Tuesday Football

Tuesday Football

Toledo (5-5, 4-5 ATS) at Ball State (5-5, 6-3 ATS)

Two Mid-American Conference teams looking to secure a winning record and remain in the hunt for a bowl berth meet up at Ball State Stadium, where the Cardinals host Toledo.

Toledo hits the road following a 3-0 SU and ATS homestand in which the Rockets averaged 55 points per game, including a 52-28 rout of Eastern Michigan as a 7½-point home chalk on Nov. 3. The bad news for the Rockets is they’re 0-3 SU and ATS on the road this year, losing all three games (including two to MAC opponents) by double digits.

While Toledo had its last three games at home, Ball State played its last three on the road, going 1-2 (2-1 ATS). The last two were against Big Ten squads Illinois (28-17 loss as a 13½-point underdog) and Indiana (38-20 as a 6½-point pup). The Cardinals are 2-2 at home (1-2 ATS), including 1-2 SU and ATS against league foes.

The visitor has won the last two meetings, with Toledo prevailing 34-14 but failing to cover as a 22-point favorite at Ball State in 2005 and the Cardinals holding on for a 20-17 win as a 3½-point underdog last season. However, going back to the early 1990s, the host is on a 10-3-1 SU roll in this rivalry, going 5-1 ATS in the last six clashes.

The Rockets have outgained four of their last five opponents by yard margins of 211, 91, 460 and 183. Conversely, opposing teams have outgained Ball State in each of its last five games.

The Cardinals are on ATS runs of 20-8 overall, 7-2 in November and 6-2 in conference.

Toledo is mired in ATS funks of 8-21 on the road and 2-9 when playing on grass.

Both teams have potent offenses – Toledo averages 36.5 points and 464 total yards per game (223 rushing ypg), while the Cardinals put up 31.1 points and 436.4 yards per contest (154.2 rushing ypg). However, neither team plays much defense, as the Rockets give up a whopping 39.2 points and 444 yards per game (219 rushing ypg), while Ball State yields 27.5 points and 434.6 yards (215 rushing ypg).

Toledo has topped the total in six consecutive lined games and eight of nine this season, and the over is also 7-0 in its last seven MAC games. On the flip side, Ball State has followed up a 5-0 “over” streak by staying under the total in its last three. The under is also 3-1 in the last four series meetings.

ATS ADVANTAGE: BALL STATE

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What bettors need to know: Toledo at Ball State
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Back from the brink

The Toledo Rockets are bouncing back from a disastrous start to the season. After winning just one of five games, the season looked doomed in September. But they’ve won four of their last five, including three straight, to pull themselves back into contention for one of the MAC’s three bowl berths.

"At first we were focused on, 'all right, we've got to turn it around, we've got to start winning,'" sophomore tailback DaJuane Collins told the Toledo Blade. "Now that we've won three in a row, we're 5-5, our thinking is we've got to win these last two games if we want to go to a bowl game. Everyone's refocused."

Toledo beat Ohio, Northern Illinois and Eastern Michigan in its past three contests, but all that hard work could be for nothing if it fails to win against 5-5 Ball State on Tuesday.

The winner of Tuesday’s clash has a shot at a 7-5 record and a bowl game, while the season will be all but over for the loser.

Toledo coach Tom Amstutz says he doesn’t even think about what’s at stake. He just wants his team to be as well-prepared as possible.

"If you start looking ahead, you're going to forget what's important," Amstutz told the Blade. "What's important now is the way we prepare and practice for the next game. That's all I'm interested in. I'm not interested in any other talk."

Ball State needs Love

The secret to the success of Ball State’s offense is the versatility of receiver Dante Love. He joined the team in 2005 as a defensive back, but when the coaches saw him run with the ball they switched him to receiver on the first day of camp.

Now in his junior year, Love takes passes, runs the ball and returns kicks every game.

"The first time I noticed him was when he returned kickoffs," Cardinals linebacker Cortlan Booker told the Indianapolis Star. "I thought, 'He's got some moves.' He would stop, turn this way, go back around the other way. You could imagine him being a mini-Reggie Bush with the things he did. It was stuff you can't really coach."

Love is second in the MAC in all-purpose yards (188.8 per game), and has 966 yards and 7 touchdowns as a receiver this season. He also returned nine kickoffs for a school-record 286 yards and a touchdown against Central Michigan.

"I call him the 'Juice Man,' " Ball State offensive coordinator Stan Parrish told the Star. "That's what he is. He's a slash player who is best when he has the ball in his hands.

"Sometimes that's handing it off to him or snapping it directly to him. He's a running back-slash-receiver-slash-return man who plays at a different speed with the ball in his hands."

Love had just 61 receiving yards and a TD in last season’s 20-17 win over Toledo, but he was playing in the shadow of No. 1 receiver Terry Moss, who has since graduated. This season, Love is likely to see more action against a Rockets defense giving up 444 yards and 39.2 points per game.

Parmele wants to finish on a high

If Toledo manages to continue its miraculous recovery and go to a bowl game, credit has to go to senior running back Jalen Parmele. He has rushed for 1,306 yards 13 TDs this season, and has gotten countless first downs for the Rockets.

"He's a power back; he's a quick back," quarterback Aaron Opelt told school newspaper The Independent Collegian. "He can get the ball outside and play the ball inside the tackles, too. If you need to control the tempo of the game or pick up a few yards, just hand the ball off to him, and you know you're going to feel comfortable with it."

Parmele has almost single-handedly gotten his teams through several games this season, and is running for 515 yards and six touchdowns during the current three-game winning streak. He has broken the 100-yard mark in six straight games.

"I'm just trying to keep the team positive," Parmele told the Collegian when asked about his contribution. "We're never out of it, and we never lose confidence in any situation."

Parmele is the main component of a Toledo rush offense that ranks 14th in the nation with 233 yards per game. The team should find some success against a Ball State defense allowing 215 yards per contest on the ground – tenth from bottom in the nation.

Head to head

The Rockets and the Cardinals have split their last four meetings, but Ball State has covered the spread in three of those games. Ball State is 6-3 against the spread this season and has covered in two of its last three.

The over/under is 8-1 in Toledo’s nine games with odds this year.

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Toledo-Ball State

Tuesday, Nov. 13

Toledo (5-5) at Ball State (5-5), 7:30 p.m. (ESPN2)

Opening Line: Ball State by 7.

Series Record: Toledo leads 16-15-1

Last Meeting: 2006, Ball State 20-17

Facts & Figures

The road team has won in each of the past two seasons. ... The Rockets have a chance to win four consecutive games for the first time since 2004. ... Toledo has scored 165 points (55 points per game) during their three-game winning streak. ... Ball State rank seventh in the nation in turnover margin (+1.3). ... The Cardinals are looking for their sixth win this season. It would be their first six win season since 2002, when the team finished 6-6.

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Game Preview for Toledo vs Ball State

FACTS and  STATS: Site: Scheumann Stadium (22,500) -- Muncie, Indiana. Television: ESPN2. Home Record: Toledo 5-2, Ball State 2-2. Away Record: Toledo 0-3, Ball State 3-3. Neutral Record: Toledo 0-0, Ball State 0-0. Conference Record: Toledo 3-3, Ball State 3-2. Series Record: Toledo leads, 16-15-1.

GAME NOTES: A Mid-American Conference battle will take place this Tuesday evening at Scheumann Stadium, as the Ball State Cardinals will collide with the Toledo Rockets. The red-hot Rockets have certainly turned their season around, winning four of their last five games, including three in a row, bringing their overall mark to an even 5-5. The last time Toledo was on the field, the team dismantled Eastern Michigan, 52-28. The Rockets will close out their regular season schedule on the road against Bowling Green on November 23rd. As for the Cardinals, they have taken a step backwards, losing two consecutive games, including a 38-20 setback to Indiana last Saturday. Ball State has not been overly impressive at home, posting a mediocre 3-3 mark at Scheumann Stadium this year. The Cardinals will close out their regular season on November 24th when they hit the road to battle Northern Illinois. The Rockets have a slim, 16-15-1 edge over Ball State in the all-time series, but this past year the Cardinals inched closer by collecting a 20-17 victory over Toledo.

The Rockets have dismantled opposing defensive units with their ground attack, rumbling for a whopping 222.2 ypg. Overall, the offensive unit is producing an impressive 463.4 total ypg, which has led to 36.5 ppg. In the recent victory over Eastern Michigan, the Rockets continued their success on the ground, rushing for an outstanding, 324 yards on 7.4 ypc. Jalen Parmele was sensational in the win, rumbling for 168 yards and three touchdowns on 22 totes, while DeJuane Collins added 79 yards and two scores on nine attempts. Parmele has been one of the top running backs in the MAC, and comes into this game with 1,306 yards and 13 scores. As for Collins, he has done a solid job in a reserve role, posting 584 yards and seven TDs on 6.3 ypc. Not to be overlooked is the passing attack, which is averaging 241.2 ypg through the air. In eight games under center, Aaron Opelt has thrown for 1,553 yards and has tossed 11 scores against six INTs. In the win over EMU, Opelt had another solid outing, completing 17-of-29 passes for 276 yards and two TDs.

What has hampered the Rockets throughout the year is their atrocious play defensively, as the team is being abused through the air, as well as on the ground. Entering this matchup, the defense for Toledo is surrendering 223 passing ypg, while also being gashed for 221 rushing ypg. All that yardage has led to a whopping 39.2 ppg allowed by Toledo. In the recent matchup against EMU, the Rockets were victorious, but still struggled against the run, allowing 217 yards on 44 carries. Overall the defense was abused for 417 yards, which also led to 24 first downs. Toledo was able to force two turnovers in the contest, and also grabbed two sacks in the win. The Rockets have been able to force 25 turnovers on the year, but the team has had trouble getting to the QB, racking up just nine sacks.

The Cardinals have one of the more dangerous offensive attacks in the MAC, as the team is gashing its opponents for 154.2 ypg on the ground, while also throwing for 282.2 ypg. In the recent 18-point setback to Indiana, quarterback Nate Davis was the main offensive threat for the Cardinals, throwing for 332 yards and one touchdown, but the sophomore also threw two interceptions and was sacked twice. Dante Love hauled in 14 passes for 177 yards in the contest, but Darius Hill was held to just two receptions for 42 yards. Love and Hill have been the top two threats down field for Davis and have combined for 119 receptions, 1,663 yards and 14 scores. The main source of production out of the backfield has been Frank Edmonds, as the tailback has rushed for 466 yards and six TDs since taking over for an injured MiQuale Lewis.

Throughout the season the Cardinals have been atrocious defensively, especially against the run, as teams are gashing the Cardinals for a whopping 215.1 ypg. Overall this squad has been abused for 434.7 total ypg and that has led to 27.5 ppg. In the team's recent matchup against Indiana, the defense was dismantled again, surrendering 462 total yards, including 354 passing yards. The Cardinals were able to force three turnovers in the matchup, but finished the contest with just one sack. Ball State has been able to force a solid 23 turnovers on the season, but the team has struggled to get to the QB, racking up just 16 sacks on the year. Bryant Haines eclipsed the 100-tackle mark against Indiana, collecting 13 stops in the loss, giving him a team-high 103 on the year.

Both teams have explosive offensive units, so expect a high scoring affair on Tuesday. The Cardinals are home, but the ground game for Toledo has ben red- hot and that alone should be too much for BSU to handle.

Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Toledo 38, Ball State 34

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