Stadium: Glass Bowl (26,248)
2008 Record: 3-9 (included victory over TSUN); 2009 Record: 1-1
Head Coach: Tim Beckman (1st year at UT, 1-1)...former CB coach at OSU
Letterman Returning: 57 (7 lost)
Returning Starters: Offense - 9, Defense - 7, Specialists - 2
Base Defense: 4-2-5
Base Offense: Ace (3 WR)
Returning Stars: RB Morgan Williams; DB Barry Church
- Christi Paul, CNN Headline News Anchor
- Chester Taylor, NFL Running Back
- Fredric J Baur, inventor of the Pringles can
- Philip Baker Hall, actor
Cheerleading Scouting Report:
The Rockets, under first year coach Tim Beckman, definitely caught the attention of college football fans when they put up 54 points on Colorado last week. Even in the loss the week prior to Purdue, Toledo showed its offensive firepower with 31 points. In fact, they have average a jaw dropping 558 yards per game after these two battles. The leader of this offensive explosion is senior quarterback Aaron Opelt, who already has 742 yards and seven touchdowns (371 avg. per game). Last year, in a slightly different offensive scheme, Opelt managed just 2176 yards with 12 touchdowns and seven interceptions. The other surprising thing that Opelt has revealed this season is a greater ability to run. He did have 42 attempts last season, but ended the season with -44 yards and five touchdowns. This season though, he already has 132 yards with two touchdowns, averaging 11 yards a carry.
The Rockets are also proving that they have several solid options for Opelt to throw to. The main star thus far has been freshmen Eric Page, who has 266 yards and two touchdowns. Page isn't big (5-10 165) but is proving to be a big play receiver, and had a 70 yard touchdown grab against Colorado. His counterpart, senior Stephen Williams, makes up for Page's size at 6-5 200 pounds. He was the leading receiver for Toledo a season ago (781 yards and 8 TD), and has 15 catches for 185 yards and two touchdowns so far. Also get ready to watch for WR Kenny Stafford, TE Danny Noble, and WR Robin Bailey.
On top of all of that, the Rockets return what should be the top running attack in the MAC. The big news is that Morgan Williams, the leading rusher from a year ago, is off his two game suspension and expected to play. Williams set a freshmen rushing record with 1,010 yards in 2008, and has draftable skills. The Rockets will start senior DaJuane Collins though, who has 187 yards and two touchdowns in the first two games (6.4 avg). What also makes this running attack so deadly is that they run behind one of the best lines in the MAC. Tim Beckman luckily only lost one offensive linemen in the entire two deep, so this is a big strength.
Now, the defense has not been near as impressive through two games, in fact they have been pretty awful. They have averaged giving up 45 points and 493 yards per game. What even hurts them more is that they have been hurt through both the air and on the ground. The only guy that really gets much of the spotlight on this unit is safety (ROV) Barry Church. So far he leads the team with 14 tackles and one interception. He needs to be big because the Rockets start three freshmen in the secondary, which is one of the main reasons they have been gashed. The defensive line and linebackers are much more experienced, starting all upperclassmen. Even though they are more experienced, they have struggled as well. The two guys that have been solid are linebackers Archie Donald and Beau Brudzinski. Both have good size, and have shown toughness against the run.
The big question coming into this game is how the Buckeyes will respond after the loss to USC. It could go either way. The team will either come out wanting to destroy every moving object or they could experience a letdown. Based on Tressel's comments the first option seems the most realistic. The defense faces a tough task regardless, even though they showed their toughness a week ago. USC, a run oriented offense, played right into the strength of Jim Heacock's scheme, but Beckman and the Rockets will not do so. They will look to pass first, and will spread the Buckeye defense out into three and four wide receiver sets (yet another type of offensive scheme for the D to see). So, expect the defense to struggle with this at times, especially early on. It seems highly unlikely that the Rockets will run the ball with any form of consistency, but will probably thrive throwing the ball underneath. In many ways, this game could look very similar to playing the Northwestern teams of recent years.
On the other side of the ball, expect the Buckeye offense to get back in sync. Not only should the the offensive line be able to open holes for Boom and Zoom, but the very young Toledo secondary should give Pryor plenty of opportunities to establish his confidence yet again. The starting corners are 5-9 and 5-10, so the size of Posey and Carter should overwhelm them. On top of that, Tressel will probably look to involve the backs and tight ends like against Navy. It would surprising if Tressel doesn't try to make a statement offensively, even though he typically shows mercy to in-state opponents.
Overall, the Buckeyes will probably come out a little hung over in this game from a week ago. They also are playing this game in Cleveland, so the team will not have the comfort of being in Ohio Stadium. Toledo will move the ball in this game, and will put up points early if the defense if sleep walking. If the Buckeyes stay aggressive and keep after Opelt though, their speed and size should create plays. Toledo has also been a turnover happy team thus far, and it seems likely that continues come Saturday. Pryor will be in rhythm with Posey once again, and Carter will have his breakout game against the Rockets. Boom and Zoom will be solid, but the Buckeyes will fill out the box score so much that neither one of these guys will break the 100 yard mark. When the dust settles there should be lots of points, which will give the offense some mojo once again...
Father vs. Son Prediction Battle:
Dave: OSU 38-17
Drew: OSU 42-20