The Miami Hurricanes face the Toledo Rockets on Saturday, September 23, 2017, at 3:30PM. The ACC Network is broadcasting the game, and for me, I’ll be watching it streaming live on ESPN3. Since I graduated from Toledo and have lived in Toledo for the past 17 years, this tilt is a must-see for me.
Miami hasn’t played a game since September 2nd. In the interim, Hurricane Irma devastated Florida, which heavily impacted Miami football. The Arkansas State game was cancelled and school officials rescheduled the FSU game. Let alone Miami traveling a couple hours away to Orlando just to practice or the psychological impact of living through a tremendous hurricane. We are hoping Miami does not play Toledo lethargically.
That’s because Toledo is on a three-game winning streak, with an impressive win against Nevada and a win for the ages their last game versus Tulsa. Although Toledo is outmatched against Miami from top to bottom (huge gap in overall talent level) buyer beware. Toledo is led by 3-year starting quarterback Logan Woodside. In the Tulsa game last week, Woodside threw for 458 yards and 6 touchdowns. His top receiver, Cody Thompson, has already accumulated so far 391 receiving yards and 22 receptions. Toledo’s offense can be quite potent. Toledo’s defense, however, is the great equalizer, surrendering 51 points and 423 yards rushing to Tulsa’s high-octane offense. This defense gives up long plays and a lot of points to what many believe is weak competition. Nevertheless, Toledo’s offense is fully capable of keeping up with their suspect defense.
Another concern for Miami fans is the Rockets’ long history of beating power 5 teams. 2003's win against Larry Fitzgerald and the #9 ranked Pittsburgh squad is genuinely regarded as the greatest upset victory in Toledo football history. Since then, they've beaten Iowa State (2007), Michigan at the Big House (2008), Colorado (2009), Purdue (2010), #21 ranked Cincinnati (2012), and #18 ranked Arkansas (2015). Toledo performs well against college football's best conferences despite belonging to the MAC. The school also attracts aspiring, top-level coaches. Coaching legends Nick Saban and Gary Pinkel started off their head coaching careers at Toledo, as well as Matt Campbell, who currently runs the show at Iowa State. These high reputed coaches began their careers at Toledo under the age of 40.
The pervading opinion among Miami Hurricane fans might be that a game against Toledo is a walk in the park. But these are extraordinary circumstances. Miami will have gone 21 days since their last game. In contrast, Toledo is a hot team with years of experience upsetting power 5 teams. Not trying to imply Miami loses to Toledo, but the Canes need to show up big this Saturday.
If this game were like any game, one could predict the final score by how each played a mutual opponent. Toledo and Miami both battled Appalachian State in 2016. Miami visited Appalachian State and destroyed them 45 to 10. Toledo played Appalachian State at a neutral location for a bowl game and lost 31 to 28. If Miami shows up on Saturday, Toledo will be in for a long day. If Miami is complacent, expect the score to be tight with the potential of an upset.
Fans in Toledo this week may harken back to their 3-year winning streak from 1969 to 1971. 35 straight games. That’s the fifth best CFB winning streak all time.
The second longest streak since 1971? Miami at 34.