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2018

Toledo

College Football

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Toledo reached double-digit wins in each of Jason Candle’s first two seasons, but doing that for a third won’t be easy. The Rockets won seven games in MAC play last year with six of them coming by double digits and then were dismantled by Appalachian State in the bowl. With a new quarterback leading the offense, their over/under is set at eight wins with the third-best odds to win the conference (+400 at 5Dimes Sportsbook).

The offense loses record-breaking quarterback Logan Woodside without a clear option to take his place. The battle is between junior Mitchell Guadagni and sophomore Eli Peters and neither has much experience. Guadagni threw six passes last year with one of those being an interception against Elon. There’s plenty of talent on the offense, but Woodside meant everything, completing 64.9% of passes for 28 touchdowns. Toledo may have the best receivers in the MAC in Diontae Johnson (1,257 yards, 13 TDs), Cody Thompson (1,269 yards, 11 TDs in 2016) and Jon’Vea Johnson (675 yards), but it’s hard to see those guys putting up the same numbers without Woodside. That could also lead to a worse running game with only three players that have experience on the line, while Shakif Seymour (704 yards) and Art Thompkins (618 yards) take over as the top backs. There’s talent on the offense, but expecting the same level of consistency without Woodside, a three-year starter at quarterback, is a stretch.

If the Rockets are to have a chance at repeating a conference title, the defense will need to step up where the offense falls off. This group was fine last year, but didn’t excel at one spot and a run defense that allowed 177 yards per game is fairly inexperienced up front. In fact, the front six (4-2-5 scheme) has just two returning starters in tackle Nate Childress and linebacker Tyler Taafe. The good news is that the secondary returns four starters led by seniors Ka’dar Hollman and Josh Teachey. As long as they don't let teams carve them up through the air, that could be enough to keep this defense from having too many issues. 

Toledo has a similar non-conference slate as the previous year, although reaching three wins may be difficult unless they beat Miami or win at Fresno. As for the hopes of repeating in the MAC, the Rockets have to travel to Northern Illinois, the projected favorite in the West division. The road game at WMU will also be difficult along with a home contest against Central Michigan. That said, the MAC schedule is favorable as they don’t have to face some of the better teams in the East division. But playing with an unknown at quarterback could be an issue no matter the opponent and that’ll make betting the over on Toledo hard to do. Even if the offense stays competent behind a solid ground game and the defense improves its front line, it’ll still be hard to take this team to win nine games with seven or eight most likely for the Rockets.

 

2018 Toledo Rockets Football Schedule

Sept. 1 vs. VMI

Sept. 15 vs. Miami (FL)

Sept. 22 vs. Nevada

Sept. 29 at Fresno State

Oct. 6 vs. Bowling Green

Oct. 13 at Eastern Michigan

Oct. 20 vs. Buffalo

Oct. 25 at Western Michigan

Oct. 31 vs. Ball State

Nov. 7 at Northern Illinois

Nov. 15 at Kent State

Nov. 23 vs. Central Michigan

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