Scouting Report: Toledo at Western Michigan Print E-mail
Written by Dave Ruthenberg   
Friday, November 14 2008
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WMU QB Tim Hiiller has tossed a league-leading 30 TD's
Remember Saturday afternoon football in the MAC? While increasingly rare, especially in the month of November, there is a game Saturday afternoon as Toledo visits Western Michigan. The Broncos are still in contention in the race for the MAC West and a win would also help to solidify their bowl chances.


Toledo (2-7, 1-4 MAC) at Western Michigan (8-2, 5-1 MAC), 2:00 pm ET
Site: Waldo Stadium
Television: FSN Ohio/ FSN Detroit Plus
Series: Toledo leads 36-26. Last meeting: Western Michigan 48, Toledo 28 in 2007.
 Scouting the Rockets: Since their 13-10 upset of Michigan on October 11, the Rockets have dropped three straight contests, including their most recent outing, a 47-30 loss to Akron on November 5 their first game following the announcement that Tom Amstutz would be stepping down as head coach at the end of the season. The Rockets are allowing a league-worst 33.1 points per game and are 11th in the MAC turnover margin. Toledo is 10th in the MAC in rushing defense, allowing 180.6 yards per game and seventh in passing, allowing 197.3 yards and have given up 16 passing TDs, the third-highest total in the conference this season. LB Archie Donald however has been having a career season with 81 tackles so far to rank fifth in the MACThe Rockets offense has not been much more efficient, averaging only 22 points per game with their 326.6 yards per game ahead of only Temple at the bottom of the offensive heap. QB Aaron Opelt is averaging 194.3 yards per game, having thrown 11 TDs and only four interceptions while favorite target Stephen Williams seven  receiving TDs are tied for the most this season in the MAC. Fellow wide-out Nick Moore is averaging 6.35 catches per game. The rushing attack is led by DaJuane Collins who is averaging an impressive 6.1 yards per carry and has a team-high five rushing TDsPK Alex Steigerwald has been a consistent performer and has converted on 14-17 FG attempts this season.  
 Scouting the Broncos:  The Broncos are still in contention in the race for the MAC West but will need some help too. Western Michigan can claim a MAC West title by winning their next two games, against Toledo and Ball State, and a loss by Central Michigan to Ball State in their showdown on Nov 19 but first the Broncos must take care of business against the Rockets and the Broncos are a banged-up bunch following their 23-17 win over Illinois. No fewer than four key starters will be out for the Broncos this week including starting RB Brandon West, TE Brandon Ledbetter, WR Schneider Julien and DB Londen Fryar. But the Broncos will still have one of the MACs most dangerous weapons on the field in QB Tim Hiller who has passed for a league-high 30 touchdowns and tops the MAC averaging 315.7 yards per game. With Julien and Ledbetter out and Juan Nunez hurting as well, there will likely be added attention on the MACs leading receiver, Jamarko Simmons. Simmons is coming off a 174-yard effort last week against Illinois and leads the MAC in both receiving yards (100.4) and receptions per game (8.4). Converted QB Robert Arnheim will likely be in the mix as well at receiver. The rushing attack loses the MACs fifth-ranked rusher with the loss of Brandon West, who is averaging 90.9 yards per game but the Broncos will also miss his return abilities as he also tops the MAC in all-purpose yards with 173.1 yards per game. Look for freshman Aaron Winchester to get the call in Wests absence who has only carried the ball 25 times for 79 yards this seasonThe defense for the Broncos, as noted, will be without DB Londen Fryar but the Broncos talented secondary has plenty of depth with DB Louis Delmas among the conference leaders with four interceptions. WMU has recorded 12 interceptions this season, good for second in the MAC, but is giving up 250.7 yards per game, second-worst in the MAC. The Broncos however own the MACs number two rushing defense, allowing only 136.7 yards per game.
Prediction: As noted, there is still plenty on the line for the Broncos who must keep winning to have a shot at the MAC West title. The question becomes how much will the Broncos injuries impact them in their matchup against the Rockets. Toledo has shown an inability to stop the pass and the Rockets were lit up for 458 yards in total offense in their loss to Akron. The lack of several of the Broncos big-play specialists is a concern, but they still should have enough to overcome a Toledo squad that is playing out the season. Itll be a little closer than if the Broncos werent hurting, but WMU should enhance its bowl resume by recording its ninth win of the season. Western Michigan 35, Toledo 24.
Last Updated ( Friday, November 14 2008 )
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