2008 Toledo Rockets
Bowling Green 38 … Toledo 10
Bowling Green ended the Tom Amstutz era at Toledo with a thud as Tyrone Pronty caught a 17-yard touchdown pass and Andrew Beam ran for a five-yard score on the way to a 17-0 early lead, and held a 31-3 lead going into the fourth. Tyler Sheehan finished with three touchdown passes, and Willie Geter tore off a 70 yard scoring run. Toledo finally got on the board midway through the fourth on a two-yard Aaron Opelt run.
Player of the game: Bowling Green RB Willie Geter ran 12 times for 150 yards and a touchdown and caught a pass for nine yards
Stat Leaders: Toledo - Passing: Aaron Opelt, 7-20, 67 yds, 2 INT
Rushing: Morgan Williams, 21-153. Receiving: Stephen Williams, 2-45
Bowling Green - Passing: Tyler Sheehan, 20-33, 241 yds, 3 TD, 1 INT
Rushing: Willie Geter, 12-150, 1 TD. Receiving: Corey Partridge, 5-44, 1 TD
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... And that ends that. The team had its big moment last week in a blowout win over Miami University, and then it didn't show up for the home finale, and the end of Tom Amstutz's Toledo coaching career, with the clunker against Bowling Green. From the lack of a defensive stop in a key moment to nothing coming from the passing game, this lousy overall performance epitomized the ugliness of the season. There are pieces here to work with, but the first step going forward will be to step up the defensive line. Toledo has to get more from the front four than it did throughout this year.
Aug. 30 OPEN DATE
Sept. 1 Purdue L 52-24
Toledo 42 ... Miami Univ. 14
Toledo jumped out to a 21-0 lead highlighted by Morgan Williams runs from eight and 86 yards, on his way to 330 yards, but MU was able to get close going into the fourth quarter on Chris Givens touchdown catches from two and 30 yards out. Williams put the game away on a 14-yard dash in the fourth, and Adonis Thomas made it a blowout with a ten-yard scoring dash. Toledo outgained MU 516 yards to 271.
Player of the game: Toledo RB Morgan Williams ran 28 times for 330 yards and three touchdowns
Stat Leaders: Toledo - Passing: Aaron Opelt, 14-26, 139 yds
Rushing: Morgan Williams, 28-230, 3 TD. Receiving: Nick Moore, 9-92
Miami Univ. - Passing: Daniel Raudabaugh, 29-46, 196 yds, 2 TD, 2 INT
Rushing: J.R. Taylor, 21-68. Receiving: Chris Givens, 9-85, 2 TD
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... After losing four straight games as part of a dismal season, Toledo showed how the team was supposed to be throughout the season as it ripped apart Miami University with Morgan Williams and the running game. Williams was unbelievable, ripping off huge run after huge run on the was to his 330-yard day. The defense was active, forcing four turnovers, and shutting down the RedHawk offense in key spots. The Tom Amstutz era has been too good to end with a whimper, and it could come up with a nice spoiler win next week against Bowling Green to ruin the Falcons' hopes to go 6-6 and to a bowl.
Western Michigan 27 …Toledo 17
Western Michigan got three touchdown passes from Tim Hiller including two in a 20-point run in the second and third quarters, but the Broncos didn't put it away until Matt Stevens caught a 10-yard touchdown pass in the fourth. Toledo scored first on a 27-yard Stephen Williams catch, but that was the only touchdown until a one-yard Aaron Opelt run in the final minutes. Toledo converted 4-of-5 fourth down chances.
Player of the game: Western Michigan S E.J. Biggers made 10 tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss, broke up two passes, and forced a fumble
Stat Leaders: Toledo - Passing: Aaron Opelt, 18-31, 213 yds, 1 TD, 1 INT
Rushing: Morgan Williams, 16-83. Receiving: Nick Moore, 10-97
Western Michigan - Passing: Tim Hiller, 22-36, 225 yds, 3 TD, 1 TD
Rushing: Aaron Winchester, 28-111. Receiving: Jamarko Simmons, 8-96
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... The dismal season continues for Toledo with two games to go. The Rockets were able to keep up with Western Michigan playing a relatively dead-even game, but they couldn't get the third down plays needed to keep the offense moving. The firepower just isn't there to keep up with the better teams. Now the team needs to try to come up with some sort of motivation with Miami and Bowling Green to close out. It's time to start getting creative and to start bombing away; the running game simply isn't working.
Akron 47 … Toledo 30
Akron got out to a hot start scoring 21 first quarter points helped by a blocked punt return for a score and two Chris Jacquemain touchdown passes. Toledo pushed its way back into the game with an Aaron Opelt six-yard touchdown run and a 22-yard pass to Kenny Stafford, and then pulled within three on an eight-yard pass to Stephen Williams late in the third. Dennis Kennedy and the Akron running game took over as the Zips cranked out 21-straight points, highlighted by a 33-yard Andrew Johnson touchdown run, to put the game away.
Player of the game: Akron RB Dennis Kennedy ran 30 times for 153 yards and a touchdown, and he caught two passes for 33 yards.
Stat Leaders: Toledo - Passing: Aaron Opelt, 23-35, 277 yds, 3 TD, 1 INT
Rushing: DaJuane Collins, 14-51. Receiving: Stephen Williams, 10-136, 2 TD
Akron - Passing: Chris Jacquemain, 16-23, 226 yds, 3 TD, 1INT
Rushing: Dennis Kennedy, 30-153, 1 TD. Receiving: Deryn Bowser, 7-71
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... The Rockets showed decent heart after getting down big early against Akron, but they didn't show the ability to capitalize on the momentum once it swung its way. Toledo isn't getting the running game it needs to, having problems powering the ball on the quirky Zip defensive front, and while Aaron Opelt played well, he couldn't carry the O. Now that the Tom Amstutz era is coming to a close, and the Rockets are assured of a losing season, it's going to be a tough final three weeks starting with the trip to Western Michigan.
Central Michigan 24 … Toledo 23
Ontario Sneed's one-yard touchdown run early in the fourth quarter tied it, the extra point won it as the defense held tough the rest of the way. Toledo saw three good drives end in Alex Steigerwald field goals, but it got in the end zone in the second quarter on a five-yard DaJuane Collins run and in the third on a 35-yard Nick Moore catch. But CMU got two Bryan Anderson touchdown catches from 21 and 22 yards out to keep pace before the game-winning drive in the fourth.
Player of the game: Central Michigan QB Dan LeFevour completed 24-of-31 passes for 242 yards and two touchdowns, and he ran nine times for 25 yards.
Stat Leaders: Toledo - Passing: Aaron Opelt, 16-26, 216 yds, 1 TD
Rushing: DaJuane Collins, 19-94, 1 TD. Receiving: Nick Moore, 7-105, 1 TD
Central Michigan - Passing: Dan LeFevour, 24-31, 242 yds, 2 TD
Rushing: Ontario Sneed, 18-72, 1 TD. Receiving: Antonio Brown, 10-85
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... Outside of the bizarre upset win over Michigan, the Rockets have been on an awful run losing five of their last six games. However, they played well in the loss to Central Michigan; they just couldn't get the offense moving late. Hope for a winning season is gone, but if the offense plays as well and is as balanced as it was against CMU, it has a shot against Western Michigan. Defensively, coming up with a few third down stops is a must.
Northern Illinois 38 … Toledo 7
Chandler Harnish was back and healthy from an injured foot to throw three touchdown passes including two to Marcus Perez from 45 and 15 yards out. Chad Spann ran for two first half touchdowns to help NIU to get out to a 21-0 lead, but Toledo would try to make a run early in the second half with a 21-yard Morgan Williams run. But that was it for a sloppy Rocket team that struggled in pas protection and turned it over three times.
Player of the game: Chandler Harnish completed 12-of-16 passes for 173 yards and three touchdowns and ran eight times for 60 yards
Stat Leaders: Toledo - Passing: Aaron Opelt, 16-22, 138 yds
Rushing: Morgan Williams, 8-50, 1 TD. Receiving: Stephen Williams, 9-75
Northern Illinois - Passing: Chandler Harnish, 12-16, 173 yds, 3 TD
Rushing: Chad Spann, 15-82, 2 TD. Receiving: Marcus Perez, 3-68, 2 TD
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... The Michigan win didn't do anything to jump-start the Toledo season. The Rockets didn't get much of anything from the running game that gained just 80 yards against NIU, while the short passing game didn't get the offense going. The team is sloppy with 10 penalties for 85 yards and three turnovers turned out to be a killer. Now comes two-time defending MAC champion Central Michigan.
Toledo 13 … Michigan 10
Kevin Lopata missed a 26-yard field goal in the final seconds as Michigan lost for the first time to a MAC team. The Wolverine defense held the Toledo offense to two Alex Stiegerwald field goals, with a 48-yarder bouncing off the crossbar and in, but the UM offense gained just 290 yards and lost three interceptions with Tyrell Herbert taking one 100 yards for a score. The Rocket offense netted gained just 257 passing yards, but Nick Moore got 162 of them on 20 catches. Michigan got its only touchdown on a 27-yard Brandon Minor catch and got a 26-yard Lopata field goal in the second quarter.
Player of the game: Toledo WR Nick Moore made 20 catches for 162 yards
Stat Leaders: Michigan - Passing: Nick Sheridan, 8-16, 65 yds, 2 INT
Rushing: Sam McGuffie, 25-105. Receiving: Sam McGuffie, 5-44
Toledo - Passing: Aaron Opelt, 33-50, 257 yds
Rushing: DaJuane Collins, 10-65. Receiving: Nick Moore, 20-162
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... The offense stunk, outside of a tremendous day from Nick Moore, there were no big offensive plays, and the seven penalties were too many, but the Rockets beat Michigan … who cares how it happened? With the season quickly sliding into the abyss and with nothing to get excited about after losses to FIU and Ball State, this could be the win that changes everything around with MAC play continuing against Northern Illinois next week. If the defense keeps playing well, the offense will come around.
Ball State 31 … Toledo 0
Ball State kept the unbeaten season rolling as Nate Davis ran for a one-yard score and MiQuale Lewis ran for two short scores in the easy win. Cory Sykes added a bit of flash with a 57-yard run in the fourth quarter to top things off. Toledo didn't have anything offensively with just 157 yards and 14 on the ground. Ball State had a near-perfect balance with 242 passing yards and 240 on the ground.
Player of the game: Ball State RB MiQuale Lewis ran 31 times for 157 yards and two touchdowns
Stat Leaders: Ball State - Passing: Nate Davis, 18-30, 242 yds
Rushing: MiQuale Lewis, 31-157, 2 TD. Receiving: Birggs Orsbon, 6-76
Toledo - Passing: Aaron Opelt, 21-31, 143, 1 INT
Rushing: Morgan Williams, 10-12. Receiving: Stephen Williams, 7-56
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... Ball State is good, but it's not 31-0, hold the Rocket running game to 14 yards good. It's too strong to suggest that the team has quit, but with an ugly start to the season and three straight losses, bottoming out last week with a blowout loss against Florida International, the Rockets were in trouble from the start against a pumped up Cardinal team. To make matters worse, this week's trip to Michigan starts a stretch of four road dates in the next five games.
FIU 35 … Toledo 16
Toledo appeared to be on its way to an easy with a 13-0 first quarter lead highlighted by a 31-yard Stephen Williams touchdown, but FIU got the running game going with Julian Reams running for three short scores and got a 37-yard T.Y. Hilton touchdown catch to outscore the Rockets 35-3 over the final three quarters. The Toledo running game was stuffed, gaining just 94 yards.
Player of the game: FIU RB Julian Reams ran 19 times for 75 yards and three touchdowns
Stat Leaders: FIU - Passing: Paul McCall, 6-13, 98 yds, 1 TD
Rushing: Julian Reams, 19-75, 3 TD. Receiving: T.Y. Hilton, 2-39, 1 TD
Toledo - Passing: Aaron Opelt, 26-45, 177 yds, 1 INT
Rushing: Morgan Williams, 25-98. Receiving: Nick Moore, 9-65
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... Total and utter disaster. As bad things might have started out for Toledo, to lose at home to one of the nation's worst teams, FIU, could be one of the lowest points in the program's history. The passing game couldn't make up for the lack of a running game, even though Morgan Williams motored for 98 yards. Aaron Opelt didn't get any big pass plays after a first quarter touchdown pass and the defense didn't come up with a needed stop in the second half. Three points over the final three quarters against the FIU defense is inexcusable.
Fresno State 55 … Toledo 54 2OT
Toledo gambled and lost. After answering a one-yard touchdown run from Fresno State QB Tom Brandstater with a three-yard John Allen touchdown catch in the second overtime, Toledo decided to go for two rather than force a third overtime by kicking the extra point. The pass was broken up, and Fresno State escaped. The Rockets rolled up 598 yards of total offense to Fresno State's 420, but Brandstater kept the Bulldogs ahead with four touchdown passes including a 38-yarder to Marlon Moore to go up 10 with just over 10 minutes to play. But Toledo roared back with a 44-yard Stephen Williams touchdown catch with 3:07 to go, and forced overtime with a 33-yard Alex Steigerwald kick that set the MAC record for the most consecutive field goals made with 20. The two teams traded touchdowns in the first overtime.
Player of the game: Fresno State QB Tom Brandstater completed 22-of-28 passes for 231 yards and four touchdowns, and he ran for a score.
Stat Leaders: Toledo - Passing: Aaron Opelt, 22-41, 265 yds, 3 TD
Rushing: Morgan Williams, 23-142 1 TD. Receiving: John Allen, 8-93, 1 TD
Fresno State - Passing: Tom Brandstater, 22-28, 231 yds, 4 TD
Rushing: Ryan Mathews, 18-87. Receiving: Marlon Moore, 5-79, 1 TD
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... Yeah, Toledo lost to Fresno State, but the offense worked. The defense will need some tweaking and Aaron Opelt could stand to be more accurate, but the running game is working in a big way. Now secondary has to start being tighter. There's too much talent in the Rocket defensive backfield to be giving up 220 yards per game. Handling FIU won't be a problem, but the defense has to be ready for the MAC showdown against Ball State in two weeks.
Toledo 41 … Eastern Michigan 17
In lousy playing conditions, Toledo's rushing offense controlled the game with 233 yards. DaJuane Collins ran for two touchdown runs in the first quarter and Stephen Williams caught scoring passes from 29 and 11 yards out in the third quarter. Down 41-7, Eastern Michigan managed 10 fourth quarter points with Terrence Blevins getting his second short touchdown run of the game.
Player of the game: Toledo RB DaJuane Collins ran for 168 yards and two touchdowns on 19 carries.
Stat Leaders: Toledo - Passing: Aaron Opelt, 8-18, 114 yds, 3 TDs, 1 INT
Rushing: DaJuane Collins, 19-168, 2 TDs. Receiving: Stephen Williams, 3-48, 2 TDs
Eastern Michigan - Passing: Kyle McMahon, 11-18, 128 yds, 1 INT
Rushing: Dwayne Priest, 13-80. Receiving: Jacory Stone, 5-72
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... Toledo finally got rolling, at least a little bit. The Eastern Michigan game showed off the running game and the aggressive defense, while Aaron Opelt threw three touchdown passes, even if he didn't throw for too many yards. Averaging 6.5 yards per carry, compared to EMU's 2.9 yards, Toledo did what it wanted to control the game from the start.
Arizona 41 ... Toledo 16
Nicholas Grigsby ran for three first half touchdowns and Willie Tuitama threw two fourth quarter touchdown passes as Arizona was never threatened. Toledo only got three Alex Steigerwald field goals until midway through the fourth quarter when Aaron Opelt connected with Stephen Williams for a three-yard touchdown. The Wildcats outgained the Rockets 452 yards to 244.
Player of the game: Arizona RB Nicholas Grigsby ran 20 times for 135 yards and three touchdowns
Stat Leaders: Toledo - Passing: Aaron Opelt, 21-31, 170 yds, 1 TD
Rushing: DaJuane Collins, 10-54. Receiving: Stephen Williams, 12-67, 1 TD
Arizona - Passing: Willie Tuitama, 25-33, 292 yds, 2 TD
Rushing: Nicholas Grigsby, 20-135, 3 TD. Receiving: Mike Thomas, 9-138, 1 TD
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... Considering Toledo had an extra week to work and game film on the Arizona win over Toledo, the offense didn't have any wrinkles or explosion. Aaron Opelt didn't do much for a passing game that's supposed to be able to put up big numbers on everyone, while the running game didn't establish itself. The hope has to be for this to be a week one tune-up and the real Rocket attack will show up against Eastern Michigan next week in the MAC opener.
2008 Recruiting Class
Star of the Class
Sam Gaymon, WR, 6-3, 200, Redford, MI-Detroit Renaissance: Gaymon made the Detroit News first-team all-city team as a senior captain, catching 25 passes for 517 yards and eight TDs. A three-star recruit by Scout.com, Gaymon was ranked No. 49 on the Detroit Free Press' Fab 50 list, the No. 12 player in Michigan by Scout.com. As a junior, he made honorable mention all-city with 18 receptions for 310 yards and three scores. He is also the team captain of the basketball team.
Potential Instant Impact Players
Albertson Alexandre, DL, 6-5, 240, Miami, FL-North Miami / Foothill (CA) Community College
Alexandre had 25 tackles for loss and 15 sacks in his freshman season at Foothill C.C. He was a first-team junior college All-American as a defensive end and was named the defensive player of the year in the Nor-Cal Conference, as well as being named to the All-California J.C. team. He has three years of eligibility remaining.
Alex Pettee, QB, 6-2, 200, Santa Clarita, CA-Hart / Pierce (CA) Community College
As a freshman at Pierce Community College, Pettee completed 200-of-366 passes for 2,196 yards and 21 touchdowns. He also rushed for 405 yards. He was the leading passer in the Western State Conference and was named the conference's offensive player of the year. He also earned honorable mention JC All-America honors and was a first-team JC Academic All-American. As a senior in high school, Pettee completed 182-of-339 passes for 2,763 yards and 20 touchdowns and earned All-Foothill League honors. Pettee is an excellent student, graduating from high school with a 4.2 grade point average. Both of his parents are UT graduates. Pettee will have three years of eligibility at UT.
Rest of the Class
Alexandre, Albertson DL 6-5 240 So. Miami, FL-North Miami / Foothill (CA) C.C.
Anderson, Terrell OLB 6-1 204 Fr. Penn Hills, PA-Pittsburgh Central Catholic
Ashwood, Andreas DB 6-1 190 Fr. Hillsborough, FL - Hillsborough
Ballard, Isaiah DB 5-11 190 Fr. Toledo, OH-Rogers
Farha, Fadi OL 6-4 290 Fr. Ypsilanti, MI-Ann Arbor Pioneer Farr, Danny OL 6-5 285 Fr. Evanston, IL-Evanston Township
Gaymon, Sam WR 6-3 200 Fr. Redford, MI-Detroit Renaissance
Houston, Leroy WR/KR 5-11 180 Fr. Daytona Beach, FL Seabreeze
Keighley, Hank DL 6-4 230 Fr. Dayton, OH-Kettering Alter
Lamb, Johnathan DL 6-4 250 Fr. Southfield, MI-Southfield
Manley, Phillipkeith OL 6-5 295 Fr. Hamilton, OH-Hamilton
McIntosh, Damien LB 6-3 215 Fr. Hamilton, OH-Hamilton
Morookian, John OL 6-5 295 Fr. New Berlin, NY-Milford Academy
Pasquale, David QB 6-2 215 Fr. Cape Coral, FL-Cape Coral
Pettee, Alex QB 6-2 200 So. Santa Clarita, CA-Hart / Pierce (CA)C.C.
Quinn, Daris LB 6-1 220 Jr. Collinsville, IL-Collinsville / Joliet (IL)
Reeves, Darius RB 6-1 180 Fr. Columbus, OH-Gahanna Lincoln
Riley, Malcolm DL 6-3 250 Fr. Fort Wayne, IN-Snider
Robinson, Jermaine DB 6-3 195 Fr. Pittsburgh, PA-Brashear
Singer, Mark DB 6-1 195 Fr. Cinnaminson, NJ-Delran Holy Cross
Stafford, Kenny WR 6-4 185 Fr. Columbus, OH-St. Francis DeSales
Veal, Kenny DB 6-0 180 Fr. Hamilton, OH-Hamilton
Washington, Anthony DB 6-1 175 Fr. Fairborn, OH-Fairborn
2008 Early Lookahead
Why to get excited: The offense went nuclear at times last year and now three starters return on offense along with enough talent at the skill positions to lead the lead in yards again. The defense was a nightmare throughout, but at least it'll be experienced with eight starters returning along with All-MAC PK Alex Steigerwald. There are some huge personnel losses, but there's no reason the team can't rebound and be a MAC title contender.
Why to be grouchy: Those huge personnel losses. RB Jalen Parmele was the running game. OT John Greco will be an NFL starter for the next several years. OG David Perkins was a solid running mate with Greco on the left side. TE Chris Hopkins had a down year, but was still good. Again, the offense should be fine, but those are some huge hits. The defense doesn't just have to improve; it has to be night and day better after finishing near the bottom of the league in several categories.
The number one thing to work on is: Getting into the backfield. There's talent in the secondary, led by safety Barry Church, but they were sitting ducks with opposing quarterbacks getting five days to work. The Rockets were next to last in America in both sacks and tackles for loss, and unless someone comes from out of nowhere to start applying more pressure, it'll be more of the same next season.
Biggest offensive loss: RB Jalen Parmele
Biggest defensive loss: LB Greg Hay
Best returning offensive player: WR Stephen Williams, Jr.
Best returning defensive player: SS Barry Church, Jr.