The Toledo Test

Tomorrow the Toledo Rockets land in Ohio Stadium for a noon game.  They are expected to give the Buckeyes a much tougher test than did the Akron Zips.

Toledo has a strong record of knocking off teams from the power conferences.  Big Ten fans will remember that Toledo has beaten Michigan, Penn State, Minnesota, and Purdue in recent years, and the Rockets also have toppled Colorado, Kansas, and Cincinnati.  The Rockets have a quick, multi-faceted offense that can put points on the board.  Their quarterbacks, Austin Dantin and Terrance Owens, both provide a pass or run option.  They have a solid running back in Adonis Thomas, and a corps of receivers led by Eric Page, who caught 99 passes last year — 99! — and Bernard Reedy, who had two touchdown catches last week.  Tomorrow’s game will be a challenge for the Buckeyes’ defense.

Toledo’s defense features several good players, but it is hard to know how good the Rockets are on the defensive side of the ball.  Toledo gave up 22 points last week when they pounded New Hampshire, 58-22, but two of the opponent’s scores came when the game was out of reach.  The Buckeyes offensive unit no doubt will present much tougher matchups and more physical play.  On the other hand, many of the Ohio State offensive players are young and inexperienced, and haven’t yet been asked to come through at crunch time.  If Toledo could get a lead, the game could be very interesting.

Tomorrow Ohio State will need to focus on the job at hand and avoid looking ahead to next week’s road test against the Miami Hurricanes.  Of course, Toledo also will need to avoid looking ahead — next week they play Boise State, ranked no. 4 in the country.

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