Game day preview: Eastern Michigan at Toledo football
The first of four consecutive winnable games for Toledo is Tuesday against Eastern Michigan in the Glass Bowl.
If UT ends the season on a five-game win streak, its 6-2 record could get the Rockets to the Mid-American Conference championship game.
There are a lot of moving parts, including the need for Northern Illinois to lose three games down the stretch. Regardless, if Toledo can close the season with an unbeaten November, momentum for the program will be going in the right direction.
The Eagles, with their high-scoring offense and capable defense, will not be a walkover for Toledo, which has played in three games decided by one possession and another that had a safety on the final play to push the margin to 10 points.
Here’s what to know about the matchup:
Who: Eastern Michigan (5-3, 2-2) at Toledo (4-4, 2-2)
When: Tuesday, 7:30 p.m.
Where: Glass Bowl
Spread: Toledo by 9½
Radio: 1370 AM; 1230 AM
Follow: Kyle Rowland
PLAYERS TO WATCH
■ Toledo: Danzel McKinley-Lewis. The senior wide receiver had a 34-yard touchdown reception against Western Michigan, and with Bryce Mitchell’s season-ending injury, somebody on the UT receiving corps has to step up. McKinley-Lewis can be the guy, especially with his history against Eastern Michigan — nine receptions for 229 yards and one touchdown.
■ Eastern Michigan: Ben Bryant. The quarterback transfer from Cincinnati has been impressive, completing 69 percent of his passes for 1,834 yards with 10 touchdowns and four interceptions. He’s coming off the best game of his career, a 20 of 26 showing for 286 yards and two touchdowns in a 55-24 win at Bowling Green.
STATS TO KNOW
■ 4: Toledo hasn’t had a turnover in the last four games, a span of 18 quarters. The last turnover was a Carter Bradley interception in the second quarter at Ball State on Sept. 25.
■ 17: Eastern Michigan has blocked 17 kicks (punts, field goals, extra points) since the start of the 2014 season. The Eagles blocked a punt and returned it for a touchdown Oct. 23 at Bowling Green.
MATCHUP TO WATCH
Samuel Womack vs. Hassan Beydoun: Beydoun, an Eastern Michigan wide receiver, ranks second in the MAC and 20th nationally with six receptions per game. His 553 yards and 66.6 yards per game are both among the top 10 in the conference. He had 14 receptions against Northern Illinois and 12 against Ball State.
Toledo seems to have found something offensively in its last six quarters, even with injuries along the offensive line. The loss of Mitchell in the Western Michigan game didn’t help matters. But a few extra days off should have benefitted the Rockets.
Does Dequan Finn, in his third career start, take another leap forward at the quarterback position? One would assume. He looked more composure in his second start against Western Michigan. The re-emergence of Bryant Koback in recent weeks should also ease Finn.
While Eastern Michigan can create issues for opposing defenses, Toledo has answered the call in every game of the 2021 season. If the Rockets find themselves on the wrong end of the scoreboard, it won’t be because of the defense. Toledo 31-13.
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First Published November 2, 2021, 9:00pm