Eastern Michigan at Toledo


Favorite: Toledo by 13

Records: Eastern Michigan 2-2, 0-1 MAC West; Toledo 3-1, 0-0 MAC West

Last meeting: Toledo won 35-20 last season in Ypsilanti, Michigan. Toledo leads series 33-11.

The NFL is just four weeks into its season, but the sporting public already knows all about the Kansas City Chiefs’ Kareem Hunt running for 502 yards, including a first-game rookie record 246 total yards against New England.

What many don’t know is that there are 12 Toledo players in the big-time, including three offensive linemen.

Hearing that brings a smile to Rockets senior right tackle Brant Weiss of Big Walnut. His story has been typical of the line, in that he was a preferred walk-on and built himself into a Division I player.

“With our offensive line, it always has been about us reloading,” Weiss said. “Our coaches believe in building up players, letting us know we’re going to play fast and hard, and to get ready for our time to come.”

It took a while for Weiss’ time to come. He was redshirted as a freshman in 2013 and did not play a down in ’14 before playing in 11 games as a backup in ’15 and starting five games last season.

This season, Weiss starts for a team that begins its quest to win a Mid-American Conference championship against Eastern Michigan. Toledo has beaten the Eagles 10 straight games, but Eastern gave Kentucky fits before losing 24-20 last week and took down Rutgers 16-13 on Sept. 9.

Weiss never thought about quitting.

“I had an interesting story in that I had a knee injury before my senior year (of high school) and didn’t play a game,” he said. “Toledo always stuck with me. It was a no-brainer to walk on here.”

Weiss was a 6-foot-6, 225-pound tight end when he reported for his first preseason camp. It didn’t take long for coaches to move him to tackle. He now weighs 292 pounds.

“It was a process throughout, but I knew I could play here,” he said. “You have to believe in yourself. You come in with a work ethic every day. There is a bond on our line. We all pull for one another. We take care of one another on and off the field.”

Coaches announced that Weiss was being put on scholarship before his redshirt sophomore season.

“That was a neat surprise,” he said.

The line has helped the two-headed running game of Terry Swanson and Art Thompkins combine for 598 yards and five touchdowns this season. Quarterback Logan Woodside has thrown for 1,346 yards and 11 touchdowns. The team is averaging 42.0 points to rank 13th nationally.

Got a question about anything related to sports and the Scarlet & Gray? The Dispatch’s team of Ohio State beat writers, columnists and editors are ready to provide answers. Send in a question.

Under fourth-year coach Chris Creighton, this isn’t the same beaten-down Eastern Michigan of years past. In 2016, the Eagles recorded their first winning season since 1995 and played in a bowl for the first time in 29 years.

Central Michigan at Ohio


Ohio coach Frank Solich might find it difficult to get career victory No. 151: the Bobcats (4-1, 1-0) are 1-7 against Mid-American Conference nemesis Central (2-3, 0-1) under Solich, including a 27-20 defeat last season.

Central Florida at Cincinnati


Cincinnati (2-3, 0-1) couldn’t play a more difficult American Athletic Conference team for a bounce-back game after losses to Navy and Marshall. Central Florida (3-0, 1-0) is ranked 25th and coming off a 40-13 win over Memphis.

Youngstown State at South Dakota


Youngstown State (3-1, 1-0) will try to defeat a top-10 FCS opponent — No. 6 South Dakota (4-0, 1-0) — for the second straight week in the Missouri Valley Football Conference. The third-ranked Penguins have won all five games at the DakotaDome, including 31-3 in 2015.

— Mark Znidar