NCAA Football: Toledo Rockets vs. Ball State Cardinals Preview, Prediction & Odds - Sept. 25, 2021

by Chuck Sommers

Game time: 2 p.m. ET, Sept. 25, 2021
Venue: Scheumann Stadium, Muncie, IN
Where to watch: ESPN+

Opening Odds at USA Sportsbooks

DraftKings: Toledo -5; O/U 56.5; Toledo -200, Ball State +170
BetMGM: Toledo -4.5; O/U 56.5; Toledo -208, Ball State +170
Caesars: Toledo -4.5; O/U 56.5; Toledo -210, Ball State +175

Season record
Toledo: 1-2
Ball State: 1-2

Team Del Genio was a PERFECT 4-0 in all-sports on Saturday to further a 9 of 11 (82%) HOT STREAK this week, WINNING their 25* NCAA-F Pac-12 Game of the Month with USC and their 25* NCAA-F Saturday TV Total of the Month with the ASU/BYU under! Catch Del Genio’s and other plays available right now at the Shop Picks page, where you can find all of the Best Bets from our champion sports handicappers.

Toledo - Ball State preview and analysis

Recent form
Toledo: lost 22-6 vs. Colorado State on Sept. 18
Ball State: lost 45-12 at Wyoming on Sept. 18

Holy Toledo! When this is all you know the Toledo Rockets from, maybe you look to understand the team a whole lot better.

But then you come to grips that this battle of 1-2 teams against the Ball State Cardinals on Saturday -- in the MAC opener for both teams -- and it perfectly encapsulates mid-day football at its finest.

This matchup is likely better as a college basketball matchup in that conference than it would be as a college football get-together. Toledo is coming off a 16-point loss to the Colorado State Rams at home that feels uninspired after the near-upset of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish.

Imagine how bad this is: You hold the opposing quarterback to 11-of-27 (yes, that’s correct) for 110 yards and no touchdowns or interceptions. Your quarterback throws for 254 yards and actually looks good throwing the football. But your run defense gives up 132 yards on 30 carries from the opposition’s top running back, and you’re left shooting yourself in the foot.

That describes what Toledo went through in a nutshell. It was a 3-3 game at half, a far cry from the offense the Rockets put up at Notre Dame Stadium in South Bend, and were then outscored 19-3 in the second half to pull away with the win. The worst part? It was all special teams. CSU kicker Cayden Camper made five field goals (count again, 5 FGs, and Thomas Pannunzio returned a punt 70 yards for a touchdown. Colorado State won its first game of the season by way of doing absolutely nothing.

Not to mention, only one turnover from Toledo. This was a weird game and one the Rockets should have won.

If only the same could be said for Ball State, which has looked as unimpressive as one could be this season. Following a 10-point win over Western Illinois, Ball State has gone on to lose its next two games by a combined score of 99-25. College football action has never looked so promising than Ball State getting creamed by the Penn State Nittany Lions and Wyoming Cowboys.

Ball State’s offense has been anemic. The Cardinals have only tallied 319.7 total yards per game while giving up 436 through three contests. Safe to say Ball State has not been calling their shots and been representing the great Hoosier State that is Indiana, but rather playing like they’re a bad team from Cleveland.

Drew Pitt has not been a good quarterback for Ball State, and even at home, it seems like nothing is going right for the Cardinals.


Toledo should be 3-0 right now, but it’s a catastrophe that the Rockets are not. One would like to think a matchup of this kind should be enough for Toledo to get back into things, and that’s what we expect. The Rockets are facing an inferior club that has not looked good through three games, and that’s going to change starting Saturday. Toledo by 21

Betting trends

Toledo is 5-8 against the spread as a favorite but has won nine of its last 13.

Ball State is 9-4 ATS as an underdog, but is 6-7 straight up in those 13 games.

Players to watch

Toledo: It’s going to be the Devin Maddox show after a quiet 3-catch, 28-yard performance. While Bryce Mitchell held down the fort, the Rockets’ leading receiver is going to be tearing up the Ball State secondary.

Ball State: One way for the Cardinals to get their offense going is establish a run game, and that’s been difficult with Carson Steele. The tail back at 76 yards and a touchdown in the altitude in Laramie, but that’s all that Ball State could generate offensively.

Statistical leaders

Passing: Carter Bradley -- 658 yards, 2 TD, 0 INT
Rushing: Bryant Koback -- 198 yards, 2 TD
Receiving: Devin Maddox -- 254 yards, 1 TD
Defense: Terrance Taylor -- 2 sacks

Ball State:
Passing: Drew Pitt -- 424 yards, 2 TD, 3 INT
Rushing: Carson Steele -- 173 yards, 3 TD
Receiving: Justin Hall -- 192 yards, 2 TD
Defense: Tavion Woodard -- 4 sacks

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Chuck Sommers

About the Author:

Chuck Sommers has camped outside of sportsbooks since he can remember, learning the tricks and nuances of the trade. He still has nightmares of betting $5,000 on the Raiders in the Tuck Rule game but has since turned that to 25 years of veteran handicapping greatness. You can find him mostly in the shadows at the Red Rock or Aliante casinos wondering if the over is cashing on any given Sunday.

All photographic images used for editorial content have been licensed from the Associated Press.

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