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Schedule and Odds
Toledo once again missed out on the MAC Championship Game in 2012 and has some work to do this year if they want to make it. Their first task should be figuring out how to beat the class of the conference. The offense shouldn't be a problem after scoring close to 32 points per game last year, but it's the defense that lost the majority of its starters that will need to step up.
Anytime an offense returns five all-conference starters, you know they're in for another good season. Quarterback Terrance Owens now leads the unit all by himself with the pieces in place. After playing more in 2012 his numbers got worse, throwing for less TDs and more INTs than the previous year. The No. 1 thing he can't do is turn the ball over in this offense. David Fluellen joins him in the backfield who finished with 1,498 rushing yards and 13 TDs last year. Cassius McDowell sits behind him and is a worthy backup. The wide receivers get even better led by Bernard Reedy who had 89 catches for 1,120 yards last season. Whereas Reedy is speed, Alonzo Russell brings size to the receivers. With four starting linemen returning, the pressure is on Owens to get this unit scoring at will.
The defense is another question for the Rockets with eight starters gone. Sure, a lot of these guys have experience from giving breathers and what not, but they now have to take on the full load. A couple seniors lead the way on the ends in Jayrone Elliott and Christian Smith. Cornerback Cheatham Norrils is the only full-time starter from a year ago that's returning. Sophomore linebacker Trent Voss is expected to lead the crew which is asking a lot.
2013 Toledo College Football Schedule
Aug. 31 at Florida
Sept. 7 at Missouri
Sept. 14 vs. Eastern Washington
Sept. 21 at Central Michigan
Sept. 28 at Ball State
Oct. 5 vs. Western Michigan
Oct. 19 vs. Navy
Oct. 26 at Bowling Green
Nov. 2 vs. Eastern Michigan
Nov. 12 vs. Buffalo
Nov. 20 vs. Northern Illinois
Nov. 29 at Akron
For an inexperienced defense in the MAC, they couldn't start the season with a harder schedule playing at two SEC schools in Florida and Missouri. Throw in a date at Ball State to finish out September and Toledo is looking at three early losses. They also have to face Northern Illinois later in the season which is going to be a tall task for this defense.
Nevertheless, Toledo still has their sights set on winning the MAC West. Beating Ball State and Northern Illinois are their top priorities coming into the year. Up next are a couple tough East squads in Bowling Green and Buffalo which makes things even harder for them.
Sure, Toledo's offense has tons of talent and skill, but will it be enough to get by the best teams in the conference? Their defense will need to stop the likes of Jordan Lynch and Keith Wenning which no one has really done yet in the MAC. Nine wins will be tough again this year with seven or eight being their more likely total.
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