Posted on: December 15, 2011 1:52 pm
Edited on: December 15, 2011 1:56 pm
Postedy by Tom Fornelli
TOLEDO WILL WIN IF: This game is going to be a very interesting matchup. In order for Toledo to come out on top they'll have to continue to do a lot of the things that they did all season, and that means put up a lot of points. Something that the Rockets should be able to do, even without Tim Beckman around. The Air Force defense isn't terrible, but it did give up nearly 28 points a game this season. Which means that Terrance Owens, Austin Dantin and Eric Page should find plenty of opportunity to make plays for the Rockets. Where the problems for Toledo may come is on the defensive side of the ball. The Rockets defense gave up 31 points a game this season and while the run defense was acceptable, it hasn't faced a rushing attack like Air Force. When you haven't faced an option offense it's hard to stop one because you're not quite sure what you're seeing right away. The good news for Toledo is they've had the extra time to prepare for it, but how well the Toledo defense executes on the field will play a big role in this contest.
AIR FORCE WILL WIN IF: The key for Air Force in this game is simple: keep Toledo out of the end zone. While Air Force's defense hasn't been terrible this season, it's also had some pretty bad games. There was a three week stretch against teams like San Diego State, Notre Dame and Boise State in which the Falcons gave up 45.67 points per game. Now, Toledo's offense is different than any of those three teams because it provides more of a running threat at quarterback, but it does have a lot of similar characteristics. So slowing Toledo down will not be easy, but it will be a must if Air Force wants to win. The Falcons should find success on offense running the ball, but not enough to where they can afford to get into a shootout.
X-FACTOR: Eric Page. Simply put, Eric Page is the most exciting player in this game. He's Toledo's biggest threat on offense and he finished the season with 112 catches for 1,123 yards and 10 touchdowns. The Air Force pass defense hasn't given up a lot of yards this season, but it does allow opposing quarterbacks to complete 61% of their passes, which means Page should find openings on short to intermediate routes and be a favorite target of both Dantin and Owens.
You can read our complete Military Bowl preview here.
Posted on: September 24, 2011 5:58 pm
Edited on: September 24, 2011 8:16 pm
Posted by Jerry Hinnen
UPDATE: The Big East issued this statement from the conference office Saturday evening.
PROVIDENCE, R.I. (Sept. 24, 2011) -- BIG EAST Conference coordinator of football officiating Terry McAulay has issued the following statement, with regard to a play in the fourth quarter of Saturday’s football game between Syracuse and Toledo.
"After studying the videos of the Syracuse extra point attempt at 2:07 of the fourth quarter, we have concluded that the ruling on the field that the kick passed between the uprights was incorrect, and that the replay official made an error in failing to reverse that ruling. In reviewing the video, we have determined that the angle from behind the kicking team shows conclusively that the ball passes outside the right upright.
Our review of the process determined that the replay official mistakenly focused his attention on the sideline angle, which proved to be distorted. We are confident that our officiating staff will learn from this situation in order to prevent a reoccurrence. "----------------------------------
One thing the 2011 season had been blessedly free of through its first three weeks was a major officiating controversy. So it's a shame that all good things do come to an end.
The scene: in a back-and-forth game against Toledo, Syracuse scores a touchdown with 2:07 remaining to go ahead 29-27 on the visiting Rockets. Ross Krautman lines up for the extra point. The kick is signaled good, but the call goes to the booth. And then this happens:
We'll offer a modicum of forgiveness for the official on the field, who at least has the excuse of the ball whizzing over his head at an high rate of speed. But this blogger doesn't believe he's ever seen a more glaring example of indisputable evidence than the ball remaining in view during the entire replay, which means that according to nothing less than the laws pf physics which govern the universe as we know it, there is no possible way the ball passed inside the left upright.
It would have been nice for the Rockets if this stunning display of incompetence hadn't affected the outcome. But of course the Rockets drove for a field goal on the final play of regulation--a field goal that should have given them a deserved 30-29 victory. Instead it only took them to overtime, where Austin Dantin threw an interception on the Rockets' first play of OT, dooming them to the 33-30 loss.
We want to give the officials the benefit of the doubt, we really do. But sometimes there's just nothing to say other than: this was a terrible, terrible mistake, and this result is terribly, terribly unfair to Toledo. A suspension or reprimand is no doubt coming for the replay official -- you did watch the video, right? -- but we doubt that's going to make the Rockets feel any better.
Posted on: December 16, 2010 10:49 am
Posted by Jerry Hinnen
Why You Should Watch: The easy answer is that if you want to wash down your day-after-Christmas leftovers with college football, the Golden Panthers of FIU and Rockets of Toledo are your only option. So you'll watch them in front of a three-quarters empty Ford Field and like it, buster. But given the dramatic steps forward taken by these two programs under their current coaches -- Mario Cristobal, in his fourth year and first bowl game at FIU, and Tim Beckman, in his second year in Toledo -- this is also a chance to say you saw them before they got hired away by some wealthier school.
Also: electric FIU receiver/returner/jack-of-all-trade
s T.Y. Hilton is, to use the technical term, totally sweet.
Keys to Victory for FIU: Statistically, the Panthers are one of those teams that do just about everything well rather than any one thing really well. They did finish first in the Sun Belt in rushing, total and scoring defense, though (and second in pass defense), boasting a senior first-team all-conference performer in the line (end Jarvis Wilson, team leader in both sacks and tackles-for-loss), linebackers (Toronto Smith) and secondary (corner Anthony Gaitor). And still, for all of that, it was the Panther offense that led the way to the Sun Belt title. Behind conference Player of the Year Hilton and his 1,094 yards-from-scrimmage, and the tailback tandem of Darriet Perry and Darrian Mallary (1,376 combined yards, Mallary 5.67 yards per-carry), FIU scored an average of 37.5 points in their six conference wins.
In a game that looks as even on paper as this one, big plays could prove the difference, and n players like Hilton, Mallary, and Wilson, they have the athletes that can make them. If they do, and quarterback Wesley Carroll can avoid making big plays for Toledo (he threw 13 interceptions this season), FIU should have the edge.
Keys to Victory for Toledo: Unlike the Panthers, there's no question on which side of the ball the Rockets' bread is buttered; there's a solid linebacking tandem here in senior Archie Donald and sophomore Dan Molls (267 combined tackles), but when you've finished seventh in the MAC in total defense, even with nonconference games factored out , defense is not your strength.
What is the Rockets' strength is a balanced offense that doesn't beat itself. With original starter Austin Dantin out with a separated shoulder (whether he'll be available for the bowl is unclear), freshman Terrance Owens took over down the stretch and led the Rockets to a 3-1 record with an 11-to-2 touchdown-to-interception ratio. Taking handoffs will be second-team All-MAC tailback Adonis Thomas, who totaled 905 yards and averaged an impressive 5.99 yards per attempt. But the unquestioned star of the Rocket attack is receiver Eric Page, named first team all-conference after racking up 1,081 yards and eight scores.
Page was also named the MAC Special Teams Player of the Year after returning three kickoffs for touchdowns. (Between Page and Hilton, you'll really want to watch kickoffs in this game.) His good work and the sticky fingers of the Rocket defense (their 19 interceptions tied for fifth in the country) could tilt the field position battle in Toledo's favor, and if they do, the Owens-Thomas-Page triplets are good enough to take advantage. They'll have to, to keep up with the yards and points the defense will likely concede.
The Little Caesar's Bowl is like: a fireworks show. Maybe Toledo vs. FIU looks about as interesting as a blank black sky, but with guys like Hilton and Page around and a defense as boom-or-bust as the turnover-dependent Rockets involved, if you watch long enough you're sure to see some thrilling explosions.
Posted on: September 25, 2010 4:04 pm
Posted by Adam Jacobi
A disastrous first half was too much for Purdue to overcome, and the Boilermakes dropped a home date with the Toledo Rockets, 31-20. The Boilermakers found themselves down 17-0 at halftime, with starting QB Robert Marve lost to a potentially serious knee injury. He was in sweats on the sideline in the second half with a knee immobilizer on. Marve will have medical tests later, and Purdue coach Danny Hope is .
Purdue did fight back over the course of the second half; the Boilermakers pushed to within 24-20 on a 22-yard chip shot by Carson Wiggs. But Toledo kick returner Eric Page took the ensuing kick into Purdue territory, and seven plays later, QB Austin Dantin plunged in for his second rushing touchdown of the day.
From there, Purdue couldn't answer; they drove into Toledo territory, but Robert Henry's pass was intercepted -- or really, just plain taken away from the receiver's grasp -- by Rockets LB Archie Donald. Though Toledo scored no points off Donald's long return, the resulting possession took plenty of time off the clock, and a fumble by Henry sealed Purdue's fate.
At this point, Purdue must only hope that Marve isn't lost for the year and that a foot or ankle injury to Justin Siller isn't serious. Purdue can't afford to lose any more offensive firepower if they want to make any noise at all in the Big Ten.
Posted on: September 25, 2010 2:34 pm
Edited on: September 25, 2010 3:14 pm
Posted by Adam Jacobi
[Update, 2:46 p.m.: Purdue kicker Carson Wiggs missed his second field goal of the game. Toledo takes over at their own 21 holding a 24-17 lead.]
[Update, 2:58 p.m.: Following a Toledo turnover, Wiggs was given a chip shot from 22, and he made it. The score is now 24-20 Toledo with 8:12 left on the clock.]
[Update, 3:12 p.m.: Toledo nearly took the ensuing kick to the house, and they scored a touchdown on a QB sneak shortly thereafter. Toledo leads 31-20, and Purdue needs two quick scores in response.]
[Update, 3:14 p.m.: AAAAAAND INTERCEPTION TOLEDO. 2 minutes and counting. Game over.]
The third quarter of Toledo-Purdue has been full of offensive fireworks thus far, and the Boilermakers may be working their way back into this game. Purdue kicked a field goal on their opening drive of the second half, then traded long TDs with the Rockets. The critical play, however, may be when Toledo QB Austin Dantin fumbled while being sacked by Purdue CB Josh Johnson on Toledo's ensuing possession; Purdue recovered and charged down the field to cut the lead to 24-17.
Purdue's comeback has also been spurred by the play of Purdue's backup QB, Rob Henry. Henry's in for Robert Marve, who's still out with a potentially serious knee injury. During his halftime interview, Purdue coach Danny Hope speculated that Marve's injury is serious, and Marve is in sweats on Purdue's sideline. He's definitely done for the day.
Now Toledo, who had been controlling the ballgame, must defend a suddenly precarious 7-point lead. Their first step since then -- going three and out -- isn't promising.
Posted on: September 25, 2010 1:09 pm
Edited on: September 25, 2010 1:11 pm
Posted by Adam Jacobi
[Update, 1:09 p.m.: Make it 17-0; Toledo just hit a 34-yard field goal. There's under 5 minutes left in the first half.]
The Big Ten is facing a slate full of cupcakes this week: they're playing literally zero teams in BCS conferences, feasting on FCS schools and MACrifices. 11-0 for the conference this week, right?
Actually, nobody told Toledo and Purdue about the automatic win waiting for the Boilermakers. Toledo's beating Purdue 14-0 early in the second quarter, and Purdue looks bad. Case in point: Purdue forced a three-and-out, but committed a sideline interference penalty to let Toledo keep the ball. And now Toledo's in Purdue territory and rolling.
Toledo's scoring has come via two touchdown passes by Austin Dantin, who's carving up Purdue's secondary to the tune of 15-20 for 115 yards--and counting. He's making confident, accurate throws under pressure, and it's unclear whether Purdue's even capable of slowing him or the Toledo offense down.
Oh, did we mention Purdue QB Robert Marve is hurt? Yep! He went down with a knee injury, and his return is in serious doubt. Ye gods.