Earlier in the week I posted three keys for AState to beat Toledo.
- Don't start in a hole like the last two meetings
- Contain the Toledo rushing attack
- Move the chains
The Red Wolves didn't start in a hole getting behind before the game had barely started. The Toledo rushing attack was contained as well as you could reasonably hope, 4.1 yards per carry is better than most teams have accomplished against them the past several years.
Moving the chains? Bust. The Red Wolves garnered 13 first downs, two of those by penalty and finished with a demoralizing 3 of 16 on third down conversions.
AState was only penalized 6 times for 48 yards.
THE OFFENSE, THE BAD STUFF
This is a unit that on paper looks to be upgraded from last year but has a major lack of experience as a unit and played like a unit with little experience together.
Every offensive play starts with the snap and the snaps were unreliable.
There were several instances where it was apparent that not everyone was on the same page. The most obvious was a play near the goal line when Voytik threw to the back shoulder of a receiver. It was clearly a case of what Voytik expected the receiver to do and what was done didn't match-up. Without knowing what the play was supposed to look like, it would be pure speculation to say who was wrong.
Too many passes not hauled in.
Those who remained in the stadium on AState's next possession saw a puzzling lack of urgency. Most notably the drive that ended on a turnover on downs, the next to last play of the drive AState ran 35 seconds off the clock before running a QB draw at the Toledo 6. The draw only gained a yard. It wasn't an unreasonable play selection but taking roughly 30 seconds to choose that play was frustrating.
The game was about 18 minutes old before an AState running back touched the ball. Half of all the carries came from QB's.
A 46 yard pass attempt on 4th and two was certainly unpopular in the stands.
THE OFFENSE, THE GOOD STUFF
Warren Wand looked stronger and more explosive compared to last season.
Armond Weh-Weh will likely have an increased role as the season develops. He runs like Silky except with more explosion.
Blake Mack at tight end was a great position change.
Kendall Sanders ended up without a reception but likely would have had a TD catch but for pass interference.
Echols-Luper's sole carry gave us a flash of what he can do at the A back position and he had three receptions
THE DEFENSE, THE BAD STUFF
AState struggled to mount a pass rush despite a good effort slowing down the Toledo running game.
Toledo's yards after contact was terrible.
THE DEFENSE, THE GOOD STUFF
As mentioned before the run was contained about as well as you could hope for.
No surprise that Xavier Woodson-Luster led the team in tackles but the nice surprise came from Justin Clifton who had 8 solo tackles, the best solor toltal for the team.
SPECIAL TEAMS, THE BAD STUFF
Echols-Luper's 8 yard punt was a big disappointment.
On six kickoff returns, AState on average started just short of the 18 yardline. Blaise Taylor has proven time and again he has great instinct and/or field vision but Toledo's coverage was closing seams before he could clear them.
Too many penalties on returns.
SPECIAL TEAMS, THE GOOD STUFF
J.D. Houston was perfect with a PAT and a 43 yard FG.
Echols-Luper's explosive ability was show on his one punt retrun.
Echols-Luper averaged 38 yards punting despite the 8 yard punt.
Foncham averaged 42.2 yards per punt.He struggled to punt against a rush in Spring but showed no signs of such a problem against Toledo
It was a frustrating night but the problems are correctable. It is not like 2014 when most of the problems could only be fixed by recruiting. Iron out the problems and this could be an impressive squad.