over you.
Ohio Keys to the Game
- Win The Red-Zone Battle On Defense. One of the many things that makes Toledo’s offense so great is their ability to get the ball in the endzone and not settle for field goals. Expect running back Terry Swanson (above Toledo) to get the goal line carries, as he is averaging more than a touchdown per game.
- Pressure Logan Woodside. Woodside does not make mistakes but if the Ohio defense can make him uncomfortable then they just might have a shot at forcing a bad turnover or two, as is the case with almost any quarterback.
- Run The Football. Quarterback Nathan Rourke and AJ Ouellette have combined for SIXTEEN rushing touchdowns this year and Toledo’s rush defense is nothing to write home about. Not only can Toledo’s defense be exposed against a potent rushing attack but a good run game will open up the passing game.
This is going to be great game that I think will come down to the wire. I might have too much faith in Toledo quarterback Logan Woodside because I see him leading the Rockets to victory on a late game-winning drive. Give me the Toledo Rockets by a score of 33-29.
Cover Photo via ESPN
Article Photos via Student Union and Athens News