Toledo Rockets (6-3 SU, 2-7 ATS) vs. Northern Illinois Huskies (7-2 SU, 4-5 ATS)
College Football Week 12
Date and Time: Tuesday, November 11, 2014, 8:00 pm EST
Where: Brigham Field at Huskie Stadium, DeKalb, Ill.
TV: ESPN2, DirecTV 209
by Badger, Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: Tol. +4 /N.Ill. -4
Over/Under Total: 59.5
First place in the Mid-American Conferences West division will be up for grabs in a primetime showdown Tuesday night on ESPN2, when the Toledo Rockets travel to Huskie Stadium in DeKalb, Ill., to face the Northern Illinois Huskies.
Toledo currently holds a half-game lead over Northern Illinois in the MAC-West standings at 5-0, with the Huskies sitting in a second-place tie at 4-1 along with Western Michigan. However, the Rockets have already beaten Western Michigan a few weeks ago, so if they would be able to get another huge win on the road in DaKalb it would virtually lock up a MAC Championship game appearance for Toledo.
Both teams set up this battle for West bragging rights by taking care of business in an early-week showdown last week, with Toledo holding on for a 30-20 win over Kent State last Tuesday, while the Huskies outlasted a feisty Ball State squad on Wednesday night, 35-21.
Perhaps the most important element for Tuesdays matchup will be the health of Toledo quarterback Logan Woodside. Woodside, Toledos No. 2 quarterback who was pressed into action a several weeks ago when the Rockets original starter Phillip Ely went down for the season with a torn ACL, left the game last week with a leg injury. Hes listed as questionable for Tuesdays showdown, and hell be necessary too because the Rockets third-string QB is freshman Michael Julian who has 10 collegiate passes to his career for just 23 yards.
Its because of the questions surrounding the health of Woodside that this game still has yet to have a point spread released for it. As of press time, there is still no number or total listed for this game.
These two teams are at the top of the MAC standings because they are two of the best running teams in the country, with Toledo rushing for 245 yards a game (20th in FBS) and Northern Illinois amassing 266 yards (11th) per contest. Although strong running games dont often translate into points on the scoreboard, for these two teams it does since the Rockets average 34 points per game while the Huskies are just slightly behind them at 32 points per game.
Both of these offenses will likely have their way on Tuesday because neither team sports an imposing defense. Unless of course the Rockets are forced to use Julian at quarterback, which would put more of the burden on running back Kareem Hunt and the Rocket offensive line.
Northern Illinois has owned the MAC-West for the past several seasons, so its no surprise that they have beaten the Rockets head-to-head for four straight seasons, including a 35-17 victory last year in Toledo. Some of the Rocket-Huskies games have been track meets, including a 63-60 win in Toledo in 2011 and a 65-30 win in 2010 in DeKalb.
However, it is worth noting that the under is actually 3-1-1 in the last five head-to-head meetings in games played in Northern Illinois. Toledo also has a tendency to cover the point spread on the road as well, going 5-2-1 ATS in their last eight visits to Huskie Stadium.
Badgers Pick to Cover the Point Spread: With the status of Rockets QB Logan Woodside still in doubt the total on this game is probably the prudent choice. Even If Woodside is able to go he may not be able to make much of an impact with the wind expected to hamper both teams passing games. Speaking of the passing game, while Toledo has allowed 32.1 points per game the damage on the scoreboard has been done by teams that can pass against them. The passing game is something that Northern Illinois has proven that they dont excel at ranking 100th in the nation with 190.3 passing yards per game. On the other side of the ball the Huskies have played better in recent weeks holding their last two opponents to a combined 38 points and on the season have allowed 23 points per game at home this year. Take the Under 59.5