Ohio is in the best position it's been all year.
The Bobcats (3-7, 3-3 Mid-American Conference) are on a two-game winning streak after defeating Eastern Michigan 34-26 last week. They have a chance to extend that streak and earn a winning conference record when they host Toledo for their final home game of the season Tuesday.
The Rockets (5-5, 3-3 MAC) have won two of their last three games and tote the best total defense in the conference. Their season hasn’t been a complete success, but they pose a concrete threat to the Bobcats’ recent winning streak.
Here’s a quick look at the Rockets ahead of Ohio’s senior night matchup:
All-time series: Toledo leads 31-21-1.
Last time they played: Nov. 8, 2017. The Bobcats defeated the Rockets in Peden Stadium 38-10 behind 393 total rushing yards. Both running back Dorian Brown and quarterback Nathan Rourke rushed for more than 100 yards and averaged over eight yards per carry. The Bobcats outscored the Rockets 28-3 in the second half and held them to just 106 yards of total offense after halftime.
Toledo report: For every success Toledo has had, there has been a letdown and vice versa. It went blow for blow with then-No. 7 Notre Dame in Week 2 but was held to two field goals against Colorado State the week after. Toledo has a 5-5 overall record this season, but four of those losses have been by three points or fewer.
Toledo, like Eastern Michigan, has one of the highest-scoring offenses in the MAC. It averages 32.6 points per game and has scored 49 points in its last two games.
Part of the Rockets’ success on offense has come from a shake-up under center. The Rockets have installed Dequan Finn at starting quarterback for their last four games. Finn was thrust into the starting spot after former starter Carter Bradley went 6-of-14 passing for 50 yards in the Rockets’ game against Northern Illinois on Oct. 9. The redshirt freshman fit the starting role well and has averaged 269.3 passing yards since taking the reins.
Defensively, Toledo allows just 21.5 points per game and has the best total defense in the MAC. It allows an average of just 330.1 yards per game and held Bowling Green to under 200 total yards in its game last Wednesday.
Toledo’s defense is headed by a strong linebacker corps. The trio of Jonathan Jones, Jamal Hines and Dyontae Johnson have combined for 208 tackles and 27 tackles for loss this season. The three have also amassed a combined 12.5 sacks for a loss of 71 yards.
How Ohio beats Toledo: From a surface level, Ohio is going to have a hard time cracking Toledo’s defense. It held opposing offenses to under 200 yards passing in six games, has intercepted the ball seven times and forced six fumbles.
However, Ohio’s been able to crack conference opponents with strong defenses before. It put up 35 points against Miami two weeks ago. Ohio needs to hone the offensive production it’s had over the past two weeks and carry it over into Tuesday.
Stat to know: 2-0. Ohio is 2-0 against Toledo since Jason Candle became its coach in 2015.
Player to watch: Bryant Koback, running back, No. 22
If Toledo runs the ball, more often than not, Koback will be the one carrying it. Koback leads his unit with 936 yards on the ground, more than triple the yards gained by any other Toledo running back. He averages 93.6 yards per game, which ranks second in the MAC behind Central Michigan’s Lew Nichols. Koback has also hauled in nine rushing touchdowns this season.