The month of October rolls along in college football and there a handful of important games spread out through the Week 8 slate.
The headliner will be a top 10 showdown between two Big Ten giants as No. 7 Penn State hits the road to battle No. 3 Ohio State. We’ll also get the “Third Saturday in October” rivalry with No. 17 Tennessee visiting No. 11 Alabama and a rematch of last year’s Pac-12 Championship Game with No. 18 USC hosting No. 14 Utah. While those matchups are absolutely worth your time, I want to go slightly off the grid and point your attention elsewhere.
Every week, I’ll go full hipster and point out an under-the-radar game that you should also be paying attention to on the schedule. This week we’ll head to southwest Ohio for what could be a preview of the MAC title game in December.
Toledo vs. Miami-Ohio, 4 p.m. ET, ESPNU
Odds via DraftKings Sportsbook
Spread: Toledo -2
Moneyline: Toledo -125, Miami-OH +105
The underrated matchup that we’ll take a look at for Week 8 brings us to Yager Stadium in Oxford, OH, where the Toledo Rockets will battle the Miami-OH Redhawks. The nation will get to watch this matchup on ESPNU between two opponents currently leading their respective divisions in the MAC.
Toledo is 6-1 heading into this showdown and as the reigning MAC champions, itnappears primed to successfully defend its title. The Rockets have ripped off six straight victories heading into this matchup and could be undefeated if they got just a few more bounces in their 30-28 loss to Illinois in the season opener. Since then, they’ve won three one-score games, including last week’s 13-6 come-from-behind win over Ball State.
Once again operating the controls for Toledo has been dual-threat quarterback Dequan Finn, who has 1,265 passing yards, 438 rushing yards, and 16 total touchdowns heading into this matchup. One of his primary targets through the air has been Jerjuan Newton, who already has nine receiving TD’s on the year. The ground game has been powered by junior tailback Peny Boone, who is well on his way to a 1,000-yard season. Defensively, keep an eye on cornerback RJ Delancy III, who already has four interceptions on the year.
Miami-OH is also 6-1 on the year, with its sole loss coming against Miami-FL in Week 1. The Redhawks have also rattled off six straight victories heading into this game with its signature victory coming over rival Cincinnati 31-24. The team has handled business in its first three conference games, blowing out Kent State and Bowling Green before toppling Western Michigan 34-21 last week.
Fifth-year senior quarterback Brett Gabbert has been effective running the show for Miami, throwing for just unnder 1,500 yards and 14 touchdowns heading into this game. He’s had wide receiver Gage Larvadain to lean on, catching 23 passes for 487 yards and six touchdowns so far this season. Defensive lineman Brian Ugwu will be a name to watch as he has 4.5 sacks year.
This is the marquee game of the MAC’s regular season schedule and for a league that is struggling to garner national attention, it’s nice that it will be available to a wide audience on ESPNU. Have this game on as you’re switching between Bama-UT this afternoon.