Toledo Has Chance to Do What Other MAC Teams Haven't: Beat Michigan

Jason BarczyCorrespondent IOctober 10, 2008

Toledo (1-4) at Michigan (2-3)

12:00 p.m. Saturday at Michigan Stadium

Line: Michigan -16.5

This is going to be short and sweet today and you can blame the opponent for this as I don't put much stock into MAC teams even though I went to a MAC school (Central).

Michigan is a combined 24-0 against MAC teams with the latest victim being Miami (OH) in Week Two this season. But the Wolverines have never played Toledo which surprised me seeing how the two schools are so close to one another.

Maybe it's had to do with the Toledo War.

Both of these teams are pretty close to each other statistically with Toledo having the slightly better offense and Michigan having a better defense so this could get interesting.

Don't write off Toledo and be surprised if Michigan barely pulls out a victory.

Michigan Pass Offense vs. Toledo Pass Defense

Well the Wolverines are still stuck with Steven Threet unfortunately and we all know how that's worked out for them so far.

Threet is averaging 130 yards a game and has a dismal 49.6 completion percentage along with five touchdowns and two interceptions. My god those are awful numbers for a Michigan quarterback.

And no, I'm not mentioning fumbles. I don't think I really have to anymore or else the vein in my forehead might erupt.

Toledo's passing defense is ranked 55th in the country and junior safety Barry Church has been making plays. He leads the team in tackles with 40. Junior linebacker Archie Donald is a sneaky mother with two interceptions this season.

Martavious Odoms looks like he might sit this one out with a sore shoulder which really sucks. Darryl Stonum is making a return after missing last week for disciplinary reasons that were not mentioned in detail.

And despite numerous reports and a story from the Free Press, Kevin Koger does not look anything like Greg Oden. Koger, although 18, looks like a solid 22 maybe 23. Oden looks like he's up for retirement already at age 62.

Advantage: Even

Michigan Run Offense vs. Toledo Run Defense

Both these units are ranked in the high 80's nationally so I don't know what to expect.

Sam McGuffie at times has shown brilliance but an inability to carry the full load every down. His 63 yards per game is simply not enough at this point and Michigan needs him to do more.

Especially if Rich Rodriguez is not going to use Brandon Minor or Kevin Grady more, which I still don't understand why he wouldn't.

Toledo is giving up 171.4 yards on the ground this season so maybe McGuffie has a breakout game or something.

Mark Moundros is proving to be a very valuable full back in the WVU mold of Owen Schmitt so good news there.

The offensive line had breakdowns of epic proportion last week not only in pass protection but run blocking as well.

Rodriguez keeps shuffling these guys from week to week and I'm starting to feel that he needs to stick with one combination from now on so that these guys can get comfortable with one another.

Toledo senior defensive lineman Sean Williamson has been a little bit of a force as he leads the team with two sacks and four tackles for losses.

Advantage: Michigan (barely)

Toledo Pass Offense vs. Michigan Pass Defense

Michigan's 92nd ranked pass defense was a freaking embarrassment last week against Illinois. I've been having nightmares of wide open receivers all week.

Donovan Warren is hurting and I wish our safeties all had broken legs so that they might have a better excuse for sucking.

Maybe they get a break this week facing the 89th ranked pass offense in Toledo. Junior quarterback Aaron Opelt is no threat to run like Juice Williams.

Opelt's numbers go like this: 869 yards, 173.8 per game, seven touchdowns, three interceptions and a 59 percent complete rate.

If Brandon Graham can't go this week and Warren is hurting like the coaching staff says he is, the Wolverines might be in trouble if Opelt has all day to find his receivers.

Stephen Williams leads the Rockets with 67.8 yards per game and five touchdowns while senior tight end John Allen is averaging 10.1 yards per catch.

Advantage: Toledo

Toledo Run Offense vs. Michigan Run Defense

Toledo has a couple burners in the backfield with junior DaJuane Collins and redshirt freshman Morgan Williams.

Collins gets 7.4 yards per carry and Williams gets 4.1 and both have rushed for over 300 yards helping Toledo average 142.4 yards per game.

But Michigan before last week was allowing 88 yards a game but after Illinois that average is up to 109.

Toledo doesn't have the talent like Illinois does so I think Michigan will go back to stuffing the run once again.

Terrence Taylor and Will Johnson have been great in the middle and Tim Jamison has been pretty good opposite Graham. I just hope whatever this leg infection Graham has isn't serious.

Advantage: Michigan

Special Teams

I'm going to skip talking about Michigan's special teams units because if I think too much about them (besides the wonderment that is Zoltan Mesko's ability to put footballs on the moon) I might have an blood vessel start leaking into my brain.

Toledo on the other hand has a speedy little guy named Greg Harris who averages 23.2 yards per kick return. Great them.

Their kicker, Stiegerwald is 8-for-9 this year with a long field goal from 47 yards.

Advantage: Toledo

Final Thoughts

If Michigan wants to shut up the doubters and people out there screaming for RichRod's head then they better dominate this game.

I'm talking they better do something they haven't in a long time, cover the spread.

But they won't. They'll get by on no more than a 10-point win and at least for a week Michigan fans will breath a short sigh of relief. That'll be real short considering the Wolverines travel to Happy Valley next week.

Prediction: Michigan 17, Toledo 13


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