Toledo at UMass
Saturday, 12 pm PT – ESPN3
CRIS Opener: Toledo -13 O/U 57
CRIS Current: Toledo -14.5 O/U 62.5
The Toledo Rockets and the UMass Minutemen square off in a cross division MAC showdown on Saturday afternoon in Gillette Stadium. The nationally ranked and ATS perfect Rockets put their undefeated record on the line and they do so as over two touchdown road favorites. UMass on the other hand has had a tough go of it this season posting a 1-5 record including an embarrassing loss to Kent State last week.
Umass had one of the top offenses in the MAC last year at over 30 ppg but before Blake Frohnapfel was lost for the final two games with a broken leg, that average was a league-best 36 ppg. The offense had shown some impressive sparks during out-of-conference play, but against the MAC it had finally started to turn into wins. Fast forwarding to this year, the offense has for the most part been disappointing (22.7 ppg) with Frohnapfel losing his accuracy (three games below 53%) behind a shaky offensive line, highlighted by only scoring one touchdown last week against Kent State.
The matchup for the UMass offense does not project favorably against a Toledo defense that has not let up over 250 yards passing in a game since mid-September. One of the Rockets’ strength is their defensive line which should keep Frohnapfel off his game. The Rockets defense is allowing just over 10 points a game in their last four outings and that number is inflated with a couple late scores that had no bearing on the outcome of the game. Frohnapfel could also be dealing with under-the-radar injuries after getting hit on the last play vs. Bowling Green two weeks ago. In practice Tuesday, Frohnapfel wasn't hampered throwing, but he was sporting a black sleeve on his throwing arm with a pad over the elbow. "I got hit in the funny bone a little bit there. It was kind of just a little tingly," he said. "But it's totally fine. I was throwing today with no real issue. So I'll be ready to go." Based on his 51.5% completions and only 5.2 yards per attempt vs. Kent, I’m not so sure everything is fine.
In three games against the MAC, Toledo has been statistically dominant, outgaining foes on a yards-per-play basis by 2.43, 2.53, and a whopping 4.46 in last week’s blowout over Eastern Michigan. Complacency is the only thing keeping the Rockets from posting similar numbers against the Minutemen. Don’t be afraid to lay the reasonable wood in this mismatch.