Colorado State (0-2) at Toledo (1-1); 2 p.m. Saturday, at Glass Bowl Stadium (Ohio)
TV/Radio: ESPNU/1430 AM, 98.1 FM
Line: Toledo -14,
Weather: 13% chance of thunderstorms, 79 degrees
What to know
Rebound Rams. CSU limps into its first road game after opening the season with an FCS loss (South Dakota State) and falling to lowly Vanderbilt. The Rams have arguably the nation’s best tight end in Trey McBride and a great punter in Ryan Stonehouse. That doesn’t make up for glaring issues facing almost every other position group. If CSU bombs in Toledo, don’t expect fans to fill up Canvas Stadium the rest of this season. The Rams are desperate for a win.
Near upset. It doesn’t get any easier this week for CSU. Toledo enters this matchup after taking No. 8 Notre Dame to the wire in South Bend. Notre Dame escaped with a 32-29 win, but the Rockets (1-1) showcased why they were picked to finish second in the MAC preseason poll. Head coach Jason Candle built Toledo into a consistent winner with dynamic offenses. In 2019, the Rockets defeated CSU in a 41-35 thriller. Toledo racked up 547 total yards.
Two QB system. CSU’s greatest challenge defensively is preparing for two Toledo quarterbacks. The Rockets have utilized sophomore Carter Bradley and redshirt freshman Dequan Finn to great success. Bradley is the more traditional pocket QB with 404 yards passing. Finn is a dual-threat with two rushing touchdowns. Both are expected to play. CSU’s defense has appeared lost at times against more traditional offenses. Now, the Rams must regroup against a more challenging opponent.
CSU shorthanded. The Rams will be without two defensive standouts — safety Logan Stewart and linebacker Tavian Brown — in the first half against Toledo as the result of targeting personal foul ejections in the Vanderbilt loss. The Coloradoan also reported that receiver Dante Wright and safety Tywan Francis did not practice Tuesday or Wednesday this week while nursing undisclosed injuries. Francis is CSU’s leading tackler (20) and Wright is the team’s top downfield passing threat. Do the Rams have enough depth to compete?
CSU QB Todd Centeio vs. Toledo defense. The Rockets recovered a fumble and returned an interception for a touchdown in their near-upset over Notre Dame. Meanwhile, Centeio fumbled a handoff exchange in the opener and threw a pick against Vanderbilt. His decision-making must improve or Toledo’s opportunistic defense will take full advantage.
CSU front seven vs. Toledo offense. The Rams finally got some pressure on the quarterback a week ago with a pair of sacks. CSU needs that pass rush to become a strength or risk opponents exploiting its secondary. Scott Patchan has the chance to improve his NFL draft stock on Saturday.
Kyle Fredrickson, sports reporter: Toledo 42, CSU 17
Trey McBride will be the best player on the field. It won’t matter in a lopsided CSU defeat.
Sean Keeler, sports columnist: Toledo 31, CSU 23
Don’t be shocked if the Rams start fast again. For about three possessions per game, CSU can ball with anybody. Then the game-day adjustments start, and it’s Goodnight, Irene.
Matt Schubert, deputy sports editor: Toledo 34, CSU 20
The Rockets gave Notre Dame everything they could handle last week in South Bend. Could a letdown be coming? Against anyone else, maybe. Not these Rams.
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