Toledo vs Fresno State Preview

The Toledo Rockets return home to Glass Bowl Stadium Saturday night for the home opener against the Fresno State Bulldogs. FSU is ranked #25 and are 1-1 on the season with a 24-7 victory at Rutgers and then a 13-10 loss to wisconsin on the Bulldogs home turf. Toledo is 1-1 on the season with a 41-16 loss to Arizona and a 41-17 victory over Eastern Michigan.

The Toledo Rockets return home to Glass Bowl Stadium Saturday night for the home opener against the Fresno State Bulldogs. Fresno State is ranked 25th in the country. They are 1-1 on the season with a 24-7 victory at Rutgers and then a 13-10 loss to wisconsin on the Bulldogs home turf.

The Rockets will unveil a new playing surface at the Glass Bowl Saturday night. Gone is the old, and unforgiving NeXturf surface that had been in place since 2001.

The new surface in the latest version of Field Turf, which is installed at several Division I schools and NFL stadiums. The turf itself alternates every five yards between a lighter shade of green and a darker shade.

Fresno State will be the fifth top 25 team to play in the Glass Bowl. Toledo is 4-0 against ranked opponents in the Glass Bowl, including a 35-31 victory over #9 Pittsburgh in 2003. In all games played at the Glass Bowl since 2000, Toledo is 41-6.

Fresno State is coached by Pat Hill. He is 86-56 overall at Fresno State, and in his 12th season as the head coach. The Bulldogs are led offensively by their senior quarterback Tom Brandstater. He has completed 51% of his passes for 441 yards and one touchdown through two games. Sophomore running back Ryan Mathews is also a very good player for FSU. He has rushed for 217 yards (5.0 ypc) and 3 TD's through two games this season.

At receiver the Bulldogs are led by Seyi Airotutu (6 catches for 147 yards) and Bear Bascoe (6 catches for 56 yards).

Defensively, defensive back Chris Carter has 15 tackles, safety AJ Jefferson has 14 tackles, and linebacker Ben Jacobs also has 14 tackles.

Of course Toledo is coached by "Toledo" Tom Amstutz. He is 56-33 overall since becoming the Rockets head coach in 2001.

Toledo is averaging 28.5 points per game. They are led by junior quarterback Aaron Opelt who has completed 59.2% of his passes for 284 yards and four touchdowns, with just one interception. Junior running back DaJuane Collins leads the Rocket running backs with 222 yards rushing (7.7 ypc) and two touchdowns through the first two games of the season.

Junior wide receiver Stephen Williams has 15 receptions for 115 yards and 3 TD's. He only had 3 receptions, two of them touchdowns though, in a heavy downpour against Eastern Michigan after having 12 receptions at Arizona in week one.

Junior wideout Robin Bailey has 4 receptions for 43 yards a one touchdown, his first career touchdown. Senior Nick Moore has 2 receptions for 42 yards, after really only playing against Eastern Michigan.

Defensively Toledo is led by junior strong safety Barry Church with 17 tackles. Junior rover Lester Richmond has 13 tackles, while sophomore linebacker Archie Donald has 11 tackles and junior linebacker Daris Quinn has 10 tackles. Archie Donald also leads the team with two interceptions.

Toledo is 0-1 all-time against Fresno State. The first game of this home and home series was played in Fresno, CA in 2005. Toledo quarterback Bruce Gradkowski missed the game with a concussion, and redshirt freshman Clint Cochran made his first collegiate start for the Rockets. The UT offense never got on track and turned the ball over five times in a 44-14 loss.

On the injury front, Fresno State will be without a few players this Saturday. Wide receiver Devon Wylie, defensive tackle Cornell Banks, and offensive lineman Cole Popovich will all miss the game against Toledo.

Popovich was the starting left guard for FSU. Sophomore Devon Wylie led the Bulldogs with 62 receiving yards against Wisconsin, including a 47 yard touchdown reception on Fresno State's lone touchdown of the game. Sophomore defensive tackle Cornell Banks sprained his ankle against Wisconsin. He was the starting nose tackle for Fresno State in their first two games.

Toledo does not have any players expected to miss the game because of injury. Also, junior offensive guard Jared Dewalt is back after serving a two game suspension for violating a team rule. He is listed #2 on the depth chart going into the game.

The game is scheduled to be televised on ESPNU at 8:15pm Saturday night. For ticket information, call the University of Toledo ticket office at 419-530-GOLD.



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