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October 5, 2013

Staff Predictions: Toledo

Coming off of a tough loss at home to Kent State in their MAC opener, things won't get any easier for Western Michigan this week. Heading to the Glass Bowl in Toledo, the Broncos are three touchdown underdogs today.

David James: There aren't a lot of good omens for WMU heading into this one. Obviously the Broncos' performance hasn't been inspiring at 0-5, and they really just don't have the firepower to match up with an exciting Toledo team. To add to that, Toledo has to be excited to come home and get what's likely a step down in competition from Florida, Missouri and even Ball State.

Of course, on the flip side, there's the potential of a let down for the Rockets coming off of the emotional loss in Muncie last weekend. I just don't really see motivation being an issue for a team led by Matt Campbell.

WMU needs to likely force at least three turnovers, and produce a couple of long passing plays, to have a shot. That's not completely out of the question given what we've seen from the team, but combining it with protection of the football will be the challenge. More likely than not, Toledo understands the importance of every conference game in the MAC West race and takes care of the Broncos in a workmanlike effort.

Toledo 40, Western Michigan 17

D.J. Duckett: I was optimistic going into last weeks game. Hoping to see some week to week improvement, hoping to see some wrinkles saved for MAC play, hoping to see a better disciplined football team… If it hasn't to this point, I don't see how the Broncos right their "ship" this week.

Toledo is full of weapons, something that I see WMU having trouble stopping. I see a big game out of David Fluellen and Bernard Reedy as the Broncos struggle to keep the game close. If they can find some sort of identity on offense, they may have a chance, but I just do not see that happening any time soon.

Toledo 35, Western Michigan 14

Brian Persky: Most people aren't expecting a whole lot out of this WMU team heading into Toledo this Saturday, and justifiably so. The Broncos have been inept offensively and fairly inconsistent defensively throughout the year. Similar to the Northwestern game, they'll have to execute perfectly in order to win. That means hitting gaps and stopping Toledo's option read on defense, capitalizing off turnovers, and converting all red-zone attempts into touchdowns.

Although the Rockets haven't been quite as explosive as in years past, I still think the matchup is just not a good one on paper for Western Michigan. David Fluellen -- who I think is an NFL-caliber running back -- should have his way with a thin, young, and inexperienced WMU defensive line. That takes pressure off Toledo's passing game, and suddenly the Broncos are going to need to score a lot of points to keep up.

Although the Broncos appear to be closer to getting their first win of the season, it would send shockwaves throughout the MAC if it came on the road at the Glass Bowl against the Rockets. I think we'll see Zach Terrell back out on the field for the third time this season.

Toledo 45, Western Michigan 14

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