The Toledo Rockets travel to Peden Stadium for some mid-week MACtion against the Ohio Bobcats. Toledo (5-5, 3-3) enters needing just one win to become bowl eligible for the first time three seasons. Last Wednesday, the Rockets defeated Bowling Green 49-17 in the Battle of I-75.
Ohio (3-7, 3-3) won't be playing in the postseason, but the Bobcats have won two in a row. The first one was a 35-33 victory over archrival Miami (Ohio) in the Battle of the Bricks on Nov. 2 followed by a 34-26 road win against Eastern Michigan last Tuesday.
These in-state rivals haven't played each other since 2017, a game Ohio won 38-10 in Athens. Toledo has the overall edge in the series, 31-21-1.
Toledo at Ohio
Kickoff: Tuesday, Nov. 16 at 7 p.m. ET
Spread: Toledo -7
When Toledo Has the Ball
Dequan Finn has been on a bit of a roll since taken over the starting quarterback job. Finn has eight touchdown passes and just one interception over his last three games, and he's been extremely sharp (48-for-69, 69.6 percent) over the last two. Finn will spread the ball around, as he connected with eight different receivers on his 18 completions in the rout of Bowling Green. That many players also have caught a touchdown pass this season, with none having more than three (15 total).
On the ground, Bryant Koback leads the way. He's second in the MAC with 936 rushing yards and nine touchdowns. He's averaging 6.1 yards per carry and scored twice on the ground in each of the past two games. Finn also can make things happen with his legs (4.2 ypc), and he has eight rushing touchdowns. They'll get their shot against an Ohio defense that is giving up 197.1 rushing yards per game, ranking 109th nationally.
Toledo is averaging 33 points per game in MAC matchups while Ohio is giving up 28 points per conference contest. Look for linebacker Bryce Houston, who leads the Bobcats with 89 tackles and also has two sacks, to be in the center of most of the action as Ohio tries to slow down a Rockets offense that is second in the MAC at 6.3 yards per play.
When Ohio Has the Ball
Ohio is averaging 454 yards per contest during its modest two-game winning streak. Last week's win over Eastern Michigan featured a pretty balanced attack as the Bobcats ran for 265 yards and threw for 230 while averaging eight yards per play.
After throwing four touchdown passes in his first six games, quarterback Kurtis Rourke has three in each of the past two games. He's also completing 66 percent of his throws (33-of-50) and averaging 10.4 yards per attempt during this span. Isiah Cox has been one of the primary beneficiaries of Rourke's resurgence, as he's caught 10 passes for 172 yards and three touchdowns in the last two games after totaling 14 receptions for 119 yards and one score in his first six.
Running back De'Montre Tuggle also has played a role in the rejuvenated passing game during the winning streak with a pair of long touchdown catches (50, 48 yards), and he's also averaging six yards a carry with seven rushing touchdowns.
Toledo's defense will try and cool off Ohio's offense, and the Rockets have been up to the task throughout this season. They are first in the MAC in total, scoring, and passing defense and are holding conference opponents to 24 points and 354 yards per game. The Rockets have done a good job of forcing mistakes (16 turnovers) and racked up five sacks in last week's win. Defensive end Desjuan Johnson is tied for the MAC lead in tackles for a loss (11.5), while outside linebacker Jamal Hines is tied for second in sacks with 6.5 sacks.
A popular selection to win the MAC entering the season, Toledo is looking up at West Division leader Northern Illinois with just two games left in the regular season. However, the Rockets have bowl eligibility in their sights and can get there with a win over Ohio. The Bobcats have been on a roll recently, but Toledo has the offensive firepower and the defensive strength to earn that all-important sixth win in Athens on Tuesday night.
Prediction: Toledo 33, Ohio 17
Podcast: Recapping Week 11, Washington Coaching Search and Previewing the CFB Playoff Top 25 Rankings Release