With just two games left in the regular season, Toledo is looking for a victory at Kent State this Thursday (6:00 p.m./CBSSN) in order to gain bowl eligibility for the ninth consecutive season. The Rockets (5-5, 3-3 MAC) need to defeat the Golden Flashes or Central Michigan in the regular-season finale on Nov. 23 in order to reach the minimum bowl requirement of six wins.
Toledo is coming off a 38-15 loss at Northern Illinois on Nov. 7 that knocked them out of the MAC West Division title hunt. Sophomore quarterback Eli Peters completed 26-of-47 passes for 264 yards, but Toledo could not keep pace with the Huskies. The Rockets outgained NIU in total offense, 431-427, but missed opportunities and big plays by Northern made the difference.
Toledo trailed by just one, 10-9, late in the first half when NIU's Sutton Smith blocked a punt and returned it 27 yards for a touchdown. The Huskies scored twice in the third quarter, while the Rockets did not find the end zone again until late in the game. Senior wide receiver Cody Thompson led the offense with eight receptions for 110 yards. Junior Diontae Johnson added seven catches for 52 yards, while senior Jon'Vea Johnson chipped in with four receptions and one TD. Junior Art Thompkins led the rushing attack with 62 yards on 12 carries.
Kent State (2-8, 1-5 MAC) is coming off a 48-14 loss at Buffalo on Nov. 6. The Golden Flashes are led by sophomore dual-threat quarterback Woody Barrett, who has thrown for 1,932 yards and 10 touchdowns. He has also run for 442 yards and six TDs. KSU's lone MAC victory was a 35-28 triumph at Bowling Green on Oct. 30. The Flashes have also had a pair of one-point losses, 27-26 to Ohio and 24-23 to Akron.
Toledo leads the series with Kent State, 25-21. The Rockets have won the last three meetings, most recently a 38-7 victory at the Glass Bowl in 2015.
Toledo is 4-1 vs. the Golden Flashes since the MAC split into divisions in 1997. Thursday's game will be only the fourth meeting between the two schools in the past 19 years.
Toledo is second in the MAC in scoring (38.6), second in rushing offense (200.6) and third in total offense (439.2).
Toledo leads the nation with six blocked punts. Junior tight end Reggie Gilliam has four of them, also tops in the nation.
Cody Thompson hauled in eight catches for 110 yards at Northern Illinois, the 15th 100-yard receiving game of his career. Thompson now has 3,200 career receiving yards, passing Stephen Williams (3,102 from 2006-09) for second place all-time in school history. He is now 247 yards away from breaking Eric Page's school record of 3,446.
Junior quarterback Mitchell Guadagni has not played in the last two games and will not play at Kent State. Guadagni was injured in the first half of the WMU game on Oct. 25.
Guadagni's replacement, sophomore Eli Peters, is 2-1 as a starter this year, leading Toledo to wins over Bowling Green on Oct. 6 and Ball State on Oct. 31.
Toledo vs. Kent State
Thursday, Nov. 15 - 6:00 p.m.
Dix Stadium, Kent, Ohio
Toledo (5-5, 3-3 MAC)
Kent State (2-8, 1-5 MAC)
SERIES RECORD: Toledo leads, 25-21. The Rockets won the most recent meeting, 38-7, at the Glass Bowl in 2015.
Jason Candle, 26-12 (3rd year) at Toledo, same overall. 0-0 vs. Kent State.
Sean Lewis, 2-8 (1st year) at KSU same overall. 0-0 vs. Toledo.
TV/STREAMING: CBS Sports Network
Play by Play: Ben Holden
Analyst: Jay Feely
ROCKET RADIO NETWORK: Pregame begins 90 minutes before kickoff.
Play by Play: Brent Balbinot
Analyst: Bruce Gradkowski
Sidelines: Mike Robinson
WEB-AUDIO: Free live audio streaming of the UT Rocket Radio Network broadcast on UTRockets.com.
UT COACH'S SHOW: Coach Jason Candle and host Brent Balbinot talk Rocket Football every Monday at Frickers in Maumee. Carried live on WSPD-AM1370 and online on UTRockets.com.
@ToledoFB: Regular updates on UT Football, live updates on Game Day.
@UTPaulHelgren: Regular updates on UT Football.
@ToledoRockets: Updates for all Rocket sports.