The Toledo Rockets find themselves in a familiar late-season position — in the hunt for the Mid-American Conference West Division crown, but not controlling their own destiny.
The Rockets’ 32-27 loss to Northern Illinois Nov. 3 knocked them out of first place in the West Division and put them in a three-way logjam for second place with Northern Illinois and their next opponent, Central Michigan.
In order to earn a trip to the MAC Championship Game, the Rockets will likely need to win their final three games against CMU, Bowling Green and MAC West Division leader Western Michigan (6-3, 5-0 MAC). They also will need Northern Illinois to lose one of its final games, as the Huskies now own the head-to-head tiebreaker with UT.
Toledo’s first focus needs to be on Central Michigan. The Chippewas are coming off a 14-6 victory at Akron Oct. 24. CMU’s only league defeat was a 41-39 shootout at Western Michigan Oct. 10. The Chippewas’ biggest win was a 29-19 triumph over Northern Illinois at home Oct. 3. CMU is led by junior quarterback Cooper Rush, who has thrown for 2,626 yards and 20 TDs this season.
Toledo used its running game to pull out to a 27-19 lead in the fourth quarter vs. NIU. But the Huskies scored the game’s final 13 points to claim the road victory. Junior Kareem Hunt (140 yards) and sophomore Terry Swanson (133 yards) paced the Rockets’ offense.