The preseason Mid-American Conference West Division favorite Toledo Rockets are 4-1 and have an explosive offense similar to recent years.
Central Michigan allowed a combined 86 points to Toledo over the past two seasons, while the Chippewas tallied 48 points of its own.
The Rockets lost offensive playmakers Eric Page and Adonis Thomas from last year’s one-loss MAC team. That has not stopped Toledo from having the 38th–best passing game in the country, scoring 30 points a game this season.
“They are very explosive on offense,” CMU head coach Dan Enos said.
The quarterback, Terrance Owens, has thrown nine touchdowns without throwing an interception this season. One strategy Enos said Toledo utilizes is quickly getting the ball out to wide receivers given one-on-one match ups on the outside.
“They run a couple bubbles passes and screens,” CMU junior linebacker Shamari Benton said. “We have to get heads on swivels. It helps watching film and seeing down and distances.”
Enos said it will be extremely important to win the turnover battle. Toledo is tied for second in the MAC by causing six more turnovers than it has given up.
CMU sits on the bottom of that last, tied for last in the MAC after losing six more turnovers than its lone fumble recovery and interception of the season.
“The turnover factor is important,” first-year Toledo head coach Matt Campbell said. “We talk so much to our kids about taking care of the football on offense, and, on defense, we tell them to go get the ball.”
The Rockets lost their first game of the season against Arizona in overtime before rattling off four–straight wins – two against MAC opponents. During that span, the Toledo defense has allowed 307 passing yards a game, ranking second–worst in the conference.
CMU senior quarterback Ryan Radcliff said the matchup will be a big challenge. He is coming off his biggest performance of the season, throwing for 332 yards.
“They are a little nicked up, up front,” Radcliff said. “They have a lot of skill guys, real fast in the secondary. The majority of the coverages they run we have seen, and (we’ve seen) some things they haven’t shown yet (this season), but we know what (they bring). It will be just a matter of exploiting it.”
The Chippewas and Rockets will face off at 3 p.m. Saturday in Toledo, Ohio.