Tuesday Night College Football Picks: Akron Zips at Toledo Rockets

Akron Zips at Toledo Rockets
Tuesday, November 20, 2012, 7:00 pm Eastern, TV: ESPN2
Glass Bowl – Toledo, Ohio
Opening Line: Toledo -18 1/2
Current Line: Toledo -19
Opening Total: 62
Current Total: 64
Opening Money Line: Toledo -1165 / Akron +750
Current Money Line: Toledo -1165 / Akron +750

Toledo hosts Akron Tuesday night in the season finale for both teams. The Rockets are 19 point favorites.

It is somewhat appropriate that two days before Thanksgiving, we get a turkey of a football game. The 1-10 Akron Zips are just trying to finish a miserable season Tuesday night as they take on the 8-3 Toledo Rockets who are trying to avoid  serious injuries before their bowl game. This is the 17th meeting between the schools and the series is tied 8-8. They haven’t played since 2008 when Akron won 47-30 to snap a six game losing streak to Toledo.

Akron is 0-7 in the MAC under first year coach Terry Bowden. The only win for the Zips came early in the season at home against Morgan St 66-6. Since then Akron has lost 8 straight games. The Zips have home losses to Central Florida 56-14, Miami-(Ohio) 56-49, Bowling Green 24-10, Northern Illinois 37-7, and last week against previously winless Massachusetts 22-14. Akron has road losses at Florida International 41-38 in overtime, at Tennessee 47-26, Ohio 34-28, Central Michigan 35-14, and Kent St 35-24. The Zips are 5-6 ATS and the total is 4-6 this season. Akron was a 14.5 point favorite at home against UMass and the total was 58.5.

Akron is averaging 435.8 yards per game on offense including 317.1 passing yards and 118.7 rushing yards. The Zips are #40 in total offense nationally, #14 in passing, and #107 rushing out of 124 teams. Akron is being outscored 36-26 this season. The Zips are -15 in turnovers with 26 giveaways. Akron averages 66.7 penalty yards per game and has allowed 20 sacks this season. The Zips are 76/190 on third and fourth down conversions and 33/40 scoring in the red zone with 27. On defense, Akron is allowing 449.2 yards per game including 230.9 passing yards and 218.3 rushing yards. The Zips are 100th or worse in total defense, against the run, and points allowed. Akron has forced 11 turnovers and 13 sacks. Akron opponents are 65/174 on third and fourth down conversions and 45/52 scoring in the red zone with 32 touchdowns.

Akron quarterback Dalton Williams has completed 324 of 518 passes (62.5%) for 3,335 yards with 25 touchdowns and 16 interceptions. He has been sacked 20 times this season. Running back Jawon Chisholm has 163 carries, 906 yards and 4 touchdowns, along with 32 catches, 279 yards, and 2 touchdowns. Conor Hundley has 72 carries, 271 yards, and 3 touchdowns, along with 4 catches for 54 yards.  Quentin Hines and Hakeem Lawrence will also get some carries. Receiver Marquelo Suel has 73 catches, 790 yards, and 5 touchdowns. Keith Sconiers has 39 catches, 435 yards and no touchdowns. L.T. Smith has 44 catches, 430 yards and 3 touchdowns. Dee Frieson has 47 catches, 384 yards and 4 touchdowns. Jerrod Dillard has 25 catches, 378 yards and 8 touchdowns.

Toledo is 5-2 in the MAC led by first year coach Matt Campbell. The Rockets had won 8 straight games since a season opening loss at Arizona 24-17 in overtime. However, Toledo has lost two straight games at home to Ball St 34-27 and last week at Northern Illinois 31-24. The losses cost the Rockets a shot at the MAC West division and a spot in the conference championship game next week in Detroit. Toledo has home wins over Bowling Green 27-15, Coastal Carolina 38-28, Central Michigan 50-35, and Cincinnati 29-23, along with road wins at Wyoming 34-31, Western Michigan 37-17, Eastern Michigan 52-47 and at Buffalo 25-20. The Rockets are 7-4 ATS and the total is 3-7 this season. Toledo was a 10 point underdog in the NIU game and the total was 69.

Toledo is averaging 455.8 yards per game on offense, including 252.7 passing yards and 203.1 rushing yards per game. The Rockets are outscoring teams 33-28 this season. Toledo is in the top 50 nationally in all offensive categories. The Rockets are +8 in turnovers with 16 giveaways. Toledo is averaging 65 penalty yards per game and has allowed 20 sacks. The Rockets are 79/179 on third and fourth down conversions and 38/46 scoring in the red zone with 22 touchdowns. On defense, Toledo is allowing 475.2 yards per game including 297.9 passing yards and 177.3 rushing yards. The Rockets are #112 in total defense, #120 in pass defense, #81 against the rush but #65 in scoring defense. This is mainly because the Rockets have forced 24 turnovers and 20 sacks. Toledo opponents  are 65/167 on third and fourth down conversions and 28/42 scoring in the red zone with 20 touchdowns. The Rockets have 8 defensive/special teams touchdowns this season.

Toledo quarterback Terrance Owens has completed 209 of 333 passes (62.8%) for 2,677 yards with 14 touchdowns and 8 interceptions, along with 91 carries, 385 yards and 5 touchdowns. Running back David Fluellen has 252 carries, 1,460 yards and 13 touchdowns, along with 32 catches for 246 yards. He is questionable with an ankle injury. Cassius McDowell has 68 carries, 354 yards and 3 touchdowns, along with 17 catches, 145 yards and a touchdown. Receiver Bernard Reedy has 78 catches, 1,032 yards and 6 touchdowns. He is one of the best return men in the country with 2 kickoff returns and a punt return for touchdowns. He has over 1,800 all-purpose yards. Alonzo Russell has 45 catches, 786 yards and 3 touchdowns. Other than the running backs, no other Rocket receiver has more than 16 catches.

Akron is 4-1 ATS in road games, 16-35-1 in MAC  games, 2-5 after a straight-up loss, 2-5 overall, 4-10 on fieldturf, 1-5 in November, and 1-10 after allowing less than 100 rushing yards. Toledo is  4-1 ATS after allowing more than 280 passing yards, 6-2 against teams with losing records, 5-2-1 at home against teams with losing road records, and 0-5 in Tuesday games. The Rockets are 5-1 ATS in the last 6 against the Zips, and have been favored in everyone of those games.

If Fluellen doesn’t play Tuesday, the Toledo attack isn’t nearly as dangerous. Akron is terrible, but they have four losses by 8 points or less. I don’t see Toledo having much motivation to just destroy Akron, even though they certainly could. The Rockets are coming off a loss to Northern Illinois that could have given Toledo the division title. I see a letdown game for Toledo in what is a meaningless game for them. The Rockets win, but it is much closer than the 19 point spread.

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