Toledo at Arizona Game Notes

Toledo's motto this year is "Excitement is in the Air" and it certainly will be this Saturday when the Rockets travel to Tucson, AZ to take on the PAC-10's Arizona Wildcats. Both Toledo and Arizona feature high-powered offenses that should put on a show. Read on for Toledo at Arizona game notes.

Toledo opens the 2008 football season in Tucson, AZ against the Arizona Wildcats of the PAC-10. Arizona is 1-0 on the season after a 70-0 blowout victory over the Idaho Vandals of the WAC.

This will be the 2nd meeting between the two schools, with Arizona winning in Tucson 23-10 in 1985. This is the first game in a three game series that has Arizona coming to the Glass Bowl in Toledo, OH on September 4, 2010 and then Toledo travelling back to Tucson for the final game on September 1, 2012.

Toledo is coming off it's 2nd straight 5-7 season, but Toledo did beat a BCS conference school for the 2nd straight year with a victory over Iowa State. Toledo beat Kansas the previous year.

UT head coach Tom Amstutz is entering his 8th season as the Rockets head coach, with a 55-32 overall record and a 37-18 conference record. Arizona went 5-7 last season, but finished the year winning three of the last four games with victories over Washington, UCLA, and Oregon. Mike Stoops is the head coach of Arizona, and is in his 5th season at Arizona with a 18-29 overall record.

Offensively, Toledo is led by junior quarterback Aaron Opelt. Opelt has plenty of receivers to throw the ball too. Junior wideout Stephen Williams led the team with 73 receptions for 1169 yards and 7 TD's last season. Williams is a deep threat as well as a threat to break a short pass into a long gainer.

Senior wideout Nick Moore had a solid season last year with 60 receptions for 731 yards and 8 TD's. Nick has great hands and is a possession type of receiver.

Junior Robin Bailey, redshirt freshman Adonis Thomas, junior Tyler Roby, true freshman Sam Gaymon, and true freshman Kenny Stafford all figure to see lots of action at wide receiver Saturday night.

Stafford narrowed his list down to Toledo and Nebraska, before choosing to stay close to home and sign with the Rockets. He has impressed coaches with his ability to make the tough catch in traffic and to use his feet to gain yards after the catch. Watch for a breakout freshman season from Kenny.

Toledo is absolutely loaded at running back. Junior DaJuane Collins rushed for 636 yards and 7 touchdowns as Jalen Parmele's backup in 2007. Collins averaged 6.4 yards per rush, compared to Jalen's 5.5 yards per rush. With Parmele graduated and now a member of the Miami Dolphins, DaJuane is ready to take over as the featured back.

He will get a lot of help at the running back position though. Redshirt freshman Morgan Williams was a two-time Ohio Division I Player of the Year in high school after rushing for 2,418 yards and 31 touchdowns as a junior and 2,447 yards and 34 touchdowns as a senior at Canton McKinley High School.

Academic problems caused schools like Ohio State and USC to back off of recruiting Morgan, and he signed with Toledo in the 2007 class. He sat out last year, working on his academics, and is eligible to play this fall. He has looked very good in practices and should see a lot of playing time this fall.

Another running back to watch for is true freshman Jake Walker of Delray Beach, FL. Walker rushed for 858 yards and 19 TD's in 2007, on his way to being named to the Florida 1st Team Offense as a senior in high school. Jake has shown some great moves in practice and figures to see a good amount of playing time this fall.

On defense Toledo returns six starters from last season, but only three are still starters this year. The return of injured players DE Douglas Westbrook, DT Sean Williamson, CB Desmond Marrow, and FS Tyrrell Herbert will be coupled with the additions of JUCO all-american DE Albertson Alexandre and JUCO transfer CB Joe Bates.

Safeties Barry Church and Lester Richmond are two of the returning starters that should have outstanding seasons in 2008. Church is on two preseason lists, one the Nagurski watch list, and the other is the Thorpe watch list.

The Rocket defense will have their hands full Saturday night against Arizona's offensive attack. They put up 70 points in their season opener with QB Willie Tuitama completing 17 of 21 passes for 179 yards and three touchdowns. He now has 47 career touchdown passes, an Arizona University school record.

Running back Nic Grigsby rushed for 169 yards and two touchdowns as well. Arizona racked up 521 yards in total offense.

Defensively, the Wildcats earned their first shutout since 1996. They held Idaho to just 112 total yards for the game. The game was delayed 62 minutes because of lightning.

Arizona's win over Idaho was impressive, and the Rockets have not played yet this year. It is hard to predict what will happen without seeing Toledo play a game yet, as practices and scrimmages are not true substitues for a real game against an actual opponent.

Toledo will need to gel on offense right off the bat if they are going to stick with Arizona in this game. There's been a lot of hype about the Rocket defense being much improved this year, and they are gonna need it if they are going to beat the Wildcats. The key will be to get pressure on Tuitama, something that Toledo has lacked to do against any opponent in the last two years.

Kickoff Saturday night is scheduled for 10pm Eastern time. The game is not televised, but can be heard on the radio at 1370 WSPD. The radio station is also streamed live online for those that cannot get WSPD with a radio.

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