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Toledo Rockets Football Preview
by Matt Fargo - 08/11/2008
No. 102 Toledo Rockets
2007 Record ~ 5-7 SU ~ 4-7 ATS
Starters Returning ~ Offense (6) Defense (8)
It has been a rough couple years to be a Toledo fan, student or alum. After averaging over nine wins per year from 2000-2005, the Rockets have put up just five wins in each of the last two seasons. While the program certainly is not falling into the abyss of the MAC, it is time to turn things around before really bad things do happen. Head coach Tom Amstutz is entering his eighth season as the sideline general and while he is not in the hot seat, there is some uneasiness as to where the Rockets are heading.
Toledo has always been known for its potent offense and ability to simply outscore the opposition. Two seasons ago, that dropped off considerably as the Rockets averaged only 23.4 ppg, which was 12.4 ppg fewer than the season before. Lack of experience at quarterback was the main factor for the decline but now signal caller Aaron Opelt has the experience and if finally healthy once again. The offense rebounded to finish 20th in the nation overall last year so things could improve even more.
While the offense got things going again last season, it was the defense that could not keep opposing teams off the scoreboard. Toledo finished a dreadful 116th in scoring defense, allowing 39.2 ppg which was up by close to 12 ppg from the previous campaign. Injuries hurt the unit a season ago but with eight starters back along with former starters who missed last season altogether, the situation is not as dire. The key this season is stopping the run as the Rockets allowed a whopping 214.9 ypg, 112th in the country.
One thing that could hold Toledo back is the schedule. The Rockets have a tough non-conference slate with games at Arizona and Michigan as well as a home game against Fresno St. The MAC schedule is usually pretty adequate but this season it will be a challenge. The Rockets get the two top teams out of the East while three of their five games within their division are on the road. Toledo has not has a winning ATS season in three years as it remained a public team and that likely wonâ€™t change this year.