2014 Toledo Rockets Team Preview
Head Coach: Matt Campbell
2013 Record: 7-5 overall, 5-3 MAC West
2013 Bowl Result: None
2013 Returning Starters: 7 offense, 9 defense
Odds to win 2015 College Football Championship Game: field 30-1
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Last year, the Toledo Rockets went 7-5 under first year coach Matt Campbell. The Rockets had a very difficult non-conference schedule that included Florida, Michigan, Navy and FCS powerhouse Eastern Washington. Toledo went 2-2 in those games with wins over Navy and Eastern Washington. The Rockets upset eventual MAC Champion Bowling Green They would also lose to Ball State, Northern Illinois and Akron. Despite winning seven games Toledo was not selected to a bowl game.
Sixteen starters are back for Campbell and the Rockets. Toledo is expected to contend for the MAC West Division title with Northern Illinois and Ball State.
Seven starters return on offense for coordinator Jason Candle. The Rockets were #14 nationally in rushing at 241 yards per game. Toledo averaged 207 passing yards per game. The Rockets scored 33 points a game last year.
Quarterback Terrance Owens has graduated. Last year he threw for 2,230 yards with 18 touchdowns and 9 interceptions, and also added 2 rushing touchdowns. Logan Woodside is the likely starter at quarterback and he played in four games last year. He threw for 240 yards and a touchdown. Alabama transfer Phillip Ely and sophomore Michael Julian could also be in the mix for the starter, but neither has any college game experience.
Running back David Fluellen is now with the Philadelphia Eagles. He rushed for over 1,100 yards and 10 touchdowns, and had 27 catches for 222 yards. Kareem Hunt will take over as the feature back after he had 137 carries for 866 yards and 6 touchdowns, and also had 12 catches. Sophomore Damion Jones-Moore rushed for 267 yards on 36 carries with 5 touchdowns. Mark Remy will also get some carries.
Leading receiver Bernard Reedy is now with the Atlanta Falcons. He had 62 catches for 840 yards and 8 touchdowns. Alonzo Russell is back and he had 59 catches for 728 yards and 6 touchdowns. Dwight Macon and Justin Olack will also get more catches after combining for 33 catches and 4 touchdowns last year. Kishon Wilcher could be a deep threat with his explosive speed.
Toledo arguably has the best offensive line in the MAC but Northern Illinois is close. Four starters are back including, All-MAC guard Greg Mancz, guard Jeff Myers, and tackles Josh Hendershot and Chase Nelson. The unit allowed only six sacks last season.
Toledo allowed 422 yards per game on defense last year and allowed 29 points per game. Nine starters are back for coordinator John Heacock, including six all-conference performers.
The Rockets recorded 34 sacks last season. Toledo should be very deep in the front seven with at least 12 quality players. Treyvon Hester was all-conference last season at tackle. He returns along with ends Ray Bush and Allen Covington. JUCO transfer Tre James willa lso see time in the rotation.
Senior Junior Sylvestre anchors a strong linebacking corps. Trent Voss and Chase Murdock, both juniors are also back.
The secondary is also deep with nine talented players. Cheatham Norrils and Cameron Cole should start at the corners. Sophomore Jordan Martin could also see a lot of time at corner. Jordan Haden should be the best safety.
Kicker Jeremiah Detmer has hit 36 of his last 37 field goals. Nick Ellis is the new punter in place of Vince Penza. Wilcher should be an excellent return man with his speed.
Schedule / Outlook
Toledo again has a tough non-conference schedule starting with a home game against a quality FCS school New Hampshire. The Rockets also host Missouri, and travel to Cincinnati and Iowa State. In conference, Toledo hosts Ball State, Central Michigan, Massachusetts and Bowling Green. The Rockets travel to Western Michigan, Kent State, Northern Illinois and Eastern Michigan. In their last 32 MAC games, Toledo has gone 25-7 with six of those losses coming to Northern Illinois and Ball State. The Rockets have lost four straight games to NIU. They will have to beat both Ball State and NIU if they want to win the MAC West title. I think anything more than 9 wins will be difficult to achieve.
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