Sunday, Nov 19, 2017
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BATTLE OF I-75

3 things to look for when Toledo has the ball

When Toledo has the ball ...

1. Toledo will try to get the ball in the hands of its playmakers

Toledo senior quarterback Logan Woodside has shown the ability to spread the ball around and get his playmakers the ball where they have a chance to turn in big plays. Against Akron earlier this season, Woodside fed the ball to 10 different UT players. Even with senior receiver Cody Thompson going down with a broken leg earlier this season, Woodside has excelled in his last four games, with more than 250 passing yards in each.

RELATED: 3 things to look for when Bowling Green has the ball

With his favorite target Thompson out, Woodside has established a connection with Diontae Johnson, who is second in the Mid-American Conference in receiving yards per game at 100.3. While Johnson has dazzled lately, Woodside has plenty of other options to throw to. Junior Jon’Vea Johnson was an All-MAC performer last season who has 29 catches for 420 yards and three touchdowns, and UT coach Jason Candle has said the stats don’t reflect how well he has played this season.

Add in slot receivers Danzel McKinley-Lewis and Desmond Phillips and an emerging tight end in Jordan Fisher and it is easy to see why Toledo’s passing attack has been so good. 

2. Offensive line play will be key for Toledo 

The Toledo offensive line has been banged up all season, with two starters at guard lost for the year in Yazeed Atariwa and Chandler Cotterman. Senior center Nate Jeppesen has also missed some time, but the Rockets have mixed and matched all season and have been steady throughout.

Led by senior tackles Elijah Nkansah and Brant Weiss, Toledo has received contributions at guard from Bryce Harris, Brandon Heidecker, and Sami Kassem. Whatever combination has been used has turned into good results for the most part. 

The offensive line struggled in the loss to Ohio, however, allowing four sacks to the Bobcats. Prior to that game, though, the offensive line had allowed one sack or less in four straight games.

Toledo also struggled in the run game against Ohio with senior Terry Swanson missing most of the game with an injury. That game looks like an exception for Toledo as during a three-game stretch against Central Michigan, Akron, and Ball State, the Rockets rushed for more than 300 yards as a team in each game. 

3. The Falcons will have to do a better job in stopping the pass.

Bowling Green allowed Buffalo to complete nearly two-thirds of its passes for 406 yards and three touchdowns in a lopsided loss to the Bulls last week. That continues a season-long trend, as the Falcons rank last in the 12-team MAC in pass defense surrendering 266.8 yards per game.

That’s not a good recipe for success against the Rockets, who lead the league with an average of 294.0 passing yards per contest.

BG coach Mike Jinks said Ohio’s success in putting pressure on UT quarterback Logan Woodside was a formula he hopes his team will adopt.

“Ohio was able to get after [Woodside], maybe not so much in sacks but in keeping constant pressure in his face,” Jinks said. “If we’re going to have any success, that’s what we’re going to have to do, or it will look like [the Buffalo game].”

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