BALL STATE CARDINALS (6-3)
at TOLEDO ROCKETS (8-1)
Kickoff: Tuesday, 8:00 p.m. EDT
Line: Toledo -6, Total: TBD
No. 25 Toledo tries to stay unbeaten in MAC play when it hosts a surging Ball State team on Tuesday night.
The Cardinals have won three straight (SU and ATS) and are 4-1 ATS on the road this season. They have great offensive balance with more than 200 yards per game in both rushing and passing. Since losing by a touchdown at Arizona in Week 1, Toledo has reeled off eight straight SU wins (5-3 ATS), including then-unbeaten Cincinnati two games ago. The Rockets have scored at least 25 points in each of these victories. Toledo has also beaten Ball State three straight times (2-1 ATS). Toledo's offense has thrived in this series, scoring 37.7 PPG and 477 total YPG during the three-game series win streak over BSU. And the Cardinals are still poor defensively this season, allowing 33.3 PPG and 465 total YPG. Home favorites after 7+ SU wins in a row in conference games are 82-38 ATS (68%) in the past 10 seasons, and the Rockets are 34-14 ATS (71%) at home after playing their previous game on the road since 1992. The pick here is TOLEDO to win and cover on Tuesday night.
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Ball State QB Keith Wenning is in the midst of a strong season, throwing for 2,425 yards (269 YPG), 17 TD and 7 INT. He's put up big numbers in two career games versus Toledo (266 pass YPG, 5 TD), but he's also thrown five interceptions in the two meetings. Wenning benefits greatly from having the conference's top receiver in Willie Snead who leads the MAC in both receptions (7.6 per game) and receiving yards (100 YPG). The sophomore did not play against Toledo last year. But the Cardinals prefer to rush the football more in road games, averaging 45 carries per game and 205 rushing YPG in their five away contests. This includes rumbling for 457 yards on 103 carries in the past two games, road wins at Central Michigan (41-30) and Army (30-22). Jahwan Edwards has been the workhorse lately with 74 carries over the past three games, producing 414 yards and 4 TD. Defensively, Ball State has been equally bad defending the run (203 YPG, 102nd in FBS) and pass (262 YPG, 101st in nation). The Cardinals problems stem from a lackluster pass rush that averages a mere 1.3 sacks per game and 4.1 Tackles For Loss per game.
Toledo QB Terrance Owens was nearly perfect in last year's 45-28 win at Ball State, completing 27-of-32 passes for 267 yards, 4 TD and 0 INT. He hasn't been great in MAC play though, throwing for just 5 TD and 5 INT in the five conference games, including two picks in the last game, a 25-20 win at Buffalo. But that is certainly not the case for RB David Fluellen who has exploded since MAC play began, rushing for an astounding 894 yards (179 per game) on 7.0 YPC with 8 TD to help his team to a 5-0 conference record. Like Ball State, the Rockets defense has been underwhelming this season, especially against the pass, where they allow 289 passing YPG (114th in FBS). They have surrendered at least 200 passing yards in all nine of their games this year. Toledo's run defense has also been shoddy in the past three weeks, allowing 248 rushing YPG. The one positive for the defense is that the Rockets have some playmakers, and have tallied 11 takeaways in the past five games.