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The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, October 13, 1:00 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Rynearson Stadium (30,200) -- Ypsilanti, Michigan Television: None. Home Record: Toledo 3-0, EMU 0-2. Away Record: Toledo 2-1, EMU 0-3. Neutral Record: Toledo 0-0, EMU 0-0. Conference Record: Toledo 3-0, EMU 0-2. Series Record: Toledo leads, 28-11.
GAME NOTES: The Eastern Michigan Eagles will need to pull off an upset to pick up their first win of the season as they host the Toledo Rockets at Rynearson Stadium in Mid-American Conference action.
The Rockets remained unbeaten in MAC play and won for the fifth straight time as they overcame Central Michigan to earn a 50-35 victory over the Chippewas. Toledo has been unstoppable in league action, winning 17 of its last 19 MAC games. The program's success has not gone unnoticed. Toledo is beginning to receive votes in the national polls.
EMU comes in with an 0-5 overall record and a 0-2 league mark following a 41-14 loss to Kent State. The Eagles have lost every game they have played this season by double-digit margins. One more loss would give EMU the same amount as it had last year, when it finished 6-6. Coach Ron English has not had a superb tenure with the program and comes in with an 8-33 career record. Four of English's career wins have come in the month of October.
This will be the 40th meeting between these programs. Toledo holds a 28-11 edge in the all-time series after winning the last five matchups and 12 of the last 13 times these schools have faced off.
Toledo's offense should have no problem this week if its continues its recent pattern of success. The Rockets have averaged 41.7 ppg in their last three as David Fluellen thrives in the starting tailback role. Fluellen has rushed for 213 and 104 yards in his last two outings, respectively.
The Rockets' effective offense starts with their precise passer, Terrance Owens. The junior quarterback set a conference record last season with a 72.2 pass completion percentage. This year, Owens has completed 127-of-193 attempts (65.8 percent) for 1,499 yards and nine touchdowns. Owens had his streak of passes without an interception end last week at 277 when he was intercepted in the second quarter of the CMU game.
Owens has a versatile receiving corps. Freshman Alonzo Russell has used his 6-4 frame to his advantage on his way to a team-high 517 yards and two touchdowns. Russell pairs nicely with the speedy Bernard Reedy, who has 41 catches for 429 yards and three touchdowns.
Although Toledo's offense has been solid all season, its defensive unit is on the rise as of late. Toledo's total defense (451.8 ypg) is rated seventh in the conference, but it has the fifth-ranked scoring defense due to a positive 1.2 turnover margin.
Senior LB Dan Molls leads the MAC and is fourth in the FBS in tackles with 11.8 stops per game.
Offense has not been a strength of Eastern Michigan. The Eagles are ranked 119th out of 120 FBS teams in total offense (263.0 ypg) and have the lowest scoring average (15.4 ppg) in the MAC. The Eagles have been shut out in both the first and third quarters all season and have been outscored by opponents by a 186-77 margin.
After Alex Gillett struggled in his three starts, the Eagles turned to junior Tyler Benz against Michigan State. Benz completed only 9-of-17 attempts for 93 yards and a touchdown last week versus Kent State. He also threw two picks, which is something Gillett struggled with, throwing six interceptions in three games.
Garrett Hoskins has been reliable for whoever has been throwing to him. Hoskins has more than twice as many receptions (16) than any other player on the team and is the only player with more than 100 receiving yards (208).
In the running game, Javonti Green (160 yards) and Dominique Sherrer (140) have been the most productive backs.
The Eagles' defense has been just as bad, surrendering 487.6 yards and 37.2 points per game. Those numbers are marginally better than the offense in the MAC, but have still not been as successful as the Eagles' need to pick up wins.
Part of the issue is that the Eagles have been unable to create much pressure on opposing quarterbacks with only four sacks this season. Donald Coleman is the team leader with 54 total tackles, while Kalonji Kashama has been the most productive pass rusher with two sacks.
Toledo is clearly setting its sights on the MAC crown this season. EMU has struggled so much that a four-year starter was benched just three games into the year. The Rockets will have no problem winning their sixth in a row as the Eagles are probably in over their heads.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Toledo 49, Eastern Michigan 24
10/11 09:47:44 ET
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