2022 Toledo Rockets Preview

by Matt Fargo

Toledo Rockets

2021-22 Season Record 7-6 (5-3 MAC West) - 8-5-0 ATS - 7-6-0 O/U

Returning Starters

Offense - 7
Defense - 8

Overview

The Rockets have been a mainstay at the top of the MAC for years now as they come into 2022 without having a losing season since 2009 which was the fourth straight that eventually cost former head coach Tom Amstutz his job after a great start to his time with Toledo. Tim Beckman and Matt Campbell kept the winning going before they headed off to bigger schools and both left the program in great shape. Toledo returned all 11 starters last season on both sides of the ball and snuck out a winning record at 7-6 but five of those losses were by just one possession. The Rockets have had a winning pedigree for years now and that will continue again this season with 15 starters back and a returning production ranking of No. 38. Head coach Jason Candle is in his seventh season and this is his most important as he has done fine of late but has not taken them to where they expect to be.

Offense

Despite having all 11 starters back last season, the offense slipped a little bit from 2020 as its yardage decreased by 57 ypg but it was still solid enough to finish No. 38 in total offense and No. 24 in scoring offense and Toledo should be able keep the unit rolling with some great experience coming back. Quarterback Dequan Finn led the offense and while his numbers were not eye-popping, he was very efficient as he threw for 2,067 yards with 18 touchdowns and only two interceptions and his one drawback is the accuracy as he hit below 60 percent of his passes. Two of his top three receivers transferred out leaving Devon Maddox as his go to threat after leading the team with 567 yards while hauling in four touchdowns. Leading rusher Bryant Koback is gone to the NFL and Jacquez Stuart and Micah Kelly will handle the load behind an offensive line with three starters returning.

Defense

The defense is coming off its best season in three years as the Rockets finished No. 32 in total defense and No. 27 in scoring defense and are loaded with eight starters back this season. This is one of the top linebacking corps in the MAC with Jamal Hines and Dyontae Johnson combining for 174 tackles and 11.5 sacks and they will continue to bring the pressure. The rushing defense was not great as the Rockets allowed 151.3 ypg which was No. 64 in the country and the defensive line needs to shore that up. The front is led by end Desjuan Johnson who had 70 tackles and 4.5 sacks with a pair of forced fumbles and the rest of the unit will have to pick it up including tackle Judge Culpepper who had 43 tackles and three sacks and should be a force. The secondary is led by safeties Maxen Hook and Nate Bauer who combined for 151 tackles to go along with a great corner combo.

2022 Season Outlook

Toledo has been the most consistent team in the MAC spanning the last 12 years as other top teams have scaled back some here and there but the Rockets have had just enough to sustain its success. The coaching hires have been great and the goal is to get back to the MAC Championship for the first time since 2017 and win a bowl game for the first time since 2015, which was the first game here for Candle, and the pieces are in place on both sides to accomplish this. The nonconference schedule is good and bad as they host Long Island and Massachusetts to open but then travel to Ohio St. and San Diego St. The MAC schedule is in their favor and their two toughest games are the first two against Central Michigan and Northern Illinois, both of which should come down a notch this season. The O/U win total is set at 8 and this one should be an easy over as the MAC road games are all gettable. 

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

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