Toledo Rockets at Cincinnati Bearcats
Paul Brown Stadium – Cincinnati, Ohio
Friday, September 12, 2014, 7:00 pm Eastern, TV: ESPNU
Opening Line: Cincinnati -12
Current Line: Cincinnati -11
Opening Total: 52 1/2
Current Total: 59
Opening Money Line: Cincinnati -450 / Toledo +350
Current Money Line: Cincinnati -450 / Toledo +350
The Cincinnati Bearcats are the last FBS school to start their season as they host the Toledo Rockets Friday night. By contrast, four schools, Louisiana Tech, North Texas, Houston and BYU will have already played their third game of the season by the time this game kicks off. The Bearcats will now have to play 8 straight games before they finally get another week off in early November.
This is the eighth ever meeting between Toledo and Cincinnati. The Bearcats lead the series 4-3 but the Rockets have won 3 straight games in the series including 29-23 in Toledo in 2012. This is Toledo’s first trip to Cincinnati since 1995.
Toledo is coached by Matt Campbell. The Rockets are 1-1 this season with a home win over New Hampshire 54-20 and a home loss to Missouri 49-24 last week. Toledo is 1-1 ATS and both games have gone over the total.
Cincinnati is coached by Tommy Tuberville. The Bearcats went 9-4 last season and lost to North Carolina 39-17 in the Belk Bowl in Charlotte, North Carolina. Thirteen starters are back for the Bearcats including 7 on offense.
Toledo is outscoring teams 39-35 this season. The Rockets are averaging 537 total yards per game including 308 passing yards and 229 rushing yards. Toledo is 38th or better in all offensive categories nationally. On defense, the Rockets are allowing 439 total yards per game including 332 passing and 107 rushing yards. Toledo has forced 3 turnovers and has 2 of their own. The Rockets average 49 penalty yards per game and opponents average 32 yards per game. Toledo is 15/31 on third down conversions, and opponents are 19/35 on third and fourth down conversions. Toledo has forced 6 sacks and allowed 3 this season. The Rockets are 10/11 scoring in the red zone with 7 touchdowns and opponents are 8/9 with 8 touchdowns.
Toledo quarterback Phillip Ely tore his ACL against Missouri and is out for the season. The Alabama transfer had completed 60.3% of his passes for 541 yards with 4 touchdowns and an interception. Logan Woodside will be the new starter and completed 6 of 10 passes for 52 yards against Missouri after Ely’s injury. Sophomore Woodside was also the back-up in 2013 and played sparingly as a freshman. Running back Kareem Hunt has 35 carries for 284 yards with 5 touchdowns, plus 3 catches. Receiver Alonzo Russell has 12 catches for 167 yards. Corey Jones has 8 catches for 97 yards and a touchdown. Justin Olack has only 3 catches but 2 went for touchdowns.
Cincinnati averaged 304 yards per game passing last year which was in the top 20 nationally. The rushing game averaged 169 yards per game. The Bearcats scored 32 points a game. Seven starters are back for coordinator Eddie Gran.
Gunner Kiel originally committed to Indiana as a quarterback but eventually changed his mind and went to Notre Dame. He transferred to Cincinnati and will have three years of eligibility left after sitting out last season. He beat out Jarred Evans for the quarterback spot. Munchie Legaux was granted an extra year of eligibility after a horrific knee injury last year. He is questionable Friday.
The top three rushers are back for Cincinnati. Hosey Williams had 115 carries for 655 yards and 4 touchdowns. Ralph Abernathy had 132 carries for 518 yards and 5 touchdowns, plus 24 catches for 177 yards. Tion Green had 91 carries for 412 yards and 7 touchdowns.
Receiver Shaq Washington had 78 catches for 783 yards but just one touchdown last season. Chris Moore had 45 catches for 645 yards and 9 touchdowns and also returns. JUCO transfer Casey Gladney will also get a lot of targets.
The offensive line returns 3 starters including first team All-AAC left tackle Eric Lefeld. Center Deyshawn Bond is also back and Parker Ehinger moves from right tackle to right guard.
Toledo is 13-3 ATS after allowing more than 40 points, 7-2-1 after a straight up loss of more than 20 points, 19-8 after failing to cover, and 11-5-1 in September.
Cincinnati is 5-2 ATS in September and 14-6 in non-conference games.
Toledo has done well on offense so far but that was with Ely at quarterback. It remains to be seen if Woodside will be as productive. Look for the Rockets to lean on Hunt until Woodside gets rid of the jitters. They do have two games under their belt while Cincinnati is playing their first game of the season. Still, I think the Bearcats win a high scoring game.
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