MAC Championship: Toledo vs. Akron Preview

Is it finally the University of Toledo’s time to win the Mid-American Conference? Ever since last winning it in 2004, Toledo could lay claim to being the best team without a MAC Championship. It has been close, but there was always Northern Illinois, Central Michigan or Western Michigan in the way.

The Rockets ripped through the West Division with a fantastic offense led by quarterback Logan Woodside, that was great against everyone but the University of Ohio. Toledo clunked in a 38-10 loss just a few weeks ago but came back roaring in the final two games to get to Detroit.

Just as improbable was Akron’s 37-34 upset victory over the Bobcats to take control of the East Division. In 2005, the Zips were able to pull off a shocker with a MAC Championship, but this year has been even more stunning with wins when they absolutely needed them. No one foresaw a win over Western Michigan as well, but the Zips persevered and did it.

After starting out 1-3, and with issues at quarterback late in the year, Akron closed out with a 6-2 record. It has been nothing short of amazing. Now, Zips head coach Terry Bowden is one win away from pulling off one of the most fantastic seasons by anyone this year. But after losing to Toledo 48-21 the first go-around, the Zips will need a whole slew of new ideas to win the rematch.

Why Toledo Will Win

Akron just doesn’t have the offense to keep up the pace. Toledo’s Woodside is a veteran passer who threw just three picks all season long with 24 touchdown passes. He averaged just over ten yards per pass no matter who’s in his receiving corps. He threw for 304 yards and five scores the first time around against the Zips, and with no Akron pass rush to get to him, he should bomb away again.

Why Akron Will Win

Akron has to keep the chains moving and force a lot of big Toledo mistakes. Somehow, the Zips have to control the tempo and keep Woodside and the Rocket offense off the field. Akron leads the MAC in third-down conversions, and while it doesn’t have a ground game to grind away, it can at least keep the chains moving.

Prediction

Let’s face it, Akron is playing with house money. The Zips were not the team that was supposed to be the championship game. All of the pressure is on the Rockets. They have been the best team all year, and cannot afford a hiccup in the championship game. I think Akron will keep it a game for a half, and then it’ll be Toledo’s time. Woodside and the Toledo offense will be too much for Akron to keep pace with. Thus, for the first time in a long time, Toledo will win a MAC Championship. Toledo 45, Akron 27

 

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Nick Ficorelli

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