Game day preview: Toledo at Ball State

·3 min read

Sep. 25—Does either team know what it's going to face on Saturday? Not really.

This was supposed to be a Mid-American Conference West showdown. In a sense, it still is. The backdrop has just changed, as both teams enter on two-game losing streaks with complete disasters taking place last Saturday.

The silver lining is that they're still undefeated in the MAC. Saturday can still act as a momentum boost for the winner, potentially giving them the inside track in the West, although Central Michigan and Western Michigan might have something to say about that.

Here's what to know about the matchup:

Who: Toledo (1-2) at Ball State (1-2)

When: Saturday, 2 p.m.

Where: Scheumann Stadium

Spread: Toledo by 5

TV: ESPN Plus

Radio: 1370 AM; 1230 AM

Follow: Kyle Rowland

PLAYERS TO WATCH

—Toledo: Devin Maddox. The former walk-on leads UT with 11 receptions for 226 yards, and now he's facing a defense that's among the worst in the country at defending the pass. Last season Ball State allowed 407 passing yards to Toledo.

—Ball State: Carson Steele. The 6-foot-1, 215-pound true freshman running back has 173 yards and three touchdowns on 27 carries, averaging 6.4 yards per rush. Steele was named Mr. Football in the state of Indiana in 2020 and is one of the nation's top freshman running backs.

STATS TO KNOW

—47: Consecutive years UT and Ball State have played, dating to Ball State's first season in the MAC (1975).

—947: Career passing yards for Ball State QB Drew Plitt against the Rockets. He's started four games against UT, completing 81 of 133 pass attempts for 947 yards, six touchdowns, and four interceptions. Ball State is 2-2 in those games.

MATCHUP TO WATCH

Toledo secondary vs. Ball State QB Drew Plitt: Coming off the best season of his career, Plitt, who guided Ball State to a 7-1 record last year, has been putrid so far in 2021, to the point where he was benched last week. The Cardinals have been turnover machines, but if Plitt plays like he's capable, UT could be on its heels. This matchup will go a long way in deciding which team wins the game.

PREDICTION

It cannot possibly get any worse on offense for Toledo, and the defense has proven to be a stout unit. As much mystery and concern as there is surrounding UT, Ball State has even more, with the preseason favorite all out of sorts. The Rockets are the last team the turnover-prone Cardinals want to play right now. A week of hearing about Colorado State will have UT's offense eager to change the subject. Toledo 34-23

WARMUP READING

Consecutive road trips viewed as team-building opportunity for Toledo football

Briggs: Who are these Rockets? For better or worse, we'll find out Saturday

Frustrated Toledo football moves past Colorado State to Ball State

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