On Saturday, December 2, 2017, the 7-5 Akron Zips take on the 10-2 Toledo Rockets in the MAC Championship Game. Toledo enters this game as winners of seven of their last eight contests helping them to win the Eastern division of the conference. Akron has won three of their last four.
These two teams faced each other on October 21, when Toledo defeated Akron 48-21. The Rockets led in this game 38-7 at one point.
Akron enters this game 7-4-1 against the spread this season, but they have gone 7-2 over there last nine against the spread. The Zips are 3-6 in their last nine games against Toledo against the spread. Toledo has won seven of the last nine contests between these two teams. Akron has gone under the total in eight of their last 10 but the total has gone over in four of the last six games between these two teams.
Toledo is 7-5 against the spread this season, but they are on a bit of a roll as they have gone 6-1 against the spread in their last seven.
The Zips are averaging 23.2 points per game while giving up an average of 25.7 points per game. While the number of yards they have produced in the passing game has been comparable to that which they have allowed, it has been in the run game where there has been the biggest disparity. Akron has given up nearly a thousand yards more rushing than they have gained this season.
The offense is led by Thomas Woodson who has thrown for 1742 yards and 14 touchdowns the season he has completed a solid 58.3 percent of his passes this season and has eight interceptions in 264 attempts.
On defense, the Zips do not get a lot of pressure on the quarterback, recording only 16 sacks this season. Ulysses Gilbert leads the team in sacks with 4.0, and also in tackles with 104.
Where this defense really comes up big is in the way that they get after the ball. Akron has recorded 15 interceptions this season, with Gilbert recording two of them. The team leader in interceptions is Jordan George who has four, and five different players on this defense have at least two interceptions the season. This should be a key to the game, as the Zips are going to need to try to get incredible play out of their cornerbacks to allow them to be able to put more players against the run.
Toledo has a high-powered offense that is averaging nearly 39 points per game. Terry Swanson has rushed for 1139 yards and 12 touchdowns this season. He should be a huge factor in this game, as Akron is allowing nearly 200 yards rushing per contest, and Swanson should be drooling at the opportunity of squaring off against this defense.
Two players on this team are also putting up huge yards backing up Swanson. Shakif Seymour has 665 yards rushing, 12 touchdowns scored, and a 6.3 yards per carry average. Art Thompkins has 588 yards rushing and a 6.1 yards per carry average. There is no doubt that the Rockets will try to ram the ball down the throat of the Zips defense and it seems that there is very little that Akron can do to stop this.
What makes this more challenging is the fact that quarterback Logan Woodside is having an outstanding season of his own. The quarterback has 3451 yards through the air with 24 touchdowns and a 65.2 completion percentage add to it the fact that he has only thrown three interceptions and 345 attempts and it is easy to see why Akron will likely be having a very long day.
The Toledo defense doesn’t get much pressure on the quarterback either, recording only 18 sacks this season, but they’re able to make plays in the secondary as well, recording 14 interceptions this season. Olaunkanmi Adeniyi leads the team in sacks with 6.5 and is second on the team in tackles with 57. The team leader in interceptions is Kahlil Robinson, who has four.
Zips vs. Rockets Betting Lines
No disrespect to Akron, but Toledo is simply the better team here. Their offense is as good as any that the Zips will face this season, and they simply don’t have the playmakers on defense to slow this offense down. Expect Toledo to move the ball almost at will, and to dominate this game from the start. Expect the Rockets to cover the spread but for the total to be slightly under 57.
My Pick: Toledo -20.5 (-110)
Totals: Under 57.0 (-110)
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