The Toledo Rockets will travel to Indiana this weekend to face the Ball State Cardinals in a MAC West conference game. The Rockets started their season with two straight losses to SEC opponents (Florida and Missouri), but have rebounded with two straight victories that evened their record at 2-2.
The Ball State Cardinals are 3-1 and are coming off of a dominant 51-20 victory over Eastern Michigan last weekend. Both teams will be looking for an opportunity to move to 2-0 in the conference and gain momentum as they head into the heart of their respective schedules.
The game will feature two of the conference’s most explosive players in Toledo’s running back David Fluellen and Ball State’s quarterback Keith Wenning. Both players are the keys to their respective offenses’ success, and will be looking for the opportunity to showcase their skills on Saturday.
Toledo is averaging 25 points per game and has been inconsistent in the passing game, throwing for 197 yards per game. Quarterback Terrence Owens has battled an injury to his knee and is completing 59.2 percent of his passes with two touchdowns and four interceptions. Wide receivers Benard Reedy and Alonzo Russell have not been able to break big plays and have been held in check most of the season.
Fluellen started the season with 46 rushing yards in Week 1 (Florida), but has been getting better each week. In last week’s victory over Central Michigan, Fluellen exploded for 197 rushing yards and two touchdowns. Fluellen is averaging 6.3 yards per rush and will be looking for running room against a Cardinals defense that is yielding 218 rushing yards per game.
Ball State’s offense is built around the arm of quarterback Keith Wenning. The Cardinals are averaging 336 passing yards per game (12th in the nation), and Wenning has completed 62.3 percent of his passes with nine touchdowns and two interceptions.
Wenning’s main targets are wide receivers Willie Snead and Jamill Smith. Both players have combined for 45 receptions for 778 yards and five touchdowns. The Cardinals will be looking to exploit a Rockets defense that is allowing 226.3 passing yards per game.
Defensively, Toledo has been able to put pressure on opposing quarterbacks, registering 11 sacks on the year. Linebacker Chase Murdock and defensive lineman Jayrone Elliot lead the team with three sacks each on the year. Both teams have been very opportunistic this season in creating turnovers (both +3 in turnover margin) and will look to capitalize on any miscues come Saturday.