No. 25 Toledo, ranked in both polls this week for the first time since the end of the 2001 season, will put an eight-game win streak on the line when its hosts Eastern Michigan in Mid-American Conference action Saturday. The Rockets will be looking to start a season 6-0 for the first time since 1997 when Gary Pinkel, now the head coach at Missouri, directed Toledo to an 8-0 start en route to a 9-3 campaign.
Eastern Michigan has split its two prior road games, upsetting Wyoming, 48-29, on Sept. 12 and losing at No. 8-ranked LSU, 44-22, on Oct. 3. This road trip to the Glass Bowl is a lot shorter for the Eagles as the two campuses are just 50 miles apart. Toledo leads the all-time series, 31-11, and has won 14 of the last 15 meetings, including seven in a row at home.
TV: Noon ET, ESPN3. LINE: Toledo -28.5
ABOUT EASTERN MICHIGAN (1-5, 0-2 MAC): The Eagles come in off a 47-21 home loss to Akron, the third straight opponent to score at least 44 points. Eastern Michigan has a solid offense led by senior running back Darius Jackson, who ranks second in the MAC in rushing with 585 yards (97.5 per game) and eight touchdowns, and sophomore quarterback Brogan Roback, who has completed 113-of-177 passes for 1,242 yards, nine touchdowns and eight interceptions. But the Eagle defense has struggled badly, allowing an average of 495 yards per game - including an NCAA worst 360.3 yards per game rushing.
ABOUT TOLEDO (5-0, 2-0): The Rockets are a tough, physical football team that ranks No. 1 in the MAC in both scoring defense (11.8) and rushing defense (89.0). Senior quarterback Phillip Ely, a transfer from Alabama, leads the offense, completing 92-of-172 passes for 1,052 yards, six touchdowns and four interceptions. He can lean on a strong running game led by junior Kareem Hunt, who has 2,754 career rushing yards and had a streak of 12 consecutive games with at least 100 rushing yards snapped in last week’s 38-7 win over Kent State when he finished with 85 yards and two TDs on just 16 carries.
1. Toledo has not allowed a sack on 173 passing attempts this season, joining Air Force as the only teams in the FBS that can make that claim.
2. The Rockets rank No. 2 in the nation in red zone defense, holding opponents to just a touchdown and three field goals on 13 trips inside the 20-yard line (30.8 percent).
3. Toledo senior WR Alonzo Russell has caught at least one pass in 43 consecutive games, the second longest reception streak in the NCAA behind Arizona State’s D.J. Foster (46).
PREDICTION: Toledo 52, Eastern Michigan 6