We’re a day late and a few dollars short on celebrating the start of MACtion, but there’s more MACtion on Wednesday to get excited about and that’s the game that we’ll put in the spotlight as the Toledo Rockets visit the Akron Zips at InfoCision Stadium. These two teams both suffered pretty devastating setbacks in their respective divisions last week on Thursday night, so the mantra is short week, short memory for these two Mid-American Conference squads.
Toledo vs. Akron College Football Preview
Date/Time: Wednesday November 2, 7:30 p.m. ET
College Football Betting Odds from 5Dimes
College Football Betting Favorite: Toledo -8.5
Oddsmakers at BetOnline got caught with their pants down with this total, which shot up a touchdown from the opening number of 64. The line hasn’t moved around a whole lot, but the Rockets are getting the early money and will probably get the public money with a standalone college football contest in the MAC. Toledo is 6-2 straight up and 5-3 against the number in Jason Candle’s first full season as the head coach. Toledo was 4-0 ATS to open the year, but they’ve dropped three of four. Akron is 5-4 straight up and 3-6 against the spread. They’re one of just a handful of teams without a bye to this point in the season. It may be catching up with them, as they’ve sputtered offensively and defensively over the last three games.
The bombs have not been bursting in air for the Rockets. They’ve been falling in receivers’ hands and going for touchdowns. The Toledo offense has been something special this season. They’ve scored 39.4 points per game and have gained 544 yards per effort. Their 7.3 yards per play ranks sixth in the country. They are ninth in total passing yards. Logan Woodside has an obscene 31/5 TD/INT ratio this season with 10.5 yards per pass attempt. The Rockets have averaged 15 yards per completion, with Cody Thompson leading the way. He has 42 grabs for 917 yards and nine touchdowns. Kareem Hunt is a steady running back with 4.7 yards per pop on his 167 efforts. The Rockets have had some performance anxiety this season, though. They’ve only scored 14.1 of their 39.4 points per game in the first half. Starting slow hadn’t really been an issue until last week against Ohio.
Defensively, Toledo’s stats are a little bit tough to gauge. They’ve played some really poor offensive teams and some teams that just haven’t met expectations this season. Arkansas State, Maine, and Fresno State did next to nothing offensively. In conference play, the Rockets have faced Eastern Michigan, Bowling Green, Central Michigan, and Ohio, none of which are the type that light up the scoreboard. The Rockets have still allowed six yards per play this season, so there have been some holes, especially with a lot of close game going into intermission. Toledo’s secondary has been excellent, holding opponents to a 52.2 percent completion percentage. The run defense has allowed 4.7 yards per try.
Thomas Woodson is finally back under center, which is good news because Akron’s offense is so much better with him at the helm. That wasn’t the case last week, as he was just 18-of-42 for 178 yards with a touchdown and a pick, but Woodson has a 16/5 TD/INT ratio with a 62 percent completion percentage on the season. Tra’Von Chapman was more of a runner than a passer while he filled in, so this opens up Akron’s offense to be more balanced. Van Edwards Jr. and Manny Morgan have both averaged more than five yards per carry and Utah State transfer JoJo Natson has nine touchdown catches and nearly 700 receiving yards. The Akron offense has been pretty solid this season, despite getting killed in time of possession stats week after week.
The Akron defense has not been solid this season. In fact, it’s been terrible. The Zips have faced some decent offensive teams, but they’ve had to defend an average of 79 plays per game and they’ve allowed 6.1 yards per play. You can do the math, but the answer is that it’s bad. The Zips have allowed 34.2 points per game and over five yards per carry. It’s fair to wonder how much of the performance is fatigue-related, since Akron’s defense has played an average of 34:34 per game, which means some have definitely been higher. That’s not a good combination with a Toledo offense that seems to put it together in the second half.
College Football Free Pick: Toledo Rockets -8.5
Toledo matches up really well against Akron here. Their strength on defense is defending the pass and their strength on offense is to get guys in space and get them the football. You don’t spend over 34 minutes per game on the field and give up more than 480 yards per game if you can tackle. Akron can’t tackle. They can’t really cover or fill gaps either, though some defensive injuries have certainly hurt. Akron hasn’t been at full strength much and Toledo was likely shaded with the expectation of public MACtion, but they’re still the preferred side here.
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