Football Bowl Subdivision

         === Rockets put new ranking on the line against Cardinals ===
 Toledo, OH (Sports Network) - The 23rd-ranked Toledo Rockets continue their
 quest for a Mid-American Conference Championship as they host the Ball State
 Cardinals at the Glass Bowl in a Tuesday night affair.
 The Rockets are trailing Northern Illinois by half a game in the West Division
 standings. Toledo and NIU are scheduled to meet next week, which makes this
 week's game pivotal for the Rockets.
 Ball State will not be a simple stepping stone for Toledo. The Cardinals
 extended their winning streak to three games on Oct. 27 by taking down Army,
 30-22, in West Point. The Cardinals have won their past two road games and
 came up just short in a 45-43 loss to the Golden Flashes, who are perfect in
 MAC action, at Kent State. Coach Pete Lembo's squad defeated a pair of
 programs from BCS Conferences (South Florida, Indiana) on the way to becoming
 bowl eligible for the second straight year.
 In his first year at the helm of the program, Matt Campbell is one of a
 handful of viable candidates for coach of the year in the conference. Toledo
 arrived at its first top-25 ranking in over a decade by reeling off eight wins
 in a row, including a 29-23 upset of the previously unbeaten Cincinnati
 Bearcats on Oct. 20. The Rockets defeated Buffalo, 25-20, on the road their
 last time out to improve to 19-2 in their last 21 MAC games.
 Campbell commented on the team's national ranking over the weekend.
 "It's nice to be ranked and to be recognized on a national basis," said
 Campbell. "But rankings are not really relevant to the task at hand. We are
 facing a very good Ball State team on Tuesday and that is all we are focused
 on right now."
 Toledo holds a narrow 19-17-1 advantage over Ball State in the all-time
 series. The Rockets have won three straight in the rivalry, including a 45-28
 decision in last year's regular-season finale.
 Ball State's success this season is largely due to its dynamic offense which
 is second in the MAC with 473.2 yards per game. The only team to hold the
 Cardinals under 400 total yards of offense this season was Clemson.
 BSU has a potent weapon out of the backfield in tailback Jahwan Edwards, who
 ranks sixth in the MAC with an average of 105.4 yards per game. The sophomore
 tailback has eclipsed the century mark in each of his last three games.
 Edwards frequently visits the end zone, with 20 touchdowns in 21 career games.
 Horactio Banks complements Edwards very well as an alternative out of the
 backfield, but a knee injury has kept him sidelined the past two weeks. With
 Banks injured, Barrington Scott has tallied 180 yards on 40 attempts and two
 touchdowns in the same number of games.
 Ball State also has a potent passing attack with Keith Wenning under center.
 The junior quarterback went 18-of-27 for 189 yards, two touchdowns, and one
 interception in last week's triumph over Buffalo. On the season, Wenning has
 completed 64.3 percent of his passes for 2,425 yards with 17 touchdowns and
 seven interceptions.
 Wenning has a pair of reliable targets in Willie Snead and Jamill Smith. Snead
 is 12th in the FBS and first in the MAC in receiving with 901 yards and six
 touchdowns on 68 receptions. Smith has made 60 catches for 641 yards and four
 Ball State's defensive unit is not on par with its offense. Last week, the
 Cardinals gave up 341 rushing yards to Army's wishbone offense. BSU managed to
 hold the Black Knights to 379 total yards in the contest. The Cardinals'
 defense still has plenty of work to do as it is ranked 106th out of 120 FBS
 teams with an allowed average of 465.2 ypg.
 Travis Freeman (96 tackles) and Tony Martin (63 tackles) are both key players
 on the defensive side of the ball. Freeman is tied for ninth in the FBS and
 tied for third in the MAC in tackles. Jonathan Newsome leads the team with 7.5
 tackles for loss and 6.0 sacks.
 Toledo has a very balanced and effective offensive attack. The Rockets have
 shown the ability to light up the scoreboard, but they have been held under 30
 points in each of their past two outings. The Rockets are still third in the
 conference in scoring (34.3 ppg) and fourth in total offense (454.7 ypg).
 David Fluellen is unstoppable as of late. The junior running back tallied 228
 yards on 35 carries against Buffalo to eclipse the century mark for the fifth
 straight game. Fluellen has piled up 1,181 yards and 11 touchdowns on 196
 carries, which makes him the sixth most productive rusher in the FBS.
 The Rockets' aerial attack features two of the MAC's most productive wideouts
 in Bernard Reedy and Alonzo Russell. Reedy leads the team with 803 yards, 61
 receptions, and five touchdown catches. The junior wideout has also collected
 multiple West Division Special Teams Player of the Week awards for his efforts
 in the return game. Russell is averaging 80.7 receiving yards per game, which
 is the highest average among freshmen in the conference.
 Terrance Owens had a rough outing his last time out, finishing 12-of-25 for
 171 yards with one touchdown at Buffalo. It was the second straight game
 Owens was held under 200 passing yards. The junior quarterback was a steady
 game manager for the majority of the season before his recent slump. Owens has
 completed 64.7 percent (173-of-274) of his passes for 2,461 yards, 13
 touchdowns, and five interceptions.
 Although Toledo's defense has not been consistent this season, it stepped up
 big time last week by forcing two fumbles and holding the Bulls to 372 total
 yards of offense. The Rockets are only 10th in the MAC in total defense (466.1
 ypg), but are fifth in points allowed (26.7 ppg).
 The Rockets are led by the nation's leading tackler, Dan Molls, who has
 already recorded 116 total stops. Jermaine Robinson has made some spectacular
 plays and leads the MAC with four interceptions, two of which he returned for
 11/06 10:52:06 ET

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