Toledo Rockets vs. Central Michigan Chippewas Preview and Pick – Point Spread

Toldeo Rockets (4-5 SU, 4-5 ATS) vs. Central Michigan Chippewas (7-2 SU, 6-2 ATS), 8:00 p.m. EST, Wednesday, November 11, 2009, Kelly/Shorts Stadium, Mount Pleasant, Mich. TV: ESPN2
by Ryno of

Point Spread: Toledo +17/Central Michigan -17
Over/Under: 61

Central Michigan’s seven-game winning streak came to an end when the Chippewas lost 31-10 at Boston College. But they still remain undefeated at 5-0 in the MAC, on pace to reach the MAC Championship. To get there, they first need to get past Toledo on Wednesday night.

Central Michigan is coming off three straight road games. Before losing to Boston College, they won the first two by double digits over Western Michigan and Bowling Green. In the loss to BC, Chippewas quarterback Dan LeFevour got shut down by the BC defense. LeFevour totaled just 178 yards of offense, including 152 passing yards and an interception. Meanwhile, CMU couldn’t stop the run or the pass. BC ran for 152 yards and threw for 262 yards.

LeFevour is clearly the key to the Central Michigan offense. He leads the country in total touchdowns with 25. In the passing department, LeFevour has 1,848 yards, 16 touchdowns, five interceptions and a 68.5 completion percentage. But he can run, too. The quarterback has 548 rushing yards and nine touchdowns.

Antonio Brown is LeFevour’s favorite target through the air. Brown has 56 receptions for 605 yards and seven touchdowns. Brown is also second on the team behind LeFevour in rushing with 285 yards, two touchdowns and a 9.8 yards-per-carry average.

Central Michigan is allowing just 15 points per game against MAC opponents. The Chippewas haven’t allowed more than 23 points in any MAC game this season.

Toledo is not having a very good season. After a win over Colorado in the second game of the season, the Rockets have gone downhill. They got shutout by a very good Ohio State team, 38-0. Then, they barely got by Florida International in a shootout, 41-31. After that, they won by a touchdown over a then-winless Ball State team, 37-30. In three straight home games after that, they were blown out by Western Michigan 58-26, won by a point over Northern Illinois in their best performance in the past seven weeks, and lost 40-24 to Temple. Last week, the Rockets gave Miami of Ohio its first win of the season, 31-24. Now, Toledo has to face an undefeated MAC team on the road. Luckily for the Rockets, they do have a very winnable game against winless Eastern Michigan at home next week.

Toledo’s offense hasn’t been bad. Quarterback Aaron Opelt has played in seven of the nine games and thrown for 1,863 yards, 15 touchdowns and six interceptions. Eric Page and Stephen Williams have both been two of the better wide receivers in the MAC. Page leads the team with 65 receptions, 909 yards and seven touchdowns. Williams has 60 receptions, 884 yards and five touchdowns. Running back DaJuane Collins has 733 rushing yards, eight touchdowns and a 5.8 yards-per-carry average.

In Toledo’s best offensive performance of the season, a 54-38 win over Colorado, Collins ran for 160 yards and a touchdown on 20 carries. Opelt was spectacular, with 319 passing yards, four passing touchdowns, 109 rushing yards on eight carries, and two rushing touchdowns. Page had three receptions for 138 yards and a touchdown. In the loss to Miami of Ohio, Collins ran for 82 yards and Adonis Thomas ran for 107 yards. But Opelt only threw for 79 yards and he had an interception. Meanwhile, the Rockets have up 344 passing yards.

Central Michigan won 24-23 over Toledo last season. LeFevour had 242 passing yards and two touchdowns, and Opelt threw for 216 yards and one touchdown.

Opelt is questionable for Wednesday’s game with a shoulder injury. If the Rockets are going to have any chance of winning the game, they need a healthy Opelt on the field.

Toledo is 6-14 ATS in its last 20 road games and 5-16 SU in its last 21 road games. The total has gone under in four of Central Michigan’s last five games. The Chippewas are 16-4 SU in their last 20 home games.

Ryno’s Pick: Toledo has a decent offense, but Central Michigan hasn’t allowed more than 23 points in a MAC game this season. The Rockets defense won’t be able to stop LeFevour. They gave up over 300 passing yards to Miami of Ohio, and LeFevour is arguably the best quarterback in the MAC, so he should have a field day. The Rockets defense will have to step up big time to keep them in the game. On offense, they must give the ball to Collins more. The running back is averaging almost six yards per carry, but he’s only getting 14 carries per game. Toledo played Central Michigan well last season, but these two teams are going in opposite directions. CMU is focused, while Toledo is coming off a loss to a winless team. Take Central Michigan -17.