Toledo at Eastern Michigan prediction and game preview. The Rockets travel to face the Eagles at Rynearson Stadium on Saturday.
Toledo vs. Eastern Michigan Game Preview
When: Saturday, October 8 – 3:00 p.m. ET
Where: Rynearson Stadium, Ypsilanti, MI
Take the toe tag off Eastern Michigan football for now. The sad sack Eagles have a pulse, off to their best start in 21 years for third-year coach Chris Creighton. And after defeating Bowling Green at Doyt Perry last week, EMU needs just two more wins in the final seven games to qualify for a first postseason appearance since the 1987 California Bowl. But here comes Toledo, as potent as ever and a little testy after falling to BYU, 55-53, in Provo. The Rockets want to rebound as quickly as possible, while making certain they lose no ground to unbeaten Western Michigan in the MAC West Division race.
What To Know About Toledo
The Cougars blew holes into Jason Candle’s defense in Week 5, rushing for 338 yards and six touchdowns. It’s a good thing the Rockets harbor the offensive firepower to keep pace with anyone on the schedule. Toledo is averaging 45 points per game, and there’s no cutting the head off this diverse attack. Toledo can move the sticks in any number of ways, from the running of next-level back Kareem Hunt to QB Logan Woodside, who’s thrown at least four touchdown passes to three different receivers. Plus, the O-line is among the tops in the league.
What To Know About Eastern Michigan
While the Eagles are light in star power, they’re just finding ways to win, the sign of a maturing squad. Last weekend, for instance, starting QB Todd Porter was injured, so Brogan Roback came off the bench to complete 9-of-13 for 91 yards and three touchdowns. Creighton has EMU buying into the next-man-in philosophy. The defense is serviceable against modest competition, with senior DE Pat O’Connor standing out with a team-high 6.5 tackles for loss, 4.5 sacks and two forced fumbles. The Eagles have done well to create takeaways this fall, but must cut down on Porter’s interceptions.
Offense: Toledo. Yeah, the Eagles have improved here, but they’re not even close to matching the Rockets’ weapons.
Defense: Toledo. While the Rockets harbor the better individual talent, like linemen Treyvon Hester and John Stepec, they need to make strides versus the run.
Special Teams: Eastern Michigan. Eagles enjoying consistency from PK Paul Fricano and booming punts from Austin Barnes.
Coaching: Toledo. Creighton has a long history of winning at different levels, but the Rockets have the better overall staff.
Intangibles: Eastern Michigan. It’s been more than a generation since EMU football has mattered, and the Eagles are actually spawning a minor buzz in Ypsilanti.
Matchup To Watch
O’Connor vs. Toledo LT Storm Norton
This will easily be the most intriguing head-to-head battle between linemen with Sunday aspirations. Eastern Michigan must find a way to disrupt Woodside’s timing, and O’Connor is the team’s best candidate to apply backside pressure.
Spread: Toledo -17
Toledo vs. Eastern Michigan Prediction
Good story so far, Eastern Michigan. But you lack the raw talent to compete with a Mid-American Conference A-lister. The Eagles might get that bowl invitation after all next month. This Saturday, though, they get a beating from a motivated and gifted Toledo squad. The Rockets will vex the EMU defense with the balance of Hunt and Woodside on offense. And somewhat lost in last week’s defensive collapse at BYU is the fact that the secondary is playing well enough to send Porter or Roback to his worst performance of 2016 so far.
Toledo at Eastern Michigan Score Prediction: Toledo 48, Eastern Michigan 23