University of Toledo football coach Tim Beckman said he doesn't plan on doing much scoreboard watching Friday during his team's must-win game at Ball State.
The Rockets (7-4, 6-1 Mid-American Conference) can still sneak into the conference championship game with a win over the Cardinals, but they also need Northern Illinois to lose to Eastern Michigan on Friday.
With the Huskies and Eagles kicking off at 11 a.m., their game should be over just as Toledo and Ball State are getting started.
That means the Rockets will know their fate during their regular season finale — either they'll have a chance to win the West Division and play for a MAC title, or they'll have to settle for a bowl game for the second straight year.
"Our whole job is to win this football game," Beckman said. "If we don't win the football game, then it doesn't matter what happens at Northern. We have to take care of our business. Yes, we want to get into the championship game. That would be awesome, but we can't control that."
At the same time, sophomore QB Terrance Owens said finding out that Northern Illinois lost would create "a lot of energy" on the Toledo sideline, should that occur.
"It would give us more motivation to win and get to the next step — a MAC championship," Owens said.
Senior safety Diauntae Morrow said no matter what happens, the Rockets must remain focused and not let anything distract them from their primary mission, which is beating Ball State.
"We know what we have to do," Morrow said. "We have to win this last game. We [also] know that we need Northern to lose, but all in all, if we don't win this last game it won't matter what Northern does."
Ball State nearly upset Northern Illinois last week, and had that happened, Friday's contest in Muncie would have decided the West.
Instead, the Cardinals (6-5, 4-3) are facing are a must-win situation of their own. They'll most likely need to defeat the Rockets in order to have any chance of earning a bowl bid.
"You can see them progress," Beckman said of the Cardinals. "Our players understand that too. They watched the Northern Illinois game [against Ball State]. Everybody did. They're a good football team and they'll be a challenge for us."
Contact Zach Silka at: firstname.lastname@example.org, 419-724-6084 or on Twitter @ZachSilka.