Rockets, Broncos to battle for MAC Championship Game berth

November 22, 2016 | Athletics, Events, News
By Paul Helgren

For the second year in a row, Toledo and Western Michigan will square off in the regular-season finale with the Mid-American Conference West crown and a trip to the MAC Championship Game on the line.

The Rockets, of course, are looking for a different ending than last year’s 35-30 loss to the Broncos. That defeat created a four-way tie for first in the West and sent Northern Illinois to the title game.

Logan Woodside, left, and Kareem Hunt will lead the Rockets' offense in the MAC West Division showdown Friday, Nov. 25, at Western Michigan.

Logan Woodside, left, and Kareem Hunt will lead the Rockets’ offense in the MAC West Division showdown Friday, Nov. 25, at Western Michigan.

This year, it’s winner take all: Either the Rockets or the Broncos will be headed to Detroit after the showdown in Kalamazoo Friday, Nov. 25, at 5 p.m. The game will be carried by ESPN2.

Toledo (9-2, 6-1 MAC) is one game behind WMU and can earn a share of the division title with a win. UT would advance to the MAC Championship Game for the first time since 2004 by virtue of the head-to-head tiebreaker.

With a victory over the Rockets, Western would win the division outright and earn the right to face the East Division champ at Detroit’s Ford Field Friday, Dec. 2.

The Rockets are coming off of three consecutive league victories since its lone MAC defeat to Ohio Oct. 27. Most recently, Toledo defeated Ball State, 37-19, in its 2016 home finale. Junior Logan Woodside threw for 325 yards and three touchdowns in the win, his 10th consecutive game with at least three scoring passes this season. Woodside, who has been named a “contender” for the Heisman Trophy by the Heisman Trophy Trust, leads the nation with 40 touchdown passes. He also holds the UT single-season record with 3,653 yards passing.

And senior running back Kareem Hunt rushed for 107 yards vs. Ball State, the 26th 100-yard game in his career. He has 4,625 career rushing yards, second all-time at UT and just 224 yards off the record held by Chester Taylor (4,849 from 1998-2001).

Western Michigan (11-0, 7-0 MAC) is ranked No. 14 in the nation by the Associated Press and is coming off a 38-0 home victory over Buffalo Nov. 19. The Broncos are led by the tandem of senior quarterback Zach Terrell (2,890 yards, 27 TDs, one interception) and senior wide receiver Corey Davis (75 receptions, national leader with 16 TD catches).

Toledo leads the series with Western Michigan, 41-29, and had won five straight games in the series until last year’s defeat in the Glass Bowl.

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