Toledo, OH - The calendar says that Toledo's next game is in November, which can only mean one thing: it's time to talk about the race for the Mid-American Conference championship.
With four games left, Toledo sits atop the MAC West Division with a 4-0 record. But three schools are right behind the Rockets with 3-1 marks. Two of those squads remain on UT's schedule, including defending MAC West champion Northern Illinois, which invades the Glass Bowl on Tuesday, Nov. 1 in a nationally televised showdown on ESPN2. The other one-loss team, Ball State, looms on Toledo's schedule in the season finale on Nov. 25.
If the Rockets want the final game of the season to mean something, they will need to continue the kind of effort that has helped them win their last four games, including a 49-28 shellacking of Miami on Oct. 22. Senior Morgan Williams led UT's three-headed rushing attack with 84 yards and 2 TDs. The Rocket defense had a season-high five sacks and held Miami to just 14 yards rushing.
In addition to the Homecoming victory, the other great news coming out of the Glass Bowl was the return of three injured Rockets to the lineup: senior RB Adonis Thomas, junior LB Dan Molls and junior safety Jermaine Robinson.
Those players are back just in time as the Rockets hit the home stretch of the MAC schedule. And as has happened so often in the past decade, Toledo's meeting with Northern Illinois could be a major factor in determing which MAC West school goes to Ford Field on Dec. 2 for the MAC Championship Game.
The Huskies are continuing their recent tradition of fielding excellent teams under rookie head coach Dave Doeren. Winners of three straight games, NIU escaped with a 31-30 victory at Buffalo last week, thanks in part to a missed Bulls' extra point with 14 seconds left in the game.
A big part of the Huskies' success belongs to senior QB Chandler Harnish. Harnish leads the MAC in total offense (304.4 yards per game), averaging 89.0 yards rushing and 212.1 yards passing per game. Harnish became the 10th player in NCAA history to rush and throw for over 200 yards in a gamed in NIU's 51-22 dismantling of Western Michigan on Oct. 15. The Huskies rank first in the MAC in total offense, averaging 463.4 yards per game.
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