By AF, Toledo Football Beat Writer
Toledo took a Thursday road trip to Muncie, IN to battle Ball State (or, as Ya Boy Jason Candle likes to call them, Testicle Tech). Toledo was the heavy favorite in the matchup, and for good reason. I think the spread for the game was somewhere in the 24.5 points range, so basically nobody thought Ball State was gonna do a damn bit of anything against Toledo. Turns out, those people were right.
Toledo did come out of the gates pretty sluggish. This game had trap game written all over it early on. In fact, at the end of the first quarter, Toledo was actually losing to Ball freakin’ State. But in the second quarter, Toledo turned it on and never looked back. The Rockets scored 7 touchdowns in the 2nd and 3rd quarters to take a 51-17 lead into the 4th quarter. The Rockets’ big play capabilities were showcased in this one as Toledo had SIX touchdowns of 60 yards or more in the contest. Diontae Johnson was the king of the night putting up 170 receiving yards on 4 catches for two touchdowns and adding an 87 yard punt return touchdown. Toledo racked up over 600 yards of total offense in just 21 minutes of possession. The Rockets rushed for 335 yards total. Swanson had 105 yards on 11 carries and a TD, Nevone McCrimmon added 5 carries for 81 yards, Shakif Seymour had 5 carries for 72 yards and two TDs, and a few more guys chipped in running as well. Like I said, Toledo’s backfield is lethal. There’s no dropoff from one guy to the next, and that was crystal clear against Ball State.
The defense held Ball State to just 17 points as well. The Toledo of old would basically just try to outscore you, but against this defense, points are anything but a guarantee. They held Ball State’s quarterback, Drew Pitts, in check throughout the contest allowing less than 97 yards passing to the QB. The rushing attack of Ball State collectively put up over 200 yards rushing, but who cares? They got their asses kicked anyway. It’s definitely reassuring to know that this Toledo defense is able to bail out the offense if need be. Being dominant on both sides of the football will pay dividends down the road.
The #WoodsideForHeisman train continued to chug along this week as well. Toledo only having the ball for 21 minutes in the game limited Woodside’s attempts (17) but not his production. He was 8 of 17 for 267 yards and 3 touchdowns. That’s right, 37.5% of Woodside’s passes were touchdowns. He had a 15.7 yards per completion average. He had a QBR of 87 as well. Toledo had such a big lead for most of the game that they spent most of the time running the ball (hence the 335 total rushing yards). But Woodside got his and WON. The guy ESPN keeps saying is the Heisman frontrunner, Saquon Barkley, LOST this weekend. Sorry, but I want my Heisman winner to be exactly that, A WINNER. Anyway, this game brought Logan “The GOAT” Woodside’s season stats to 2295 yards, 19 touchdowns, and only 2 interceptions. Seriously, just give him the trophy now. I’m sick of anyone else even being considered for the award at this point.
This week, the Rockets have some Thursday #MACtion as the long-time thorn in the side, Northern Illinois, comes to the Glass Bowl. The Huskies are, like Toledo, 4-0 in conference play this season. They are 6-2 overall (Toledo is 7-1, suck it NIU), have a win over Nebraska, and lost a close one to start the year against Boston College. Their starting QB, Matt Childers, took over the starting job in week 5 and NIU hasn’t lost a game with him under center. The Huskies’ defense also allows less yards per game than Toledo’s. The difference will be how well the Rockets can run the ball and how efficiently they can operate offensively. The good news for Toledo is that Logan Woodside and Terry Swanson are in the blue and gold. Those two are game changers. As long as Toledo can limit the penalties (a major issue this year), they should prevail on Wednesday night. I think Toledo knows they’ve historically struggled against NIU, and they will play this game with something to prove. They can take sole possession of the MAC West lead with a win. This Rockets team has huge aspirations this season, and they won’t let NIU squander those goals this season.