#69 Toledo Football Preview

Toledo Rockets

Overall Rank: #69
#2 MAC

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Toledo Team Page

2010 Record: (8-5, 7-1)
2010 Bowl: Little Caesars Bowl vs. Florida International (34-32 L)
Coach: Tim Beckman (13-12 at Toledo, 13-12 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Matt Campbell
Defensive Coordinator: Paul Nichols and Mike Ward

Returning Leaders:
Rushing: Adonis Thomas, RB, 1,098 yards
Passing: Austin Dantin, QB, 1,254 yards
Receiving: Eric Page, WR, 1,105 yards
Tackles: Dan Molls, LB, 143
Sacks: Malcolm Riley, DT, 5.5
Interceptions: Two players with three each

Other Key Returnees: LT Mike VanderMullen, LG Phillipkeith Manley, TE, Danny Noble, WR Kenny Stafford, DT Johnnie Roberts, LB, Isaiah Ballard, CB Desmond Morrow

Key Losses: C Kevin Kowalski, RG Nate Cole, DE Alex Johnson, LB Archie Donald, RB Dajuane Collins

Toledo comes into 2011 with still plenty to prove.  While winning eight games in 2010 was excellent, Coach Tim Beckman has higher expectations for his squad starting with a securing a spot in the MAC Conference Championship game in December and getting back to a bowl game. The offense that was rolling at the end of the season will be counted on heavily to accomplish those goals.

The wide receiver corps is loaded with Eric Page, who caught 99 passes for 1,105 yards last season, Kenny Stafford, and Illinois transfer Cordale Scott, who figures to be in the mix to make a significant impact as well. Also, the running game appears to be very strong with the return of Adonis Thomas who rushed for 1,133 yards in 2010 along with eight touchdowns. Moreover, at quarterback Austin Dantin and Terrance Owens provide a dual threat capability for the Rockets offense that should provide a lot of flexibility in how they attack opposing defenses. The Rockets will also be dangerous on special teams as Eric Page returned three kicks for touchdowns in 2010 giving Toledo very valuable points and field position with great returns overall.

The secondary struggled against the pass during the 2010 season. They gave up 231.3 yards per contest ending up 12th in the MAC overall. Getting more consistent passing from the quarterback position will be very important. Getting held to two points by Arizona in week one definitely put the Rockets behind the eight ball statistically and took them awhile to recover…which they finally did by mid-season. The kicking game is a big question mark coming into 2011. The Rockets missed several field goals in critical situations that, if successful, could have given Toledo a ten-win season and probably a MAC Championship. Finally, the offensive line will need to find a new anchor to offset the graduation and leadership of center Kevin Kowalski.

The Bottom Line:
The nonconference schedule is daunting, including a tricky home game against FCS power New Hampshire and a battle against Boise State at home to go along with road trips to Ohio State and Syracuse. This slate should very nicely prepare the Rockets for MAC conference play in their quest to win the MAC West Division. Thanks to an experienced offensive line and versatile quarterback play, the offense should build on their finish last season and average well over 30 points. Defensively, the Rockets will look to build on their ability to create turnovers, as they led the MAC in turnover margin, and try to create many extra short field situations for the Toledo offense. Coach Tim Beckman should have his squad in contention all the way to the end for a berth in the MAC Championship game in Detroit in December.

Projected Bowl:  Little Caesars Bowl

2010 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 167.4 (43rd in nation, 3rd in conference)
Passing Offense: 198.0 (77, 6)
Total Offense: 365.4 (74, 4)
Scoring Offense: 27.9 (54, 3)
Rushing Defense: 133.5 (36, 5)
Pass Defense: 231.3 (86, 12)
Total Defense: 364.8 (56, 7)
Scoring Defense: 28.5 (73, 9)
Turnover Margin: 0.85 (15, 1)
Sacks: 2.23 (42, 4)
Sacks Allowed: 1.69 (50, 4)

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